Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Can Rabbits Get Hiccups (When & How To Prevent?)


Some behaviors and movements of rabbits can leave you puzzled. Hiccup is one of them. It can shake you at the first time if you are a first-time bunny parent. But as I have raised numerous rabbits in the last decade, I have understood better about hiccups of rabbits. So, can rabbits get hiccups?

Rabbits get hiccups occasionally and such episodes are quick so they are difficult to notice. While it is common among baby rabbits, it lasts for a couple of minutes and then fades away.

Most rabbit owners confuse hiccups with twitching and seizures. This article can offer you insights about hiccups and the exact time when you should worry about them.

Hiccups & Rabbits

Rabbits do get the occasional hiccup, along with almost all other animals on Earth (with very few exceptions).

Being hoofed mammals like pigs, deer, and cattle; rabbits are in the same biological order (even-toed ungulates) as these other animals! Even though our cute little house bunnies might not be able to catch human germs or infections, they certainly can get sick just like us. Hiccups are no exception.

As mentioned before though; if your rabbit does develop a case of hiccups – don’t panic! The occasional case of hiccups is usually nothing to be concerned about. Like many other animals, a rabbit’s body will have a natural way to push out the excess air that gets trapped in their windpipe and diaphragm when they get a case of hiccups.

These are completely harmless. It fades in a short span and often remains unnoticed.

Are Hiccups Dangerous For Rabbits?

Short hiccups are fine but prolonged hiccups imply physical and mental problems in rabbits such as stress, respiratory problems, digestive tract infection, and dehydration.

Here are some of the dangers for rabbits:

  • Digestive problems – If a rabbit has an upset stomach, this can cause them to hiccup. If the hiccups persist, it could be a sign of a more serious digestive problem such as an obstruction.
  • Respiratory problems – If a rabbit is having trouble breathing, this can also cause hiccups. This is usually due to an infection or an obstruction in the respiratory tract.
  • Dehydration – If a rabbit is dehydrated, this can also lead to hiccups. Dehydration can be caused by many things such as diarrhea, heat stroke, or insufficient water intake.

Here is a guide about dehydration of rabbits – How to tell if a rabbit is dehydrated?

Here are the signs that might want you to take your rabbit to the vet because of prolonged hiccups:

  • Poor eating behaviors
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Dull coat
  • Hiding more than usual
  • Panting
  • Rigid belly
  • Problems with pee and poop
  • Discharge from eyes

Not sure about their poop behaviors? Here is an article – How often do rabbits pee and poop?

Causes of hiccups in rabbits

Rabbits get hiccups due to one of these reasons:

  • Eating food too fast
  • A sudden change in temperature
  • An upset stomach
  • Excess gas in the stomach
  • Swallowing air while drinking hours
  • Lack of exercise
  • Eating hard foods

Always ensure that your rabbits are eating the right type of food and are exercising the right amount. Hyperactiveness can also result in hiccups.

What do bunny hiccups look like?

Bunny hiccups — also known as rise and fall — are a regular phenomenon occurring in rabbits. When the bunny hiccups, the rabbit’s body will move up and down rhythmically between one and five times per second. Rabbits bob their heads during hiccups.

There appear to be two types of bunny hiccuping: “Type 1” which looks like a fluttering motion; and “type 2” where the entire body seems to shake up and down.

What do these variations depend on?

It is unknown what triggers bunny hiccuping behavior, but it does happen regularly at certain points throughout the day, such as after waking up or just before sleeping. Some owners have noticed that outside stimuli such as stroking or petting their rabbit can also induce hiccups.

When do bunnies get hiccups?

Rabbits typically hiccup after waking up from a nap, after eating rapidly, and during certain times of the year such as early fall or late spring.


As bunnies cannot vomit or burp to enable better digestion, they get hiccups to relieve them from trapped air.

When the external temperature is uneasy for them, they can develop hiccups. However, the most common reason is after eating food. Since most bunnies are fussy and quick eaters, they can get hiccups frequently.

