Obviously, a rabbit is a very unique animal. So is a dog. Or a cat. Or a human. Even though that is the case and categorizing is a bit risky, it is safe to say that there are animals that we consider to be more aware and intelligent than others. Cats and dogs, while unique in their own ways, are generally said to have the greatest range of emotions and understanding. Rabbits are often thrown in a category with mice or hamsters, mainly because people don’t know better and don’t take the time to understand a rabbit’s “language”. Maybe a rabbit doesn’t want to come over when called. Maybe it doesn’t like to be picked up. But if I sit on the floor long enough, Bunny will come over, put his little head on my ankle for me to cuddle him, and I know he feels just as much love as a dog.
We’ve mentioned before that we think rabbits belong in a category with cats and dogs rather than with hamsters and mice and we have pointed out their quirky personalities and overall intelligence. We’ve shown you various videos of Bunny retrieving treats out of toys that require some sort of problem-solving, but I will go a step further and talk about intelligence and awareness. Because while a rabbit has a very different personality from a cat or a dog, all the potential for emotional connections with humans as well as understanding are there. We often see human stubbornness, cat-like pride and independence, and a friendliness and curiosity that resembles a dog all mixed up with new and unique characteristics in Bunny.
My husband and I recently watched a documentary that talked about dogs and their tendency to go ask a human for help if they cannot solve a problem, such as getting a toy out from behind the couch. It occurred to me that Bunny frequently does the same thing. For example, we like to hide his food all over the living room and bedroom in the morning, so that he has to search for it. That way he doesn’t just eat, he eats and gets entertained at the same time. Anyway, sometimes he is lazy and doesn’t put a whole lot of effort into the search, which means he only finds half of his food and is still hungry. At that point I am usually in a part of the house that he never goes to and that never has any food hidden in it. On his lazy days he will hop over to me and peek into the room. He will actually stand on his back feet right outside and look for me. That’s his way of asking me for help with his search. When I get up, he follows me, knowing that I will point out some of the hiding spots to him. If I go back to my office room, he often comes over to get me to help him again. Smart Bunny.
There were a couple of times since we’ve adopted him that we had to take him somewhere “scary”. Let’s take the vet, for example. Instead of trying to dash away, Bunny attempts to climb into our arms every time and he HATES being picked up. But when he is scared, he knows we are there to protect him. I’d say that is awareness and affection right there.
Here is another amazing thing about Bunny. Whenever he begs for food (which happens quite a bit) and we hand him something out of the fridge (which happens just as often), he immediately grabs it with his teeth and runs off. And I mean, he really puts his teeth into the piece of vegetable to make sure he won’t loose it. It’s quite different when we give him a small piece of something, though. Sometimes he gets tiny pieces of strawberry or just a bite of a carrot during the day. When that is the case, he almost refuses to take it out of our hands and if he does, he carefully sniffs and slowly and gently takes it, as if he didn’t want to bite us by accident. From this behavior I gather that he knows biting is painful and that he doesn’t want to cause us pain. That is quite remarkable if you think about it.
We recently moved one of my uglier wooden house creations into the bedroom. Mainly because Bunny loves it, but we don’t want it in our living room. Anyway, it now sits against the wall on my side of the bed. Every morning around 6:30am I hear Bunny hop on the house. I’ve peeked at him a few times without him noticing it, so I know that he just sits there and alertly stares at me. This may go on for an hour on the weekends, but he never gives up. As soon as he realizes that I am awake, he excitedly hops down from his house, binkies around my feet, and then races to the kitchen where he gets one baby carrot. The cool thing is, once he receives the carrot, he doesn’t try the whole thing again until the next day, even if I go back to bed. Does that mean he has a sense of numbers as well as time and routine? Possibly.
If all that isn’t proof that rabbits are smart, loving, and aware creatures that resemble dogs and cats rather than hamsters and mice, I don’t know what is.
Do you have any remarkable rabbit stories to share? We’d love to hear them!