Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Bunny Week, Day 2: Cotton Ball Bunny and the Language of Lagomorphs

Welcome back to Day 2 of Bunny Week! Today's project is a Cotton Ball Bunny.


My inspiration was this real life rabbit:



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Cotton Ball Bunny

Materials: 2 cotton balls, 2 black seed beads, 1 white seed bead, pink chalk and glue


1. Fluff one cotton ball slightly to form the body of the rabbit. From the second cotton ball, pull a small piece to form the almond-shaped tail and two slightly larger pieces to form the ears. 

2. Use the remainder of the second cotton ball to apply pink chalk to the insides of the ears and to the white seed bead. 
3. Glue the tail, ears, eyes and nose in place. Done!

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Dogs bark, growl and whimper. Cats purr, meow and hiss. So how do rabbits communicate? Most people assume rabbits are silent, but they actually do make some noises. A happy rabbit being petted will lightly grind his teeth as a version of purring. If the petting is just right and the rabbit couldn't be happier, he chatters his teeth between the grinding. A rabbit squeezing into a tight place or using a lot of effort grunts. A worried rabbit who wants to warn his rabbit or human family about danger will loudly THUMP his back feet. And a terrified rabbit who is in mortal danger can make a loud scream. We heard Trouble scream once. Fortunately, he was perfectly safe but having a terrible nightmare. I woke him up and after initial confusion, he snuggled in and calmed down. 

Rabbits also use their environment to make noises to communicate. If we're not up early enough, Trouble will rattle his cage door to let us know it's time for breakfast. He clinks his empty water dish against his food dish if he needs fresh water. He pulls on the baby gates to make noises if he's annoyed that we've locked him out of a particular room. He also enjoys making sounds with his toys.

Rabbits do actually make sounds, but the majority of their communication is non-verbal. In fact, a rabbit can communicate dozens of things simply with their ears. For example:

  • Ears perfectly upright indicate the rabbit is calm yet alert. Nothing is wrong, but the rabbit isn't somewhere he can completely let his guard down.


  • Ears spread to the side means the rabbit is confused. If he could talk, he'd ask you what on earth you are doing. If he adds a slight head tilt, it means he thinks you're completely crazy.


  • Uh oh! A rabbit who turns his back on you with one ear slightly bent back toward you is a bit offended. You've committed some minor offense and the rabbit is letting you know that was not acceptable behavior. It's time to apologize or be ready to see some foot-flicks.


  • When the ears are back, but not flat, the rabbit is relaxed and sleepy. He's still listening for danger, but his eyes are getting heavy.


  • When one ear points, there is something unusual that direction. Perhaps a strange car drove by? A dog is barking on the next street over? Something is different.


  • You can watch that ear swivel forward or back to track the noise. I can watch Trouble's ears to know exactly when someone is going to knock on the door without any other cues.


Our favorite resource for learning how rabbits communicate is The Language of Lagomorphs: Your Guide to Rabbit Communication. We have learned so much from this site over the years. I wish we'd known about it before adopting Trouble; it would have saved us (and especially him) a lot of frustration in the early months before we became fluent in Lagomorph.

6 comments:

  1. Soooooooo cute!!! And loved learning about the different sounds they make!!!!!!!

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  2. Awwww...love the cute pics. Thanks for sharing how rabbits communicate!

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  3. Can I tell you how adorable this post is? I absolutely loved learning all about rabbits communicate through your cotton ball bunny! You made my day, Cindy!!!!

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  4. This little bunny is going to be happening at our house. So cute!
    Again, learning so much about rabbits from you and your family. Love how you used to craft to demonstrate.
    Are bunnies easily offended? ;)

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    1. Yes, actually! Offering the wrong treat, offering no treat at all, trying to pet the rabbit when he's already said no, ignoring a rabbit's requests to be petted and all minor offenses that will earn a rebuff.

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  5. Such a cute post! Loved learning more about rabbits!
    Hamlet (our piggy)grunts and squeals.
    Depending on the situation those grunts and squeals take on different speeds, tones, and pitches, LOL!
    My favorite little quirk of his is when he occasionally smacks his lips while he's getting a belly rub...

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