What was the sweetest demonstration of pure joy that you saw an animal express? Most people know about playful dogs and some know about frisky cats but what about rabbits? Most folks would be surprised that these animals have their own way to express their happiness.
One of these ways is what certain rabbit owners call binkying. A binky is a leap straight up in the air, sometimes accompanied with a twist of the body. Many rabbits often land facing the opposite way from which they ran. Frequently, the bunny will look confused or bemused. Binkies are common with young rabbits who feel confident about their surroundings. When these pets are allowed to live in a home, either in a large pen or free range, they delight their humans with these magnificent leaps.
Another way rabbits have of expressing happiness is racing from room to room or up and down a hallway. My bunny-loving friends call that the Bunny 500. The sheer ecstacy of living in a safe enviroment causes rabbits to race around for the fun of it. I remember being startled by a noise behind me as I worked on my computer one morning in 1998. I turned around and saw Gideon racing back and forth in the hallway. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get his Bunny 500 race on video.
Rabbits will also shake their heads and torsos before hopping to some desired place, such as the food bowl or a human offering petting. This is a diminished form of joyful expression but it still indicates pleasure. Sometimes a rabbit will do a sort of ear wiggle to express excitement.
Though rabbits thump to sound the alarm, they sometimes slam their feet down to express excitement. I've seen quite a few bunnies check out a room and then then thump. It's like they're saying, "This is mine! All mine!"
Bunnies also will wiggle their tails before racing off somewhere. This is either a show of defiance to a human or an expression of playfulness. In either case, it shows that the bunny is happy in his or her environment.
After working off their excess energy, house rabbits often flop on their sides with their feet kicked out behind them. My friends call this "happy feet." It's a demonstration that the bunny feels relaxed enough to risk a slower take off at the first sign of danger.
If rabbits feel very secure, they'll risk sleeping on their sides with their eyes closed. As in this picture of Deborah snoozing on the rug, bunnies feel that they can let their guards down and relax.Moments such as this are missed by those people who keep rabbits in tiny cages. What a shame that more folks don't know that they can experience such sublime sights if they chose to.
In When a Man Loves a Rabbit, I wrote about many wonderful times which I had with my long-eared companions. Please check this paperback out at the left side of this page.
I recently published How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers