The Unexpected Reason Bunnies Hop

We marvel at the speed of the cheetah, racing up to 65 miles an hour across grasslands in pursuit of antelope. We're awed by the grace of horses running at full gallop through open fields. But where is the respect for rabbits? They garner a lot of attention for being cute and fluffy, yet in their own right, they perform athletic feats just as remarkable as many other admired creatures — hopping up to an impressive 50 miles an hour for short bursts (via Wonderopolis)!

While a rabbit can move quickly, a single hop can also cover a lot of ground. Rabbits can jump vertically up to 4 feet off the ground (Via Wonderopolis). The world record for a distance jump is held by a bun in Denmark named Yabo. In June of 1999, he jumped a record 3 meters or 9 feet 9.6 inches (via Guinness Book of World Records).

A Rabbit's Hop Can Show Emotion

Just like people have different ways to move: jumping, running, skipping, etc., rabbits do too. One special, and sometimes surprising, movement rabbits do when they're happy is called a "binky," according to Chewy. A rabbit can be hopping around normally, or even sitting quietly, and then with a sudden burst of energy begin hopping around. It might look crazy, but it's normal behavior for rabbits. It looks a lot like when your dog gets the "zoomies" and begins running at breakneck speed, often in circles, for no apparent reason.

"Binkying or dancing or happy hopping is when a rabbit runs around fast, kicks up its rear limbs to the side, and shakes its head," says Veterinary Consultant for Chewy, Dr. Melissa Witherell. She adds sometimes all four of the rabbit's feet are off the ground at once and says it means a rabbit is feeling good.

Hopping for Fear and Doing Handstands?

Rabbits are prey animals. They have to be alert and able to move quickly lest they become someone's lunch. Their strong back legs allow them to push off the ground and cover long distances, while their front legs allow for a smooth landing and balance. In essence, bunnies hop because they were built that way to survive (via Wonderopolis).

But while most rabbits move by hopping, not all rabbits are able to hop. Due to a recently discovered genetic mutation that affects its spinal cord neurons, the sauteur D'Alfort rabbit is unable to jump. Instead, it walks in a curious way on its front legs with its back legs over its head, much like someone doing a handstand (via New Scientist).

Whether it's binkying, or hopping, or for the select few  — doing a special handstand walk —  give a bunny its due respect. It's cute, but it's got some serious athleticism too!