Why does my Rabbit Lick Itself?

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. October 5, 2016
Why does my Rabbit Lick Itself?

See files for Rabbits

Sometimes people who have adopted a rabbit wonder "why does my rabbit lick itself?" In fact, this question has more than a single answer.

Rabbits do not usually communicate using sounds, although they are able to produce a limited range. Due to the fact that these animals are highly preyed upon in their natural habitat, they have become eminently silent animals.

Rabbits are gregarious, social animals and they need to communicate with each other. This is done through a series of predetermined gestures with specific meanings that will be convenient to learn. With AnimalWised you can find out the meanings of some typical rabbit gestures, and discover the reasons behind why your rabbit licks itself.

You may also be interested in: Why Does My Dog Like To Lick Me?


Just like cats, rabbits groom themselves by licking in order to keep their coat clean. If there is more than one rabbit in the house, one will lick the other for the same hygiene reasons, but also as an act of friendship towards its partner or companion.

Therefore, your rabbit will appreciate being brushed regularly, which it will interpret as a sign of friendship towards him. This is especially necessary if its hair is prone to tangles. Here you can learn how to groom your rabbit at home.

Why does my Rabbit Lick Itself? - Hygiene


The fact that rabbits lick their fur to keep clean means that, just like cats, they can suffer from troublesome trichobezoars, that is, hairballs that get lodged in the rabbit's stomach. Brushing your rabbit regularly will prevent the likelihood of trichobezoars forming in its body.

Frequently eating hay will help your rabbit get rid of the hairballs in its intestinal tract. Hay is very beneficial because it gives the rabbit a large quantity of fiber. Fresh hay, or food mainly based on hay, is therefore essential for rabbits.

Why does my Rabbit Lick Itself? - Trichobezoars

What if my rabbit licks a part of its body constantly?

If your rabbit is often seen licking a specific area of its body, it may not be because it is cleaning itself. It may be that it is licking there because of a wound. It could be a bruise, or the bite of some kind of parasite.

You should check the area that your rabbit is insistently licking straight away in order to find the cause and to take necessary measures. If you have any doubts, you should seek help from a vet.

Why does my Rabbit Lick Itself? - What if my rabbit licks a part of its body constantly?

My rabbit licks my arms and hands

Sometimes rabbits lick your hands or arms. Just like rabbits lick each other as a social act of living together, the fact that they lick your hand or arm while being petted means you are highly accepted by the rabbit.

Such a gesture could be translated as: "I appreciate you too, so I am cleaning you". It's the rabbit's formal declaration of friendship.

Why does my Rabbit Lick Itself? - My rabbit licks my arms and hands

My rabbit puts its head through my fingers

When your rabbit puts its head between your fingers, it means it wants to be petted. However, using the verb "want" may not be the most appropriate word to define the rabbit's intention when it shoves its head between your fingers. Maybe if saying that the rabbit requires your affection would a more accurate definition.

For this reason, you should pet your rabbit without delay, because if it feels ignored it can take it as a hostile rejection and bite you.

Why does my Rabbit Lick Itself? - My rabbit puts its head through my fingers

If you want to read similar articles to Why does my Rabbit Lick Itself?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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