Facts about the animal kingdom

How Many Are in a Litter of Rabbits?

María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. January 4, 2024
How Many Are in a Litter of Rabbits?

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Rabbits are known for their incredible reproductive ability. The vast number of offspring is partly due to their high fertility levels, with female rabbits able to get pregnant a mere 24 hours after giving birth. With male and female rabbits living together in such close community in the wild, the number of babies a rabbit can deliver across their 9 year average lifespan is enormous. This number can also grow when we consider how many baby bunnies a rabbit can have in her litter. While we should try to control rabbit populations in our domestic rabbits, it is possible they can also get pregnant. This is something we need to consider if we have male and female rabbits together.

At AnimalWised, we discover how many are in a litter of rabbits? We find out the size of the average litter of bunnies and providing some more details on what to consider with rabbit pregnancy.

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  1. How many babies are in a rabbit's litter?
  2. How many babies can a rabbit have per year?
  3. How many babies can a rabbit have in her life?

How many babies are in a rabbit's litter?

Rabbits are lagomorph mammals. As such, they gestate, give birth and nurse their young. Although there are various different species of rabbit, there is no great variance between them in terms of reproduction. This means all rabbits will reach sexual maturity at around 3 months of age, although there may be some variation between species. After this time, they are able to reproduce.

Although some mammals can only reproduce at certain points in the year, rabbits are fertile all year round. Even so, they tend to be most fertile during the more temperate months. Once they reach maturity, a female rabbit can be fertilized by a male. The gestation time for baby bunnies is relatively short at around 1 month. After gestation, a rabbit will have a litter of 4-8 babies on average.

In practice, this figure is highly variable. A doe (female rabbit) can give birth to only a couple of rabbits in a litter. Only one baby bunny is very rare, but it is possible for a rabbit to birth as many as 20 babies in a single litter. It should be noted that how many are in a rabbit litter will also depend on whether it is her first pregnancy.

How to know how many babies a rabbit will have

Given the great variability in the number of kits (baby rabbits) per doe in each litter, we may want to know what to expect in terms of litter size. Although the average litter of bunnies is 4-8 babies, the only way to tell how much she will birth is via an ultrasound. This is an imaging test whereby a veterinarian can detect the amount of kits in a litter. However, this will need to be done at least 2 weeks after conception to give an accurate reading.

Although it may be stressful for the rabbit to be in a clinical setting, this is a non-invasive procedure. There is a certain margin of error. This will depend on the position of the kits in the uterus and other factors which can make determining bunny litter size difficult.

Learn more about the stages of rabbit pregnancy and how to care for them with our related guide.

How Many Are in a Litter of Rabbits? - How many babies are in a rabbit's litter?

How many babies can a rabbit have per year?

We have said that the gestation period of a rabbit is approximately one month. The particularity of this animal and what favors their great reproductive capacity is that they do not need a rest period after giving birth to become fertile again. This means that a rabbit could be fertilized again after giving birth, even if she is nursing. Since gestation is 1 month, she can give birth approximately 1 month after gestation.

This circumstance triggers the number of kits that could be born each year from a single doe. It will not be an exact figure, since we have seen that an enormous variability is possible in the number of babies born per litter. There are also many other factors determining whether a rabbit will get pregnant. With this in mind we can work out that a female rabbit can have about 7 litters per year with 4-8 babies in each. This means a doe can have 28-56 babies in a twelve-month period.

Not all rabbit pregnancies will be smooth and there is always the possibility of complication. It is also possible that a rabbit will display erratic behavior which isn't related to pregnancy. You can discover more with our article on why a rabbit is nesting, but not pregnant.

How many babies can a rabbit have in her life?

Given the right level of care, a domestic rabbit which lives with a human family should have a longer lifespan than a rabbit in the wild. These rabbits can live up to 12 years or even longer, depending on the circumstances. If we take 10 years as an average, we can work out how many kits a female rabbit might have in her lifetime. Using the figures determined in the previous section, we can say a rabbit can have between 280-560 births throughout her entire lifespan.

The likelihood of a rabbit having this many kits is relatively low. Firstly, it is not a guarantee that all of her kits will survive. Some may be stillborn or die soon after. In addition, rabbits can have more complications the older they get and an older rabbit can be less fertile than a younger specimen. Other rabbits may simply not copulate as much as others for a variety of reasons.

When taking everything into account, it is astonishing the amount of babies a rabbit can deliver in her lifetime. Such a great number of rabbits is not good for the rabbit population as a whole. Many rabbits have to be destroyed each year because there are not enough guardians to care for them. Breeding them recklessly is irresponsible and will jeopardize the well-being of doe and kits.

For this reason and many others, we recommend sterilizing your rabbit through spaying. This will not only prevent pregnancy, but it will help reduce the various problems associated with keeping a sexually intact rabbit at home. This includes a greater prevalence of health issues such as cancer.

If your rabbit gives birth before spaying, it is your responsibility to care for the kits and find a proper home for them. You can learn more about their care with our article on what to feed a baby rabbit.

If you want to read similar articles to How Many Are in a Litter of Rabbits?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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How Many Are in a Litter of Rabbits?