How we cite our quotes:
To rabbits, everything unknown is dangerous. The first reaction is to startle, the second to bolt. Again and again they startled, until they were close to exhaustion. But what did these sounds mean and where, in this wilderness, could they bolt to? (5.5)
For rabbits and senior citizens, exploration can be a scary business. Usually, when they have a home nearby, rabbits are nervous but they at least have some place to run to. But while Hazel's rabbits are off on their exploration, there is no safe space they can count on. They've left every certainty behind.
Then his sense of adventure and mischief prompted him. He would go himself and bring back some news before they even knew that he had gone. That would give Bigwig something to bite on. (9.2)
Exploration isn't all scary and dangerous. For some rabbits like Hazel, exploration can be fun—or at least a way to express his power (just like Neil Armstrong did, showing the moon who's the boss). Here Hazel is going out to explore something new (in this case, a beanfield), and he's not feeling fear. He's excited, and he wants to show Bigwig who's in charge. Ah, Hazel's pride in action.
"Still, we'd better make one or two scrapes, don't you think?" said Hazel. "Something to give us shelter at a pinch. Let's go up to the copse and look round. We might as well take our time and make quite sure where we'd like to have them. We don't want to have to do the work twice." "Yes, that's the style," said Bigwig. "And while you're doing that, I'll take Silver and Buckthorn here and have a run down the fields beyond, just to get the lie of the land and make sure there isn't anything dangerous." (12.9-10)
Exploration isn't just a fun hobby for Hazel's rabbits, like scrapbooking (which rabbits love), it's a means to finding or making a home of their own. Hazel and Bigwig may not always agree, but they agree on this: they can make a better home if they explore first. A rabbit should never settle for less than perfect digs.