Why Do Rabbits Binky?

Written by Heather Ross
Updated: October 14, 2022
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Key Points:

  • A binky occurs when a rabbit jumps straight up and twists either its head or hind legs.
  • A domesticated rabbit will binky out of sheer joy. A wild rabbit may binky for the same reason or to avoid a predator.
  • If you want your pet rabbit to binky, try giving it a treat!

It’s fun to spot a group of rabbits at the local park or in your yard. You’ve probably seen them munching on plant leaves, hopping around a group of trees searching for food or even standing on their hind legs to look around. But have you ever seen them binky? If you aren’t sure, it may be because you’ve never heard of this behavior.

Read on to get the lowdown on what it means to binky and find the answer to the question: Why do rabbits binky?

What is a Binky?

A binky is when a rabbit jumps straight up and quickly twists its hind end, head, or both. A binky takes place in just a fraction of a second, so you have to watch closely. A bunny may do one binky or perform a couple in a row depending on its state of mind. So, chances are, you have seen a rabbit binky but just didn’t know it!

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A half-binky is when a rabbit quickly twists its head to the side or twitches its ears.

Rabbits Binky German rabbit jumping
A German rabbit happily jumping in a green garden between bushes. A pet bunny may binky because it is feeling happy or safe in its environment.

©Sven Boettcher/Shutterstock.com

Why Do Rabbits Binky?

Now that binky behavior has been defined, it brings up the question of why these animals perform this stunt. Are they bored? Are they aspiring acrobats? Well, the reason for the binky depends on the circumstances, environment, and how a rabbit is feeling.

A rabbit will usually binky because it is feeling happy or safe in its environment. An owner who gives a rabbit a loving home where it has enough food and attention is likely going to see a lot of binkies. Alternatively, a pet bunny that feels threatened by another pet in the home or is stressed out by loud noises all around is not going to binky. A binky is a way for a bunny to jump for joy!

While happiness and contentment are reasons behind a pet rabbit’s binkies, there are some completely different reasons why wild rabbits binky.

Why Do Wild Rabbits Binky?

Wild rabbits binky in an effort to get away from predators. If a rabbit is being pursued by a fox, hawk, snake, or domesticated dog, it binkies so it doesn’t move in a straight path. Twisting and moving in a zig-zag pattern can confuse or throw off a predator long enough for a rabbit to getaway.

A wild rabbit may binky while remaining in one spot in front of another rabbit or a predator. This is so the rabbit will seem bigger and become more of a threat to the strange rabbit or small predator. Doing a binky in place may even be enough to discourage another rabbit or predator from coming any closer.

Of course, a wild rabbit can also do a binky because it is feeling happy. Baby bunnies may do binkies while chasing each other around a meadow. But take a moment to think about the life of a full-grown wild rabbit. Doing a binky is going to draw attention to this vulnerable animal. Bunnies have a lot of predators, so they are always on the watch for danger. Doing a binky may not be in their best interest in a natural environment.

When a bunny is frightened it freezes in place as a way to blend into its environment. This is an effort to hide so it won’t be attacked. What a bunny does in response to a predator depends on the situation and how threatened it feels.

Rabbits Binky
Little rabbit smelling a flower in the garden. A trip to the garden may well be the opportunity for a pet bunny to binky.


What Can a Rabbit Owner Do to Encourage a Binky?

A bunny owner can’t force this pet to do a binky. It is behavior that just comes naturally. But an owner can take steps to encourage this pet to do a binky.

Feeding a bunny a healthy, nutritious diet. This is going to make the pet feel at its best. If a bunny is feeling energetic and well-fed there’s a better chance it will do a binky or two.

Giving a pet bunny a favorite treat is another way to encourage binkies. This is especially true if an owner offers this treat to the pet every day. Bunnies are intelligent and this pet is likely to anticipate getting the treat. This can prompt a binky.

Another way to encourage is binky is to treat your rabbit with love. Take care of your pet, making sure it feels safe, comfortable, and happy. A neglected or mistreated bunny won’t binky.

A trip to the garden can be an opportunity for a pet bunny to binky. Of course, an owner should make sure the pet is secure and safe from other animals in the garden area. A bunny that gets the chance to sniff at and snack on vegetables in a garden may be inclined to binky to show its joy.

Playing with a pet bunny can encourage it to binky. If a pet is playful and likes lots of attention from its owner, then it will probably binky during playtime.

Up Next…

Find out more interesting facts about these furry friends!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Milan Krasula

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About the Author

Heather Ross is a secondary English teacher and mother of 2 humans, 2 tuxedo cats, and a golden doodle. In between taking the kids to soccer practice and grading papers, she enjoys reading and writing about all the animals!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are other interesting behaviors of wild and pet rabbits?

Thumping is another one of those curious behaviors of rabbits. This is when a bunny swiftly thumps its back feet on the ground several times in a row. When a wild rabbit does this it is communicating a warning to other rabbits in its group. A thumping rabbit may have caught the scent of a predator nearby or spotted one near the group.

A pet bunny can thump as well. A pet bunny may be signaling stress or letting its owner know it’s feeling threatened. For instance, a pet bunny may thump if it is out of its cage and spots the family dog or cat nearby.

Chinning is another notable behavior of bunnies. A pet bunny may rub its chin on a box in its cage, on a toy or even on its owner’s arm. A wild bunny may go around chinning the ground near its burrow or a tree stump near an entrance to its warren. Chinning looks a lot like a bunny is simply using an object to scratch an itch on its chin. But there’s more to it than that.

A bunny has scent glands located beneath its chin. When it is chinning something it’s releasing a scent from those glands. It is marking its territory. Whether it’s a pet bunny or a wild one doing the chinning, this animal is letting other bunnies know that the territory is taken!

The scent released by bunnies can’t be detected by humans. So, it’s not going to leave behind a mess for an owner. Only other bunnies can pick up the scent left behind.

Are rabbits solitary?

Rabbits are not solitary. These are social animals that like to stay in groups. Some rabbit warrens contain three or four rabbits while others contain 30 bunnies.

Staying together allows these animals to be social with one another. It also provides some protection for the group. For example, say a group with a dozen rabbits is out exploring and grazing in a meadow. If a fox appears and approaches the group, they are all likely to run for cover. With so many bunnies in the group, the fox won’t be able to chase after them all and may fail to capture one before they are all back in their burrow.

When are wild rabbits active?

Wild rabbits are out looking for food early in the morning and at dusk. They come out at these times in order to avoid the hottest part of the day. During the day, they are usually tucked away in their burrow keeping cool. Another reason why they come out early in the morning and at dusk is the amount of light. The dark is just disappearing in the early morning and it’s fading at dusk. This provides a rabbit some protection from predators. Predators may not be out at these times and if they are they won’t be able to spot a bunny as quickly because of the low visibility.

What is a rabbit’s habitat?

Bunnies live in wooded areas, fields, meadows, and grasslands. Some species of rabbits live in the desert. They are called desert cottontails.

Rabbits build burrows in the ground that are called warrens. These warrens have spaces, or rooms, where rabbits sleep or eat. Each warren has several entrances and exits so these small creatures don’t become trapped in their burrow by a predator.

How fast can a rabbit run?

Wild rabbits can run at speeds of up to 45mph. This makes sense because a bunny’s speed is its main defense against predators. Wild rabbits usually have brown or brownish-gray fur so they can also camouflage themselves in their habitat.

Pet bunnies that have been raised in captivity don’t run quite as fast. They can reach a speed of 35mph.

Bunnies are sprinters so while they can reach high speeds, they aren’t able to maintain it for a lengthy period of time.

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