Most people see a rabbit and imagine that these are rather simple creatures that don’t have much going on upstairs. If you have recently adopted a bunny, you might be wondering whether your pet will remember you and how good her memory is and you may be surprised at just how well rabbit’s minds work.
Rabbits are very intelligent animals and while they may appear quiet, their brains are constantly whirring. It is entirely possible to train a rabbit to remember its name and learn tricks. What’s more, while rabbits might not remember everything they have done during any give day, they will remember specific events and this may affect how they interact with certain people.
For rabbit owners, understanding how well their pet’s minds work is essential in providing them with the right care, especially the correct mental stimulation.
Do Rabbits Remember Things?
You might be surprised to learn that your pet rabbit has an incredible memory. Look back to when you first took your pet on; we would bet that they were very shy and wouldn’t come anywhere near you.
However, as your rabbit has got to know you more, a bond developed and your rabbit has remembered that you aren’t a threat.
This is the most basic level of recall for a rabbit and this helps them to determine what is safe and what is not.
Rabbits are prey animals and this means that they are at a very serious risk of being caught and killed in the wild if they are not on their guard.
This is why it takes a while for them to warm to new people. However, sadly, even in captivity, rabbits can be mistreated and if a pet bun is abused or harmed, it is likely that they will keep that incident in their minds and refuse to interact with the person involved in future.
The short term memory of a rabbit is shockingly poor. In fact, don’t be surprised if your pet forgets something that happened just five minutes ago.
But astonishingly, the same rabbit may emotionally recall something from weeks ago and retain this in her memory for the rest of her life.
While a rabbit’s main source of memory is based around survival, you will also notice that your pet thrives off repetition. If you can sustain a regular routine of feeding, playtime and rest for your rabbit, she will commit this to memory and likely be a very happy bunny, as they saying goes.
Do Rabbits Remember Their Names?
It is possible to train a rabbit to remember his name, however, this isn’t quite as easy as training an animal with greater short term memory like a dog, for example.
If you have patience, you will certainly be rewarded and over time, your rabbit will begin to recognize and remember his name. He will respond to you when you call him and in time, you may even be able to teach him basic commands.
The thing with rabbits is that rather than associated the word with an action, they will familiarise themselves with the sound of the word.
This is why it is essential that, when training a rabbit to remember his name, you must not use nicknames, regardless of how cute they may be.
Do Rabbits Remember Their Owners?
Bonding with a rabbit can be one of the most rewarding animal relationships that you ever have. These gentle creatures can be very loving but it takes a lot for them to trust, so again, you must have patience.
When you first adopt your rabbit, you may have to spend a few days, even weeks, sitting silently alongside her waiting for her to approach you.
As she begins to trust you more, she will allow you to pet her, hand feed her and perhaps even pick her up. Although most rabbits prefer to keep their feet on the ground.
This suggests that rabbits do indeed remember their owners. They will recognise you by the sound of your voice but they will also come to recall your scent.
Much of how rabbits communicate in the wild is based on scent and this is something they will use when learning about their human.
Do Rabbits Remember Where They Live?
Unless you are taking your rabbit out on regular walks around the neighborhood; which we would not suggest, it is unlikely that they will be able to find their way home in the event of getting lost.
Rabbits have good spatial memory of where they live. For example, they will remember where their food and water sources are located as well as being able to hop back to their cage after a run around the house or garden.
But once they leave the safety of the home, they will be in a world that they do not recognize and would almost certainly find it difficult, if not impossible, to find their way home.
What Happens If I Upset My Rabbit?
Most bunny owners are responsible and provide excellent care for their pets. However, we are all human and there might be a time that you accidentally harm your rabbit in some way and this can put a huge strain on your relationship.
As we have discussed, rabbits will remember emotionally charged situations and this includes when they have been injured.
While you may not have intentionally hurt your rabbit, you may have to reestablish that trust to let your pet know that there won’t be a repeat of that behaviour.
However, you may be able to override the rabbit’s short-term memory by linking the accident with a positive experience. Let’s say, you accidentally kick your rabbit because you haven’t noticed him hopping around your feet. Immediately stop what you are doing and offer a rabbit-friendly apology to your pet.
This might be some cuddles if he will allow you to touch him or a treat. Your pet may likely forget the incident and retain the positive behavior in his mind.
Rabbits are very smart animals and while many people aren’t aware of it, they will commit certain things to memory. Once there, these things are difficult to shift. A rabbit’s main instinct is to survive so if the animal has a bad experience with a person or in a specific location, they will remember this and try to avoid it in the future.
However, the excellent long-term memory of a rabbit makes them ideal pets to train. They will learn their name, learn tricks and form a very special bond with their owners.