Rabbits are known to be extremely social animals that have a heavy focus on relationships and have close bonds with those in close proximity. We know rabbits are capable of many different types of communication and behaviors, so it should be no surprise that rabbits are capable of apologizing too. In rabbit communication, we should be aware that all rabbits are not the same and should pay close attention to temperament and general attitudes to truly understand our pets.
Rabbits like many other animals do in fact apologize, usually through gentle cuddles, nuzzles, and rubbing their noses against each other.
Just like humans, rabbits have arguments, fights, and conflicts in their lives sometimes. It’s important to monitor these situations and ensure that if an aggressive situation is on the rise, we can try to prevent it before it goes too far. Obviously, rabbits are not able to verbally communicate their emotions so they will use physical gestures. These are easy to observe and can be quite endearing to watch.
It has to be said rabbits are not the most aggressive animals and confrontations between two closely bonded rabbits are usually rare. Although rare they do happen and in the worse case situation, some rabbits will have to re-bond. This can mean giving the two rabbits some time apart from their usual living space before trying to reintroduce them once their emotions have calmed down.
So let’s look at how rabbits apologize to each other:
- Rubbing or holding heads together. – This is famously shown in the 2018 film “Peter Rabbit”. This is the most common and well-known apology a rabbit can make.
- Rubbing noses together – Slightly different from rubbing heads together but the same concept instead of the head the rabbits use their noses.
- Gentle nudges with their head – Small nudges which basically call for attention, again a very similar behavior to the others but just a slight difference. Obviously, take into account how gentle and slow this action is as I can be perceived as aggression by some.
Do Rabbits Forgive?
Rabbits do forgive and the majority of the time they will continue with day-to-day life almost as if nothing ever happened, which is exactly what we want as rabbit owners. Rabbits forgive and forget quickly and easily. It’s very common for rabbits to get over altercations quickly even after some intense situations. Any generic friendly behavior such as licking, grooming, or cuddling after an apology has taken place is normally interpreted as an acceptance of the apology.
Make sure to monitor this process carefully as an apology doesn’t always end in acceptance and at times can escalate the situation to violence again. Although this isn’t usually the case, apologies will be accepted the majority of the time.
If your rabbits are unable to understand, try to keep them apart for a short while and re-introduce them later. If your rabbits are unable to come to some resolution, they will be able to live together without further issues.
Do Rabbits Hold Grudges?
Yes, rabbits do hold grudges. Rabbits come in all shapes and sizes and the same goes for their personalities. Usually, rabbits are not stubborn and will usually forgive their owners and other bonded rabbits quickly and easily. However, some rabbits will hold a grudge and can be stubborn, and refuse to make amends. This can last days, weeks, or in very rare cases forever. Grudges can happen but are not a common animal trait in rabbits.
Rabbit body language is a huge indicator here and you can usually get a feeling for how your rabbit is feeling before even attempting to apologize.
Body language like the following are sign your rabbit is still angry and holding a grudge.
If your rabbit;
- shows its back to you
- kicks its heels in your direction
- curls its earns downwards
- ignores you or attempts to evade you.
Sometimes it’s better to have a cooling-off period before and reapproach your rabbit if you see this behavior. Your chances of a successful apology are much higher.
How Do I Apologize to My Rabbit?
Rabbits can be offended or lose trust in an owner for a wide variety of reasons, most of which are most likely not even your fault, but if you want to continue to have a good relationship with your pet it’s important to apologize and to understand how to apologize. So how do we apologize to our rabbits? It’s quite simple. We win back their hearts with tasty food. Our pet rabbits love special treats and our goal as rabbit parents is to ensure their happiness and prevent a troubled relationship.
Luckily for us, rabbits will generally forgive quite easily and quickly, especially when given tasty treats. Feeding your rabbit is one of the best things you can do to ensure their trust in you is restored. These should be fed from out of your hands, the action of taking food from your hands confirms that they still trust you. If they were scared they would be reluctant to take the treats.
Let’s remember you are not a rabbit. The usual ways of apologizing which are common between two rabbits will not apply to you as a human. We are far bigger and honestly trying to nuzzle your face against theirs will most likely frighten them more. The bond with a human is different from that of a bond another rabbit has with its own kind.
Some other rabbit articles for your reading;
- Do Rabbits Know Their Names?
- Do Rabbits Like Music? (Including Case Study)
- Do Rabbits Like Blankets? Ultimate Guide!
- Do Rabbits Like Rain? : Fun Facts About Rabbit Behavior in the Rain
How Do Rabbits Apologize to Humans?
Rabbits apologize to humans with the following physical gestures:
- Licking or gentle nibbles.
- Gentle nudges with their head usually signify that they want to be stroked.
- Running close to you usually in circles in a playful way.
Rabbits may not feel the need to apologize sometimes and will just continue with common bunny behavior. If it seems like your rabbit still trusts you and displays positive emotions and body language toward you it’s unlikely an apology is necessary.
Have you had any experience with your pet rabbits apologizing to each other or to yourself? If so what happened? I’d love to hear your stories, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.