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Thread: Rabbit memory

  1. #1
    Warren Veteran loobers25's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016

    Default Rabbit memory

    Im trying to find out how far rabbits can remember back in time. I have seen online that they can only remember a day previous but that just cant be true. My bunnies have routines, they know where to go, where not to go and obviously that would require some long term memory.

    Whats your thoughts everybun? Any useful info online anybun has come across?

  2. #2


    I don't believe, either, that they only remember one previous day. Like you said, they have routines and they know the layout of their living space, so they must have a stronger memory than that. I don't know how far back they can remember, though... When Sophie stayed at Casper's rescue for a week to be bonded, she still knew me and the room she lived in, so it must be at least a week, but I had expected that. And when they haven't been at the vets for months, they still know that when I get the carrier out it's bad news for them, so they must remember at least as far back as their last vet visit, but, again, I would expect that... I think they must remember back a lot farther than that, but I have no proof for it. I don't think any book I've read on rabbits has had any information on their memory...

  3. #3
    Wise Old Thumper
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    With my Bunny Crew


    I imagine they have different types of memory, like we do. So implicit memories and autobiographical memories. I don’t know if they have autobiographical memories, as such, but I imagine they don’t just have implicit memories. So I imagine they learn and have body/muscle/learned responses/memories but also have some type of recollection of out of the ordinary things too. Maybe the latter is a day.

    Please Remember to Advocate for your Rabbit.

    'I have the responsibility to do what I want in a world of others, but so does everyone else and it works best if we take each other into account.' (EVD)

  4. #4
    Forum Buddy Craig 1965's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2017


    A fascinating question. One that poses more questions than I think we can currently answer with certainty. We as humans, can compare our thoughts because we have learned though the centuries to understand one another. As humans we have focussed so heavily on our own inter communication that we have largely ignored the millions of other simbient and intelligent beings we share the planet with. It is only largely the last century or so and certainly the last half century that we have begin to learn to communicate with and understand other animals - dolphins, apes, monkeys etc. And those animals all form thoughts, wishes, feelings.
    And so it is my belief that all animals posess the ability to formulate thought, to formulate a will or a desire to want to do something. In the wild, we would view this as 'natural instinct' - and certainly there's an element of tribalism in groubs of animals, from lions to horses and also smaller beings - bunnies etc.
    Rabbits have evolved developed senses due to their prey status and so one might present an argument that a rabbits memory may be based largely on an instictive reaction.
    However, from my own limited observations of rabbits I have had, I have no doubt that rabbits form and harbour memories. Deep memories and certainly in some cases, emotive memories that form part of that rabbits personality. Rabbits, and for that matter most animals will behave according to how they are treated. In much the same way as humans do. If a child is brought up in a violent household, then that child becomes normalised to that behaviour and so in many cases, as the child develops, the behavior mirrors that to which it has been accustomed to.
    and conversely if an animal has been subject to what we would deem as unacceptable treatment, then that animal would continue with that behaviour if it is removed from that situation until intense intervention and patience then shows the animal that actually being treated with kindness and thoughfullness is actually far more beneficial.
    Interesting fact - domestication of dogs evolved 30,000 years ago when the then wild dog/wolf attacked human settlements. Humans reacted as humans do, by attacking the dogs. Aggression meets aggression. Until a sudden change when one dog would then realise that by helping the human the dog is then rewarded with scraps of food - which then alleviates the need for the wild dog to then fight for the food. And at that point, dogs would then become domesticated by humans and become their companions.
    Anway, back to the memory stuff. yes absolutely. I can say with absolute certainty that Lillian had deep emotional issues - memories she had from her former care. We believe she had some form of miscarriage not long after we took her in, and she had this ih the outside hutch. She was so traumatised by this, that she refused to go back into the hutch for 3 years. It was a place she associated with something awful, something we did not know at the time. And Lillian displayed many instances of memory and making a choice, indicitive of memory based decisions. She would go and stand outside our garage door. A deliberate pre meditated choice because she liked to spend time in the garage. She knew to stand and wait, she knew when the door was opened. Lillian knew that if she rang her bell that she would get food. It wasn't a habit - it was a choice. She formed a memory from the first time she did it, and learned that it was a good association.
    Rabbits are always alert and whilst they don't 'think' in the same language we do, they must in my view, formulate thoughts. But thoughts that only they know. We do not know their 'language' so cannot speak it, but we can provide them with the environment that enriches them, makes them feel content, safe, happy. We help to chose who they live with and we know when they are not happy about that arrangement and we then have to make choices for the safety of both rabbits. But it is also clear that when those friendships begin to work, then both rabbits purposefully seek out the other to spend time with them.
    Memories make up the personality of each individual rabbit. It becomes their spirit. It is created in the mind - a place we cannot go in any living thing, but it exists. A memory is something I have spent many many hours wonderfing about because it is not a physical thing. It is a creation. It is something the brain makes. And we all share brain development and so I hold the view that animals will make and hold memories.



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