If you are a first-time rabbit farmer or have adopted a pet rabbit, you are in for several different surprises. Rabbits show a lot of different behaviors; some are bizarre while others are cool. But the most perplexing one after the poop eating is they lick almost everything around them.
Yes, you read it right, bunnies do eat their poop, but it is normal and helps them harvest nutrition from their feces. You have come to the right place if you also wonder why rabbits lick things.
Why Do Rabbits Lick Things?
Rabbits lick things to show affection, claim territory, enjoy the texture, and because of some physical or psychological issues. Read along to know the reasons behind why do rabbits lick things but first, you must know whether it is dangerous for them or not:
Is Licking Dangerous for Rabbits?
Licking is harmless for rabbits until they show their superpowers in a safe place like a rug, pillow, or carpet. Some paints have hazardous chemicals, and when your bunny licks that paint, things do not remain safe.
You must ensure that if you have a super licking bunny, you have removed all the hazardous stuff from the surrounding.
Some rabbits go beyond things like these and start licking the floor. Now that’s something you must care for, and use pet-safe cleaners. Always keep the sharp and edgy things locked in a safe place and help your bunny have a clean and safe floor to lick and enjoy.
Why Do Rabbits Lick things, Explained:
Experts divide the narrative into two different categories to answer this question when you want to know why rabbits lick things.
Reasons for Rabbits Normal Licking Behavior
1. Claiming Territory
Rabbits are territorial animals, and they rub their chins to mark their territory. They use licking for the same purpose and define the boundaries for others.
This behavior is more common when you bring the rabbit into a new place or environment. A grown-up rabbit will show chinning and licking to mark the territory.
An older rabbit will show licking when there are changes in the environment, like you have brought some new things. Licking helps them spread their scent to show and warn others regarding their territory.
Felines aren’t the only mammals that lick themselves for grooming and cleaning purposes. Rabbits also love to stay clean, and they do the licking to have a hygienic bath and remove the dirt, dust, and unwanted particles from their body.
A rabbit will enhance the shine of the cat and remove worn-out hair with licking. It also helps them stay away from skin issues and various diseases.
3. Grooming Others
Licking for grooming is not limited to oneself, and like cats, the bunnies also lick other furballs. The bunny licking another bunny is a sign of social acceptance and care. You will witness this behavior among pairs and parents with children.
It is a sign that they are enjoying a healthy relationship. Rabbits also get fuzzy and start fighting with each other without any reason. But when one of them wants a truce licking on the forehead is a kind of white flag to stop fighting and forget all the grudges.
3 Reasons for Excessive Licking Behavior
It is normal for rabbits to lick things and each other a couple of times a day. But if the bunny has gone wild and tries to lick things more often, this is abnormal behavior. Bunnies show such acts because of the following reasons:
Rabbits Lick because of Boredom or Anxiety
Rabbits are energetic beings, and they need stimulation or something to keep them busy for a happy life. If you do not spend time with them by chance, the bunny is the lone pet in the house, or nothing is interesting around, things don’t end well. The bunny will start excessively licking the things around or resort to unusual self-grooming.
When bunny licks their skin excessively, there are chances of skin issues and shedding. A bunny could go bald, or the poor soul could suffer from itchy skin patches. Excessive hair ingestion could result in intestinal blockage and severe medical conditions.
Skin Disease Might Cause Rabbits to Lick
When a bunny licks a particular area of the body, this is a sign of a brewing issue. Rabbits have sensitive skin that can suffer allergic reactions or infections. When your bunny keeps on licking a particular limb or area of its body, inspect that part carefully.
If you don’t find anything, consult your vet right away. Skin diseases are common in farm-raised bunnies, and they need special attention from the owners.
Lack of Attention can initiate a Rabbit Licking
Rabbits are social beings, and they do covet your love and attention. Rabbits look at you as a part of their family and want you to stay around and connected.
Pet parents say that their bunnies lick them more often, which is a sign of showing affection, acceptance, and love.
If you witness that your bunny is licking you more than usual and the licking has gone crazy, you must realize the fact.
The bunny wants you to know that you are not giving love and affection as you used to, and they are getting affected by the withdrawal.
You must increase spending more time with your pets and help them enjoy a happy life with a good relationship.
What do Rabbits Lick?
Rabbits lick things to show affection, mark their territory, and enjoy the texture or taste. Rabbits commonly lick the following:
Rabbit Licking You
Bunnies lick their owners to show their affection and acceptance to communicate their feelings regarding the relationship. They also lick the owners to enjoy the flesh’s salty taste and soft texture. Bunnies are omnivores, but they do not eat meat; that’s why you shouldn’t panic.
Rabbit Licking Floor
They enjoy the salty taste of the floor and lick it to mark their territory. There is nothing wrong when a bunny is licking the floor. But you must ensure that you are using bunny-safe cleaners to keep them away from the hazardous effects of poisonous chemicals.
Rabbit Licking Walls
Rabbits lick walls to mark their territory and to enjoy paints. Some paints give of attractive smell to bunnies, and they lick them with joy. But you must ensure that there are no hazardous chemicals in it to keep your pet safe.
Rabbit Licking Sofa, rugs, carpet, and pillows
Rabbits communicate with their surrounding through their tongues as well. They enjoy the stimulation and texture of the things inside the house.
These human belongings with soft texture are a playful activity for bunnies, and they enjoy licking them. For obvious reasons, you must remove sharp objects and keep them out of your pet’s reach.
5 Steps: How to Stop Rabbits from Abnormal Licking?
Normal licking is a good sign that your bunny is happy and enjoying a great life. But excessive licking is a bad sign and requires you to take one or more of the following actions:
Frequent Skin Inspection
If you want to save your bunny from the hazardous issues of excessive licking, you must keep a cautious eye on their skin and coat health.
You should also regularly inspect their skin and coat for skin issues and infection signs. If their coat is matted or you see a reduction in the coat shine, take your pet to a professional immediately.
Spend more time with them
If your bunny is spending more time self-licking or tasting other things, you must look at your schedule. If you are not spending as much time as you used to with the bunny, you must reconsider your schedule. Bunnies need your affection and time to enjoy a good quality of life and enhanced life expectancy.
Offer them Interactive Toys
If you cannot spend more time with the bunny because of the busy schedule or some new assignments, offer them toys. The interactive toys will help keep your bunny busy and involved. The toy must be pet safe and hygienic not to cause any issues or diseases in your pet.
Use Anti-lick Sprays
If your bunny is adamant about licking furniture and valuables without any reason, it is because of the texture of these things.
To keep your belongings safe, you can take help from an anti-licking spray. You must ensure that you have a good quality, safe spray that is not harmful to your bunny. An unhealthy option can result in digestive issues and severe medical conditions.
Consult your Vet
If you have tried all of the above and still your bunny doesn’t show any improvement, your vet is the last hope. Lack of nutrition, need for specific minerals, and some medical conditions could force your bunny to lick everything around. A brief examination will let your vet identify the reason and help your bunny stop the licking frenzy.
Final Thoughts – Why Do Rabbits Lick things
Licking is normal for rabbits, and they use this act to communicate with their surroundings. When your rabbits lick walls, they are marking their territory. A rabbit licks fellow bunnies and owners to show affection and love.
But the excessive and abnormal licking is your cue to consult your vet and take things seriously. You must provide your bunnies a safe and happy environment and healthy relationship to stop them from excessive licking and getting sick.