Rabbits jump over each other for reasons of dominance and submission, to mark territory, and as a form of play.
A rabbit jumping over another rabbit is usually a sign that the dominant bunny is asserting its “status” within the group.
For example, two rabbits who live together may be feeling relaxed and happy with one another’s company, so the rabbits will not jump as a form of exercising their dominance or as a form of play.
Similarly, two bunnies that have just been introduced may feel threatened by one another and thus be more inclined to jump over each other as a way to assert their own power.
Rabbits jumping over each other is generally done in quick succession and usually in the direction of the weaker, more submissive rabbit.
If a bunny is lying on its back and another bunny jumps over it from behind, this usually means that the second bunny has been able to sneak up on it. This is because rabbits are prey animals and their natural enemies can approach them from any angle. In this way, jumping over a rabbit from behind is a sign of dominance.
When rabbits jump over one another, they move quickly and their jumps are typically very high. Rabbits jumping at the same time may even collide in mid-air while trying to knock each other off-balance or out of range. However, because this movement occurs so fast and because there is little weight behind it, the bunnies do not typically injure each other.
The jumping back and forth between two rabbits is usually quick and sporadic. It can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes before the bunnies tire themselves out and start resting instead of playing.
Rabbits also may jump over another rabbit in order to practice or play with their agility. Rabbits are very agile and can jump and change directions in a split second, so they sometimes jump over one another just for the sake of jumping and landing on top of another rabbit.
When rabbits become aggressive with one another through fighting orbiting, they will often puff themselves up before attacking an opponent. This is why rabbits also may jump over each other before they start fighting. Jumping is also used by rabbits as a way to mark territory. When one rabbit jumps over another, it marks the other rabbit with its scent on its feet (the reason for this is discussed in more detail below).
How long can a rabbit jump?
A leaping bunny can spring ten to twelve feet straight up and about six feet forward. Rabbit show jumping events are held around the country, and rabbits who win these competitions often earn thousands of dollars in prize money. An average rabbit makes two leaps per second; therefore they would travel over 30 feet in one minute. A rabbit can jump as high as 4 feet, but it is unlikely that a house pet could accomplish this height.
Why do rabbits put their noses in the air before they hop?
In order to sniff the wind and detect any nearby danger, such as predators or other animals.
Why do rabbits flap their feet when they hop?
The movements of the front and hind legs are coordinated in such a way as to maximize the distance and height that they can reach.
Flapping gives the rabbit an extra boost and helps propel it through space, adding more distance to its jump by pushing off against air currents.
Do rabbits have any predators?
Rabbits are prey animals, so they are hunted by large predators such as coyotes and foxes. Furthermore, rabbits are at risk of being attacked by stray dogs and cats, which roam neighborhoods searching for smaller animals to hunt. Dogs can pose a particular risk if they are kept outside without any supervision from their owners.
In some areas, rabbits may be at risk of being eaten by snakes or birds of prey such as hawks and owls.
Snakes find hiding places to lie in wait for rabbits, and birds of prey will swoop down on rabbits when they are grazing outside.