Why Do Rabbits Flick Their Front Paws?

Rabbits are cute pets who like to play around and move their paws. They flick their paws naturally due to stimulus and environmental effects. In addition, they use their front feet as their hands to carry food and clean their body.

Why Do Rabbits Flick Their Front Paws? Rabbits flick their front paws to self-clean themselves and remove dust. Also, bunnies demand food by flicking their paws when they are hungry. In addition, it is normal for these animals, but it can cause scratches on their face.

In this way, the bunnies show their responses to their owners. The problem can be a health hazard, a slight amount of dust particles, or digestive diseases.

I had a bunny a few years back that has the habit of front paw flicking. It is used to indicate the food craving and groomed it several times.

It indicated the craving by flicking paws three to four times and clapping them in front of me. Mostly, the bunny did that to remove dust from its front foot and clean its face.

Moreover, a lot of them do not like water or wet paws. So, as a result, they pull their feet upwards, clap them by joining and get water retention.

A few of them take water in their feet and rub it all over their face. All of it happens in self-cleaning and grooming techniques that promote hygienic living conditions. For example, my pet removed water from its front feet by flicking, joining, and clapping them abruptly.


The rabbits do not require daily grooming and bathing, but hygiene is essential. In such conditions, they prefer self-cleaning.

They clean their paws and bodies through different techniques. Bunnies do not like mud, dust particles, and wet material sticks to their front foot.

They clean them by pulling them upwards. It is a paw flicking activity that results in instant paw cleaning. Next, they bring their paws near their tongue and lick them. In this way, they remove the mud and dust from their Paws.

Next, bunnies slowly rub their legs all over their body and repeat this activity 3 to 4 times. In this way, self-cleaning and grooming happen simultaneously.

They never do this until performing the appropriate cleaning and rubbing activities. Also, they bring legs near their tongue because a bunny cannot bow enough to reach its legs towards the ground.

Retention of dust from paws is essential for these animals because they feed themselves through their feet.

A few species directly eat their feed. But several rabbits capture food in their Paws, break it into pieces and chew them.

They flick paws towards their mouths during each eating procedure. This is because dust moving with food particles is not suitable for bunnies.

They clean their front Paws and get food particles through them in such situations.

It is their daily life activity and requires minimum effort. The cleaning of food is one of the significant reasons.

After medication

These are sensitive animals with small bodies. They are vulnerable to skin diseases and physical ailments.

However, the pet owners take them to veterinary doctors for treatment. The treatment methods of these animals are different and challenging.

They require maximum care and warmth during such activities. Therefore, the owners keep these animals on towels for protection and care.

They flick paws twice or thrice every minute. A few of them keep flicked throughout their time in the towel. 

Food craving

The rabbits get flashbacks of the old food particles in their front paws. They lift their legs to access the imaginary food.

Also, they do not get the feed and repeat the activity. It happens due to their food craving, and a few do this in extreme hungry situations. This happens with my pet; I have seen my rabbit eating a lot of hay.

It indicates the owner about the pet food craving. Provide them food because they keep flicking their front feet. As a result, a few of them get face injuries and wounds.

Also, the paw licking leads to the penetration of fur and dust inside their digestive system. As a result, the animal goes through different health problems. In addition, while the rabbit does it 2 to 3 times, consider it a non-dangerous activity.

But, frequent flicking in the absence of food indicates craving. You should fulfill the needs of rabbits and clean their paws. Prevent them from health hazards and keep them healthy and alive for long periods.

Face and fur Grooming 

They do this with their paws and approach their front body fur. Next, the rabbits rub their feet on their body fur in a combing pattern. In this way, the pets groom and repeat this activity for relaxation.

In this way, they clean their bodies, maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent their face from ground dust.

They prevent the face from the attack of bacteria and other harmful microbes.

Is it dangerous for rabbits to flick their front paws?

Generally, it is safe for all rabbits to flick their paws because they stabilize the bodies on their rear Paws. But, frequent flicking indicates sickness. Sometimes, it facilitates grooming and cleanliness.

These animals show their upset responses towards their owners by lifting their front feet. As an owner, identify their behaviors and check their activities.

Take preventive measures to prevent them from irreversible health problems and keep them alive for a long time. 

In a few conditions, skin allergies originate while the dirty rabbit’s paws reach eyes and face. The activity becomes dangerous while it converts into face scratching. They lose their fur during such aggressive activities.

Moreover, it becomes dangerous when bunnies shed excessive fur. It results in the appearance of skin directly to environmental hazards and sunlight. 


I have surveyed 200 rabbit owners across America that have trained rabbits. I asked them about their pet behavior and front paw flicking.

A few of them were unaware of this behavior, but many people provided beneficial information. As a result, I have gathered data about this activity. 

20% to 25% of pet owners said that their rabbit flicks their feet for fun. But, approximately 46% to 55% of people said that the pet does it while it is hungry.

On the other hand, around 70% to 80% of people associated the activity with self-cleaning.

Approximately 40% to 45% said that the rabbit flicks their paws toward the body to comb its fur. But, people were not satisfied with this activity because they reported scratching.

Number of rabbit owners

The response towards self-cleaning

The response towards fur combing

The response towards food craving

The response towards playful activities

200 rabbit owners

70% to 80%

40% to 45%

46% to 55%

20% to 25%

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