My Dearest reader,
Over the years I have noticed that when the occasion strikes my owner, she has a tendency to convulse and cavort into strange shapes and patterns. She calls this display of unbridled enthusiasm ‘dancing’. She whoops, hollers, sings, and the will sometimes even 'high five'. Now, I’ll say to younger rabbits that I know ‘don’t worry’. You might be alarmed, but this sort of behaviour is perfectly normal. It is a sign that your human is happy and that’s a good thing… so long as they wait until I’ve had my morning Timothy Hay of course.
So, I know what you’re thinking; Mr. Bingley, do Rabbits do something expressive to show they are happy? Absolutely we do! It’s called Binkying, and when we’re excited and happy when get wild with it. So, by all means, dust of your glad rags and get ready to learn all about happy bunnies.
What is Binkying?
So what is Binkying? Quite simply, a rabbit binky is an explosion of sudden movement. It will involve jumping in the air, twisting the head and body in different directions, kicking of the feet and sometimes an ear wiggle too. Some rabbits may take a running jump, others might suddenly take flight completely out the blue. It might happen once, it might happen more than once. Either way, it's a grand display of athleticism and one owners should be happy to see.
Why do rabbits Binky?
Binkying is a behavioural art. By that I meant that we Rabbits will conduct a binky when we’re feeling excited or happy. We’re feeling it, so why not show it as well?
Sometimes we’re just really happy and the mood will strike and off we go. My owner does exactly the same when her favourite food comes, or if she gets some good news and she’s dancing away. Long story short, it’s a good sign. If you’re lucky enough to witness your rabbit binkying then you know you’ve created a safe and happy environment. They feel comfortable to express themselves, well done you! 😊
Do rabbits binky out of fear?
Seldomly a bunny will ‘binky’ out of fear or stress. Unfortunately, for us rabbits, being this cute and harmless means that in the big, bad wild world out there we are prey animals. One way of defending ourselves is to confuse predators with sharp, sudden, random movements. These movements and kicks can look so much like -you guessed it- binkying.
This isn’t a classic binky, and the movements will be more panicked and focused on evasion. Look out for signs that your rabbit is doing a binky out of fear. That might be running away from anyone, or hiding afterwards. If you notice this, that’s a clear sign that your rabbit is quite literally dancing for its life and trying to protect itself.
If your rabbit is displaying this sort of behaviour, then it is time to think about the environment that it is in. You will have to remove any harmful factors that would affect your rabbit. This could be loud noises, proximity to predators, or aggressive behaviour from humans. It could also be poor housing facilities, poor diet, or a combination of all of the above.
Ideally, these factors shouldn’t be there in the first place. If you notice something affecting your bunny, then you should immediately fix the issue. This should turn these expressive movements from alarm to happy ones.
Because after all what is dancing if it isn’t a show of joy?!
If fear isn’t the issue and you find that your rabbit is making strange movements, it could be because of illness. These might be physical symptoms like head tilt or ear infection.
The PDSA advises that when a rabbits neck twists and makes its head tilt towards one side this is usually caused by:
- An inner ear infection – a deep and serious infection inside the ear.
- E.cuniculi parasite (Encephalitozoon cuniculi) – a tiny parasite that causes inflammation of the brain, very common in rabbits.
Some other less common causes of a head tilt include:
- Head injury
- Neck pain
- A drug reaction
- Inflammation, infection or an abscess inside the brain
- A brain or ear tumour
Naturally, these are serious concerns that should be immediately investigated and treated. No rabbit wants to tell it loves you from a sick bed, so be sure to look out for the right signs and treat any issues accordingly.
Will a rabbit continue to binky into old age?
Ah, now this will certainly depend on the individual rabbit. In my case, a life of luxury and fine dining leaves me neither the strength nor the will. For other rabbits , many an old rabbit will continue to perform a sort of mini binky so long as their legs will carry them.
Remember, if your bunny is old and no longer binkying it isn’t because they aren’t happy, they might just be too old. They might not also have the muscle density to dance any longer. There’s nothing wrong with that, age catches us all at some stage. Your rabbit will more than likely find other, more subtle ways of communicating their happiness towards you.
Can you make bunny binky?
Let me answer such a question with a query of my own…why on earth would you want to? As I mentioned earlier, when a rabbit is binkying we’re doing so out of happiness. If you happen to see your rabbit in glorious flight then you should feel proud. You’ve created the right environment to allow your bunny to do so.
It wouldn’t be a healthy relationship if you made your partner love you, and us rabbits are certainly no different.
But, of course, what is happiness? For many bunnies across the UK happiness is hand sorted, 100% dust free hay. If you haven’t given your rabbit the chance to change it’s life and experience what the best quality hay in the UK has to offer then do your bun a favour get a try me box to begin your journey today!