How long does hiccup last in rabbits?

Each episode of bunny hiccups typically lasts 10-60 seconds, but some owners have noted that their rabbits will continue to hiccup on and off for hours at a time. When they bob their heads up and down repeatedly, you need to be cautious.

As with any behavior, if you find your rabbit’s symptoms lasting more than 24 hours, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately.

Related – Does baking soda kill rabbits?

Rabbit hiccups sound

The sound of hiccups in rabbits is quieter and often cannot be heard. You can only recognize their hiccups with head bobbing.

Here is a video that demonstrates hiccups sound of rabbits.

These are hiccups of baby rabbits. You can notice that these hiccups are harmless and do not produce sound.

How to stop rabbit hiccups

The best way to stop rabbit hiccups is to let it happen automatically. Alternatively, you can massage the diaphragm with your fingers gently. This will relieve them from excess air being trapped.

If your rabbit has hiccups, don’t be alarmed. It’s a common occurrence and usually harmless. However, if they’re hiccupping a lot or seem to be in pain, you may want to try to stop them.

Here are a few ways to help your bunny get rid of their hiccups:

  • Find the diaphragm and place your two fingers on it. Gently massage for a minute.
  • Give them access to food and water at a slightly raised place so it reduces the speed of eating.
  • Make sure your rabbit has enough water and access to fresh hay and vegetables.
  • Ensure your rabbit is not dehydrated.
  • Ensure that your rabbit is not stressed and has access to other rabbits or humans.

If your rabbit is still hiccupping after trying these methods, you may want to take them to the vet.

Here is an article about bunny pairs – Do rabbits need to be in pairs?

Is it normal for rabbits to get hiccups?

It’s normal for rabbits to get hiccups from time to time. There is nothing to worry as long as it does not prolong further.

When it comes to our furry friends, the rabbit, there are many things that can go wrong. One of these things is hiccups.

Rabbits usually get hiccups when they eat too fast or when they drink a lot of water quickly. Sometimes, hiccups can also be a sign that something is wrong with your rabbit, like an infection or a blockage. If your rabbit has been having hiccups for more than a day or two, or if they seem to be in pain, you should take them to the vet.

Why does my rabbit hiccup all the time?

Prolonged hiccups can imply the need to change the diet and provide a stress-free environment. There could also be intestinal problems that need vet advice.


Some stressed rabbits tend to hiccup frequently. At some point, they can also develop seizures which are unhealthy in the long run.

Likewise, many first-time bunny parents fail to provide proper access to water, hay, and fresh vegetables. As a result, they starve and hiccup regularly.

Why is my rabbit twitching?

Rabbits twitch due to one of these reasons – internal pain, pleasure, favorite food, and body discomfort. Twitching is different from hiccuping and you should notice variations closely.

There are a number of reasons why a rabbit might twitch, but the most common cause is excitement or pleasure. When your rabbit sees you after being away for a while, they may twitch with joy. Similarly, when they get their favorite food or when they’re playing, they may twitch with happiness.

Rabbits can also twitch when they’re uncomfortable or in pain. If your rabbit is twitching and seems to be in distress, take them to the vet right away. There could be a number of issues causing the discomfort, such as dental problems, ear mites, or intestinal blockages. Twitching can also be a sign of a more serious condition like stroke or seizure.

If your rabbit is healthy and happy, there’s no need to worry about the occasional twitch. Just enjoy watching your binky-happy bunny and know that they’re enjoying themselves!

Final Thoughts

Hiccuping is quite common in rabbits and it only means a block of air in the rabbit’s diaphragm. However, when it extends for a long period, your rabbit needs help.

I have always acted early and closely observed my rabbit’s movements. I’d recommend the same to you too!

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Sowmya Sankaran
Sowmya Sankaran
Sowmya Sankaran is crazy about animals and birds! An avid rescuer and rehabilitator of animals and birds, she uses PETSMOND to share her experiences in raising different creatures and paying attention to intricate aspects of their health. Know more about me - https://petsmond.com/about/

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