Why do rabbits thump?

We as humans communicate far more by the use of body language, than we do by speaking, so it makes sense that rabbits also use similar behaviour... and one of the strangest of all types of rabbit body language is the thump!

“Thumper,” the famous cartoon rabbit from Disney's Bambi, thumps many times in rapid succession before taking off for safety. 

But, that's not the way real rabbits thump. Rabbits stand on all four feet, in a somewhat tip-toe position, with their ears alert, then lift their rear feet and thump! 

This warns everyone in the warren (including humans) that there is danger - in the rabbit's opinion. They can then remain in the thumping posture until convinced that the danger is gone.

Rabbit thumping is all about a bunny signalling a warning, or expressing his or her displeasure. And even the sweetest of pets can exhibit this particular kind of bunny behaviour.

Some of the reasons a rabbit might thump can seem a little bizarre to us. But then, when you remember that our bunnies are prey animals, and they’re pretty much at the bottom of the food chain out in the big wild world, it then becomes a little easier to understand why they might be nervous, or startled by something that we might not have even contemplated.

In the bunny world, a thump of either a single hind leg or both together is enough to create a noise that others will hear and take heed of.

Or if a rabbit is unhappy at something, then it can literally be what bunnies do to say “Oi! I don’t like that!”