A rabbit scream is a shrill, loud noise that indicates your bunny is in extreme pain, or is terrified of something. In some cases, your rabbit will need immediate veterinary care and attention.
Not all rabbits will scream in their lifetime. But, it’s important that all owners know what could cause their bunny to scream so they know how to keep their rabbit feeling safe and healthy.
If you have heard your rabbit scream recently, and want to know what to do, you should scroll straight to the end of this guide for immediate advice.
Do Rabbits Scream?
Rabbits may scream if they are experiencing severe pain, dying, or are terrified by something in their immediate environment.
A rabbit scream will sound high pitched and loud. Many people compare the noise of a bunny scream to the shriek or yell of a baby or young child.
Not all pet rabbits will scream. But some may scream multiple times in their lives.
If something in your rabbit’s environment is causing them to scream, you will need to take action to remove it.
Why Do Rabbits Scream?
The main reasons that a rabbit will scream is pain or fear. Your rabbit may have injured themselves, may be startled and scared of something new in their environment.
Or, they may be experiencing a painful symptom of an ongoing health problem.
The causes of this distressed vocalisation will differ from one rabbit to the next. So, it’s important that you learn what is triggering your rabbit’s scream as soon as possible.
Knowing what is causing your rabbit to scream will help you take steps to prevent it in the future, and protect your rabbit immediately.
Calming down a scared rabbit is important to ensure they don’t go into shock from fear or pain.
Let’s take a closer look at the most common reasons why a rabbit might scream.
Rabbit Screaming in Distress
Rabbits can be quite fearful pets. It doesn’t take much to make your rabbit stressed or scared, particularly if something in their home environment has changed.
If you know that your rabbit is not unwell and hasn’t injured themselves, they may be screaming because they are distressed or terrified about something in their surroundings.
This could be something that they perceive as a threat. Including:
- Loud noises
- Other animals
- New smells
- Even furniture in a new position
It can be tough to predict what is making our rabbits feel distressed. But, take a look at any recent changes in the home, and make sure that you don’t leave your rabbits alone with other pets, like cats and dogs.
Even if they’ve grown up with them in the house!
Rabbit Screaming in Pain
Other than distress and terror, rabbits may also scream if something is causing them extreme pain.
Rabbits will generally try to hide any signs that they are in pain, particularly as keeping quiet and still can help them to stay safe in the wild.
So, if your rabbit is screaming out of pain, it’s a sign that something is really wrong.
It could be a serious injury, or a sign that your rabbit has an underlying health problem that has now developed to a very serious stage.
It’s really important to get your rabbit help if they are screaming in pain. You should try to calm them down, and take them straight to an emergency veterinarian for help, and to avoid letting your bunny go into shock.
Rabbit Screaming During Seizure
Another instance in which it is common for rabbits to scream is during seizures.
Like humans and many other animals, rabbits can experience seizures, particularly if they suffer from epilepsy or other neurological diseases.
A rabbit seizure will be a time of involuntary movement and convulsions. It’s not common for rabbits to experience seizures, but if they do, they may scream.
If your rabbit is prone to seizures, it’s best to speak to your vet. Since the causes of this symptom vary, your rabbit’s best treatment and prevention will vary too.
Do Rabbits Scream When They Die?
One study into rabbit welfare found that the average lifespan of a rabbit was just over 4 years old. But, the maximum lifespan stretched as high as 13 years!
But, when your rabbit’s time sadly does come, will they scream when they die?
Not all rabbits scream when they die, but some do. It has a lot to do with how your rabbit dies.
If your rabbit is suffering from a painful and ongoing health issue, they may scream when they die. Likewise, if they injure themselves badly, or if they are terrified to the point that they have a heart attack or go into shock, they may scream.
Attending regular veterinary checks and keeping your rabbit calm and safe can help to avoid any screaming from your bunny.
What to Do if Your Rabbit Screams
If you hear your rabbit screams, the first thing you should do is run and see what is causing them to scream. The answer may be obvious if your rabbit is injured, or something is scaring them.
But, in some cases, there will be no obvious trigger. When this happens, it can be a good idea to spend some time with your bunny to try and calm them down.
Particularly if your rabbit is used to human contact, and is calm when you pet them.
However, screaming can be a sign of an underlying health issue. So, you should also look for any other signs of discomfort or pain from your bunny.
This can include thumping, writhing, hunched postures, pulling at hair, grinding teeth, and more.
If your rabbit screams and shows any of these symptoms of pain, get them to an emergency vet as quickly as possible for an examination and potential medical aid.
How to Prevent Rabbit Screaming
Rabbits scream for a number of reasons, but it’s always a sign that something is seriously wrong with your bunny.
You may not always be able to prevent bunny screams. Particularly if it is caused by a health issue.
However, there are some steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of injuries and fear triggers.
Make sure there is nothing around that your rabbit could injure themselves on, such as large drops, sharp objects, and more.
And, try to keep your rabbit’s environment the same. Sudden or extreme changes can scare pet rabbits.
If you have other pets or small children at home, make sure all interactions are supervised, so your rabbit feels safe and is never mistreated.
By following these steps, you can reduce the likelihood that anything will scare or hurt your rabbit in the home.
Rabbit Scream – A Summary
Hearing a rabbit scream can be stressful and panic-inducing. But, it’s important to remain calm so you are best able to help your rabbit.
It’s not always a sign that your rabbit is going to die. It can be because something is scaring your bunny, or because something is causing them extreme pain.
If you act fast to get your rabbit help, they can come out of the other end absolutely fine. And, you can take steps to prevent rabbit screaming in the future.
Have you ever heard your rabbit scream?
References and Resources
- Jenkins, J. ‘Rabbit Behavior’, Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice (2001)
- Rooney, N. (et al), ‘The Current State of Welfare, Housing and Husbandry of the English Pet Rabbit Population’, BMC Research Notes (2014)
- Oxley, J. (et al), ‘Owner Perceptions of the Effects of Fireworks on Rabbits and Guinea Pigs’, UFAW Animal Welfare Conference: Recent Advances in Animal Welfare Science VI (2018)
- Carpenter, J. ‘Diagnosing and Treating Common Neurologic Diseases in Rabbits’, DVM 360 (2006)
- Schepers, F. (et al), ‘Welfare Assessment in Pet Rabbits’, Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (2009)
- Fisher, P. ‘Standards of Care in the 21st Century: The Rabbit’, Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine (2010)
- ‘Pain in Rabbits’, Litchfield Vet