Why Do Rabbits Run In Circles?

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Understanding your rabbit’s body language is a key part of anticipating their needs. As such you may have noticed the somewhat peculiar, but amusing activity of circling. You may have asked “why do rabbits run in circles” and may not have gotten a satisfactory answer. Here we will discuss all aspects of rabbits running in circles. This way you will know why and take the appropriate action where necessary.

What does it mean when bunnies run in circles?

If your rabbit is running in circles around your feet, other rabbits or just running around his cage, these maybe some of the reasons for it:

  • Boredom
  • Initiating playtime
  • Dominance
  • Courtship behaviour
  • Attention

You may be able to deduce why your rabbit is circling depending on their age and stage in life. Their general disposition can also have a lot to do with whether or not they run in circles. We will examine each one in detail.


As you may know, rabbits are creatures that require cognitive stimulation. Bunnies sometimes become bored if they spend too much time in their cage or if their accommodation is too small i.e. only large enough for them to sit or sleep. Bunnies love to explore, and they are always intrigued by new toys, new objects and new surroundings. You may notice that they are at their most animated in a new park or on a new trail. If you are wondering “what can I do to alleviate my bunny’s boredom?” The good news is that there are several things that you can do to entertain rabbits that you will find enjoyable as well:

Here are some of our top picks:


Bunnies love toys! While you can buy several toys online and at your local pet store if you want to keep your rabbit stimulated you may have to get creative. Several items around your home can become toys.

Here are a few that you can keep for your bunny:

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Hand paper rolls
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Old towels

Paper rolls can be used to hide treats in, creating a treasure hunt of sorts. Your bun will love it. Of course, their cylindrical shape is ideal for rolling about the room. Cardboard boxes are also great fun when you cut holes in then and creates spaces that they can crawl into. You can also fill boxes with shredded paper for your rabbit to burrow into. Always be mindful to use non-toxic materials since glues and inks may be harmful to bunnies.

Obstacle courses

These are a treat for rabbits since there is so much to do and experience. You can buy these ready-made but as always you can create one that reflects your flair and your bunny’s preferences. If you plan to make it yourself, we suggest several tunnels for your bunny to crawl through and stacks of boxes to for hopping.


Another way to help stimulate rabbits and stave off boredom is by teaching them tricks such as:

  • Jumping
  • Fetching
  • Spinning on cue
  • Agility courses

Your rabbit will enjoy your attention and this bonding time together.

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If you have a few young rabbits and you notice them starting to circle each other they may be looking for a mate. If you do not want your rabbits to mate it may be a good indicator to have them spayed or neutered.

The circling might also be accompanied by honking, this is definitely a part of the mating ritual. The male rabbit may also try to mount the female. If she considers him a suitable partner, she will allow him to copulate. Soon enough you may have a litter of bunnies if you are amenable to breeding your rabbits.

Sometimes, hormonal unneutered male bunnies mistake other animals, including humans for possible mates and they may run circles around them. This occurs particularly when there are no female bunnies around. These bucks may even show some aggression and become territorial in their home environment.

Initiating play

If your rabbit wants to play, he may start running in circles around your feet to let you know. They may also do binkies which are jumps or twist in the air. Bunnies are sociable creatures and relish time with you when you come home from work or school. Play is the way they bond and remain connected. They will be overjoyed to see you and running in circles is one of the ways they express it. It one of the ways they show love.


Rabbits also run in circles to get your attention if they want something. This could be grooming, food, a cuddle or sometimes even to let you know that you are in the way!

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Rabbits in their natural habitat have a hierarchy and as such need to establish dominance. Therefore, if you have more than one rabbit, you may see them running in circles. It is their way of letting the other bunnies know who the boss is.

Why is my rabbit running in circles in his or her cage?

If your rabbit is running in circles in her cage, it may be an indication that the accommodations are too small. This may occur when bunnies spend most of their time in cages. While some pet owners may allow their rabbits to free roam when they are not at home, most keep them in their cages or hutches. Of course, this means that your bunny is in a confined space for several hours. We recommend a cage that is 30”x30”x24” for an average rabbit who is about 5-6 pounds. Naturally, if you own one of the large breeds like Giant Angora, Checkered Giant, Giant Chinchilla and Flemish Giant. These bunnies need a lot more space to thrive. We recommend that you upsize the aforementioned by at least 1/3 of the dimensions mentioned above.

You should not buy a cage or construct a hutch that suits your baby bunny, think of how large that he is likely to get. Of course, if you have a miniature rabbit, you have a little more wiggle room. However, always remember that your rabbit will be happy with more space to frolic in.

If you do not have the space for larger accommodation, you should try to make sure that your rabbit has as much “free play” time as possible. Time outdoors in a safe environment with no dogs or other animals around can also help alleviate the boredom that triggers running in circles.

Do neutered rabbits also run in circles?

As we have mentioned, running in circles can be the initial sign of courtship. Therefore, it stands to reason that if a rabbit is neutered or spayed, they should not be really interested in mating. However, while it does not happen often, rabbits who have been fixed may still run in circles and display other mating behaviours.

You see the reproductive hormones take a little while to work their way out of your bunny’s system. Each rabbit responds differently, some never stop running in circles and continue to show aggression. You should not worry though the behaviour causes no harm to your rabbit.

Can spinning in circles indicate a medical issue in rabbits?

Running in circles is associated with behavioural issues and is nothing to be alarmed about. However, you should pay attention to odd spinning. This could indicate a serious medical problem.

This spinning could mean that your rabbit has a condition called head tilt. It can be triggered or brought on by a parasite invasion, an ear infection, head trauma, a stroke or if your bun has come into contact with a poisonous substance. It can also signal a chemical imbalance in the brain. If your rabbit is exhibiting any of these symptoms, there may be cause for concern:

  • Uncoordinated movements – Your rabbit’s gait might seem wobbly and he or she bump into objects.
  • Head tilted off to one side – If may seem that your rabbit cannot hold her head up.
  • Drooling – You may have noticed that your rabbit’s fur around her mouth is wet from the extra salivation.
  • Lethargy – Your bunny may seem sluggish and uninterested in his usual activities.
  • Inability to stand straight – Your bun may not be able to maintain a steady posture.
  • Wobbly or Shaky Head – Your bunny may seem to have a nervous tick.
  • Droopy lip or ear – Any irregularities in the face or head should be noted.
  • Loss of Appetite – Your rabbit not eating properly and refusing his favourite treats may be a symptom of several conditions. However, if he is also experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, your bunny may be suffering from head tilt.

If you notice any of these symptoms, please be sure to take your rabbit to your veterinarian. Head tilt can be fatal if it is left untreated.

Rabbits may run in circles for a series of reasons most are behavioural, but it may also be a sign of a medical condition. So, if other symptoms are present be sure to take your bun to the veterinarian straight away. Once you are able to figure out why your rabbit is running in circles, you can either put your mind at ease or take action if your bunny needs help.

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