Rabbits are relatively small mammals closely related to the pika, hare and jackrabbit. There are over 50 species of rabbits, including the European rabbit which was domesticated and is commonly kept as a pet. Rabbits can be found throughout much of the world and they have been introduced into many areas where they don’t occur naturally. One of the most interesting behaviors of the rabbit is when they thump the ground with their hind legs. Have you ever wondered why rabbits do this? Keep reading to find the answer.
Why do rabbits thump their legs on the ground?
Rabbits thump the ground very hard with their hind legs to communicate with other rabbits in the area and warn them of any potential dangers. This is very important to their survival because in most of their natural environments rabbits are prey for much larger species. It is also thought that rabbits may produce a different kind of thump when they are excited and when they are frustrated or angry, but this is most commonly seen it pet rabbits. Pet rabbits have also been known to thump if you are petting them in an area that they really enjoy!
The following video shows a mother rabbit thumping the ground as a person approaches with a camera:
Did you know?
Some rabbits only thump the ground with one leg and others thump with both of their hind legs!