If your pet rabbit has just given birth, you may be eager to know whether the baby bunnies are males or females.
It’s even more important to identify the sex of baby rabbits if you don’t want any surprises in the upcoming weeks.
Identifying the gender of baby rabbits is quite difficult.
You might not be able to tell if the bunnies are males or females until they’re at least 4 weeks old.
How to Tell the Sex of Baby Rabbits?
You can’t tell the sex of baby rabbits when they’re newborns.
There’s no visible difference between males and females when a rabbit is born, and it’s impossible to tell the 2 genders apart.
However, by the time they’re 4 to 6 weeks old, their gender differences start to become a bit prominent, and that’s when you can tell whether a baby is a male or female.
Sometimes, you might not be able to tell the difference till the rabbit is 8 to 9 weeks old.
When the rabbits are young, their genitals don’t protrude and, therefore, aren’t visible, which can help you tell male and female rabbits apart.
Testicles in male rabbits start to descend when they’re about 6 weeks old. Even then, they don’t become visible like adults.
You can feel them when you put gentle yet firm pressures around the vent.
Applying sufficient pressure is the key when checking the gender of a rabbit. Without enough pressure, the penis of a male rabbit won’t protrude, and you can’t tell if the rabbit is a male or female.
When checking the gender of a rabbit, you’ll have to hold the rabbit firmly (while ensuring you aren’t too firm) in a secure position (that’s also comfortable for them), like your lap.
This would ensure the rabbit doesn’t become restless or stressed out. Gently lift the rabbit’s tail and apply firm pressure on its vent.
The pressure will cause the petal-shaped vulva of a female or cylindrical testicle of a male to protrude out of the vent clearly.
However, to do this, you’ve got to wait till the rabbits are at least 6 weeks old. Applying too much pressure on a newborn rabbit’s vent can lead to unwanted complications.
How to Tell the Sex of Adult Rabbits?
Identifying the sex of adult rabbits is much easier because when the rabbits are older, their genitals have developed sufficiently and are visible even without the application of pressure around their vent.
Adult male rabbits have 2 purple-colored testicles on either side of their tail. Each testicle is enclosed in a separate scrotal sac.
Adult female rabbits have 4 to 5 pairs of nipples on the underside of their bodies which are very clear. You won’t have to spot them in the fur.
There’s a pouch-like dewlap under the chin in some female rabbits that also helps in identifying them as females.
Another important trait that helps identify a rabbit as female is the larger body size.
If you look at the genital areas of adult male and female rabbits closely, you’ll see their genital openings are quite different too.
In males, the opening is rather circular, whereas, in females, the opening is vertical and slit-like that opens on the outside.
Tips to Tell Sex of Baby Rabbits Easily and Correctly
If you’ve never checked the gender of a baby rabbit before, you’ll find it quite a challenge to do it correctly.
Firstly because you don’t know how to do it, and secondly, rabbits can tuck in their genitalia when they’re scared, making it more difficult to tell if the rabbit is a male or female.
This is where the tips listed below can help you tell the sex of a baby rabbit easily and accurately:
Hold the rabbit by its scruff with forelimbs and hind limbs raised up so that the underside of their body is visible but hold them in this position very gently.
Make sure you’re resting the rabbit on a soft surface like a pillow or your lap. Rabbits are very sensitive animals, and they get scared and stressed out very easily.
And when rabbits are stressed out, they can tuck their genitals in, which makes telling the gender extremely hard.
Being gentle in handling your rabbits is the key to checking the gender accurately.
Apply Sufficient Pressure
You might not know how much pressure is sufficient to make the genitals of a rabbit protrude.
When you’re trying to check the sex of a baby rabbit, make sure you’re applying sufficient pressure around the vent but aren’t going too hard on them either.
If you press with a very light hand, the genitals won’t protrude.
If you press too hard, it might hurt the rabbit and may even lead to other complications as the genitals of baby rabbits are very soft and sensitive.
Why is it Important to Identify Sex in Rabbits?
You may wonder why it’s so important to identify the sex of baby rabbits. Why not wait till they’re grown up, and their genitals are more visible?
Female rabbits produce eggs from a very young age, and they can get pregnant at an age as young as 11 weeks.
If you know the gender of baby rabbits, you can accommodate them accordingly.
Let’s look at some of the major reasons why it’s important to identify the sex of rabbits while they’re still young:
Prevent Unwanted Pregnancies in Rabbits
Not everyone buys pair of rabbits with the intention of increasing their numbers. Most people buy rabbits in pairs because rabbits are happiest when they’re kept in pairs.
If you’ve bought a pair of rabbits while they’re still very young, you should try to identify their sexes to prevent any unwanted pregnancies.
Female rabbits don’t have an estrous cycle. They’re sexually active and respond to male rabbits for 5 to 14 days, separated by just a day or two of non-receptive days.
It means female rabbits are receptive to males almost all the time. If a female rabbit breeds with a male at any time, the chances that she will get pregnant are quite high.
What’s more, to it is the fact that female rabbits have 2 uteruses, and each uterus can carry 1 litter. And do you know how many rabbits make 1 litter? 4 to 12!
It means a female rabbit can produce as many as 24 babies at a time! That’s a lot!
So, if you know the sexes of your baby rabbits, you can keep them away and avoid unwanted pregnancies.
Ensuring Good Bonding
Not all gender combinations can live together in harmony.
2 neutered male rabbits go along quite well, and so do male and female rabbits. However, 2 female rabbits might not bond very well.
This makes identifying the sexes of baby rabbits extremely important. If you know the genders, you’ll be able to adjust them to ensure they get along well.
Ensuring Good Health
You can ensure your rabbits’ good health if you know the gender. Unspayed female rabbits are at a higher risk of developing uterine cancer.
Spaying is a process by which ovaries are removed. It not only makes them healthier but also prevents unwanted pregnancies. Frequent pregnancies can leave the rabbit feeling weak.
If you don’t know whether your rabbit is a male or female, you won’t be able to take the necessary steps to ensure their good health. This is another reason why sexing rabbits is so important.
Can You Tell the Sex of a Baby Rabbit by its Face?
Some people believe that it’s possible to tell the sex of a baby rabbit by its face. Male and female rabbits do differ drastically in physical features, but the face shouldn’t be the only factor to base your decision on.
The face of female rabbits is usually rounder than male. The face of male rabbits is a bit rectangular in contrast to the round face of females.
But identifying the gender by the face isn’t the right way to go about it. The shape of the face may vary depending on the rabbits’ breed and physique, and you can get the gender wrong.
The best way to tell the sex of a baby rabbit is by evaluating its genitals. And that, too, not when the rabbit is born.
The best time to check a rabbit for its sex is at least 6 weeks after they’re born. You can never go wrong with the genitals as they’re contrastingly different.
You can’t possibly go wrong in identifying a cylindrical protrusion with a circular opening at the tip in males and a slit-like opening in females.
Once you know what sex your baby rabbits are, you can accommodate them as per your preference. If you want your rabbits to produce babies, you can keep a male and female together.
If you don’t want your rabbits to mate and increase in numbers, you can ensure males and females aren’t kept in the same place.
Do you see how much knowing the gender of your rabbit can help you manage them as pets?
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