Posted by: soniahs | May 27, 2011

Friday bunnyblogging: Noe’s many interests (part 9)

Today in the life of bunny: behavior #9- warning the humans of danger.

  1. gnawing
  2. eating
  3. exploring
  4. frolicking
  5. napping
  6. pooping
  7. digging
  8. getting the humans’ attention
  9. warning the humans of danger

The things Noe does to warn us of danger are really pretty similar to the things she does to get our attention. I’m not sure if other people would divide this up the same way. But it sure seems like there are times when she is displaying general alarm, rather than trying to get us to do something for her.

Danger for rabbits means something different than danger to humans. But of course Noe doesn’t know that. The major “danger warning” Noe gives is the thump. Noe usually gives us a “danger thump” when she either hears a strange noise or sees a new object on the floor- for example, a box, suitcase, or the dreaded vacuum cleaner. In the case of a new scary object, we’ll often have to walk up to it as she watches and move it, otherwise she’ll keep up the thumping and staring for quite a while- this usually works to calm her down, but she’ll often have to investigate it herself.

The rabbit in this video seems to be thumping because he’s being videotaped. Noe seems to have no such aversion to the camera:

When Noe does it, we call this a “danger thump,” rather than a more lighthearted “look at me” thump because of her posture, and because she’ll often make the thump for loud noises after dashing into the room that one of us is in. It seems to be her way of saying “Did you hear that?”

Granted, this all might be more or less self-serving, but wild European rabbits do live in large social groups, and warning each other of danger is probably a good survival instinct. It’s less helpful in a domesticated setting, where the scary threat is an out-of-place laundry basket. Rabbits are not so fond of change.

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