Do Rabbits Dig Holes to have Babies?
Rabbits are such adorable creatures. Since our childhood, we have seen rabbits going into and out of their holes eating carrots and playing mischief with the hunter. Well, they are not that much different in real life either.
Rabbits tend to have strong claws that can dig up the ground real nice but the question comes in our mind. Why do rabbits dig holes?
Yes, Rabbits dig holes to have babies. However, rabbits can also dig holes when they are playing, in danger, and to grind their nails.
One of the readers asked us about the problem they had in their backyard. They say a couple of holes in their backyard and some of them were covered with grass so neatly that it went unnoticed at the very first glance. They had a pair of Eastern Cottontail rabbits.
Do Rabbits Dig Holes to have Babies?
So I think we should first explain the possible reasons for these bunny holes. Our editors have explained all these reasons which are making your rabbit to dig holes.
They might be pregnant:
Pregnancy might be a big reason. Rabbits tend to dig shallow holes under the ground to make a nest for birthing and taking care of their young ones.
Rabbits cover the nest hole with some leaves, grass or even their own fur. Nests are made in such a way that they stay out of sight of wild animals.
They might be in danger:
When rabbits are aware of certain danger, they dig deep burrows and hide in it until the danger has passed.
Wild rabbits do this more often to be safe from the attack of predators like an owl, snake or coyote, etc. Pet rabbits can do this too if there is a dog nearby.
They might be doing their work:
I mean they are bunnies; nature has made them this way. They love to live inside the holes and only go out in search of some food.
If your pet rabbit is making holes, you might want to create him a good home or a designated area where he can dig and play freely.
Rabbits dig holes to cut their nails
That could be a possibility too, they could have had bigger nails on the paws and want them to not grow so big.
So by digging the ground, it might trim the nails. It is recommended to cut their nails in this matter. You may take the assistance of your local vet.
Rabbits dig holes to play
If you have pet rabbits, it is most likely that they will need your attention and the only way to have your attention is by digging into your ground.
Other symptoms could be digging of your furniture or plants. You must look after them. They can chew your sofas really badly. Give them a good environment to play in.
What time of the year do rabbits dig holes to have babies?
Rabbits dig holes all the time. It is not necessary that it will only happen if they are pregnant.
These diggings can be a sign of pregnancy as discussed earlier, the rabbits usually mate from March to September. In some cases, they can mate in extreme winters too.
After mating, a female rabbit (doe) can give birth within 31 days of the pregnancy and this means that she will dig holes for nesting.
An average cottontail rabbit mates as much as 4 times in the breeding period which means we can expect almost 4 batches of birth.
Rabbits dig holes to give birth to babies
The duration of pregnancy for rabbits is most certainly 31 days. In some cases, it may go up to as long as 40 days.
The pattern of digging holes is somewhat different from that of normal rabbit diggings. These nests are made separately and independently from the linking tunneling burrows. For today’s question, Do Rabbits Dig Holes to have Babies? I have explained all the reasons here.
These nest holes are dug relatively shallower. These nests are then covered with greens such as grass or leaves of plants.
The female rabbit uses her fur from all over her body to cover the nest. This happens to save their fur-less little ones from the coldness of the night.
The nest would be completed around day 28 of the pregnancy. The female rabbit would spend days collecting sticks, straw and other things for the nest.
After giving birth, the female rabbit is responsible for protecting and feeding the newly born litter. The babies maybe 4 to 5.
The mother then goes out of the nest and only comes to feed the little ones twice or thrice a day. She does not wish to be seen from any predator.
She feeds them, then again covers the nest and hides herself in a burrow nearby where she can see her babies.
How long does this nursing process take?
Well let’s just divide the process in weeks:
1-2 weeks: the baby rabbits grow up fur in the first week. They also open up their eyes in the middle of the second week.
3-4 weeks: the baby rabbits are grown big enough to go out of the nest and have a snack of their own for a little time. They will get back soon to their nest for rest.
5-8 weeks: the baby rabbits will spend more time outside of the nest and will be eating hay and leafy greens. The babies still feed on their mother until the 8th week for nourishment and strength.
After 8 weeks the babies are now grown and are able to live their own life or to be adopted by some caring families.
Alternative nest for your pet rabbit:
Here’s what you can do if you want your bunny to stay indoors and without digging any other holes in your backyard. You can make build her a nest indoor.
The main benefit of making an alternative nest is to protect your rabbit from any possible danger from other animals.
In addition to this, it can be really cold outside if you live in a cold region so it is best to keep your rabbit warm and cozy indoors.
Tools required to make a rabbit nest
- A box (wooden, cardboard or steel) measuring 13-15 inches
- Shavings or newspaper
First of all, you have to decide which box to choose from. Steel boxes are relatively easier to clean and wash. You can go for wooden and cardboard stuff too.
It also depends on the climate. If the climate is hot, then the bottom must be wired and there should be holes in the box to keep the normal temperature.
After putting the nest, stuff it with some pine shavings. You may find them in an egg store nearby. You can also use newspapers instead of shavings.
The shavings/newspaper will absorb the waste materials of the babies and their mother. The layer should be of 1 inch and if it’s extreme cold then 2 inches.
After putting the shavings you must stuff the nest with loads of straw. The straw will give the rabbit the sense that it is a nest and she will do her work.
Top the straws with some field hay.
Now press your hands towards the middle of the nest to create a hollow type structure. But remember to not go so deep.
Put the nest box into the rabbit’s hutch or cage.
Now that the nest box is put, you will see your rabbit chewing on to the straws. She is actually making up the nest up to her own requirements.
One main thing that you must remember is to put the nest box up to the 28th day of her pregnancy. Doing this before so can just be a wastage of time.
The same day or in some cases, the next day you will see that the doe has skillfully made a nest inside of your nest box covered with her fur.
Now she can give birth to her little ones and it will be s sigh of relief for you too.
So, this is all that you needed to know about the rabbits digging nature and its relevance to pregnancy. We’ve given you the causes, we’ve given you precautions. Stay calm and welcome the new babies to your home.
Team – Rabbitsauthority.com