I care for rabbits and enjoy sharing husbandry and housing tips.
If you spend any amount of time with bunnies, you will notice how much their cute little noses twitch. But why does a bunny twitch its nose so much, and what can you learn from it? It's normal for a rabbit's nose to twitch almost all the time. However, you might notice your bunny's nose twitching more than usual when it is stressed out, alert, too hot, or when it is about to eat.
Nose-Twitching Helps Rabbits Smell
Experts believe that rabbits twitch their noses because twitching moves about the sensitive smelling organs in their noses and exposes them to more air. This means that they are more likely to smell a scent, even if there is very little of it in the air. This is very important if there is a predator around, as it will alert the rabbit to danger long before the predator gets close enough to try to eat the rabbit.
What does this mean for the rabbit owner? Well, if your bunny twitches its nose a lot when it is around you, it is trying to get more information about you. Humans are very reliant on what we can see, but many animals use other senses more heavily than sight. Although a rabbit has fairly good eyesight and can see almost 360 degrees in a circle around itself (apart from directly in front of its head,) it uses scent to determine if things are good, bad, or indifferent.
If a rabbit is very relaxed, its nose will not be twitching very fast at all. You may find that when you first get your rabbit, its nose twitches a lot when you are around. As it gets used to you and starts to become your friend, it will twitch its nose less. Of course, if it is feeding time, then your rabbit's nose will twitch a great deal in anticipation of being fed.
It Could Mean Your Rabbit Is Too Hot
Rabbits may also twitch their noses a lot when they are stressed or hot. If you see your rabbit lying in one place, breathing heavily and twitching its nose a lot and it is a hot day, see if you can cool the rabbit down. Providing shade will help, as will providing a frozen bottle of water for your rabbit to cuddle up to and cool down with. Make sure your rabbit can move away from the bottle, since going from boiling to frostbitten is no fun for a bunny! In the wild, rabbits burrow underground to get away from the heat of the day. Rabbits don't sweat or properly pant, which means it is very hard for them to cool down in the summer months.
So, nose twitching is a normal part of bunny behavior. Fast nose twitching tells you that the bunny is either stressed or just interested in something, while slow nose twitching tells you that the bunny is relaxed.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Shelbie on August 21, 2020:
I made my bunnies a new cage and they are running around like crazy and their noses are twitching really fast is this a bad thing?
Chasity vertiz on January 02, 2020:
Why does my rabbit lay down like a dog I need to find out pls
Isabella on February 26, 2019:
Is it weird if my rabbits nose is really fast. Can it’s cause a rabbit stress too? I need answers now
Lizzy the fox on January 06, 2018:
since I always found that the rabbits in the pet shops always twitching their noses just freakin fast . I know why ~
Dee on May 12, 2017:
Is it normal for a rabbit to shake his head?