Rabbits have developed special techniques to attract the attention of their owners and to soften them up. One of their most bizarre behaviours is to play dead. Why do they do this?
Recognising a rabbit that pretends to be dead
Anyone who lives with a rabbit will have experienced the frightening situation of finding their pet helpless, lying on his side, as if he were dead. This is typical behaviour for rabbits and many animals in general.
How do you recognize a rabbit that is playing dead and avoid panic?
If you have not yet been the victim of your rabbit’s mockery and do not understand his behaviour, observe him well.
When the rabbit pretends to be dead he pays attention to every detail. First of all, he makes sure he is seen by his owners. Then he lies down on his side – trying to fall noisily – and remains motionless, often with his eyes wide open. Stop and observe him well, because if he is faking death, he will occasionally look up to make sure he has really been noticed!
Why does the rabbit play dead?
Rabbits are very intelligent animals and know how to attract the attention of their owners.
Usually, rabbits play dead when they feel neglected by its owner. They are so stubborn and self-centred that if not calculated, they find other ways to get attentions. For example, they start biting and pulling at their human friend’s clothes.
To prevent your rabbit from displaying such excessive behaviour, give him plenty of cuddles and make him feel you love him. As well as playing with your rabbit, you can take a couple of minutes each day to brush him. This is good for his health and will strengthen your bond!
In the long term, this behaviour could turn into a more serious condition, such as depression. Another solution to prevent your rabbit from playing dead is to find him a companion, as two rabbits can live together without problems.
How did you react when your rabbit played dead? Tell us!