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How to Tell the Sex of a Rabbit

 
By Anaƫlle Sikich. May 6, 2020
How to Tell the Sex of a Rabbit

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Unlike other animals, female and male rabbits aren't too different physically. This can make it hard for many pet companions to know the sex of their rabbit, especially a newborn. So they will often need to go for a professional to know the gender of their rabbit.

In this AnimalWised article, we will help you tell the sex of your rabbit. Keep reading to find out how to know if your rabbit is male or female.

You may also be interested in: How To Tell A Male Hamster From A Female

How old does a rabbit have to be to tell the sex?

Many pet companions want to know the gender of their bunnies as soon as they're born, unfortunately this is nearly impossible even for professionals. So, how old does a rabbit have to be to tell their sex?

Depending on the size of your bunny, you should be able to identify their sex by the time they are around 6 weeks old. However, if you're still not sure, wait until they are around 9 weeks old to check again. Once they are 3 months old, it will be much easier to tell if your rabbit is male or female. This is because their genitalia will be more developed and therefore easier to identify.

There's a strange belief that rabbits can change genders. However, this is simply incorrect. Rabbits do not fall into the category of animals that can change genders. If you believe your rabbit has changed genders, that simply means they were mis-sexed by the breeder or veterinarian. It's understandable as it's very difficult to tell rabbit gender apart when they are newborn bunnies.

How to know if your rabbit is male

To know if your rabbit is male, follow the simple steps below. Remember to handle your bunny with care as they are easily scared and it will not be a normal position for them to be in.

  1. Place them on your lap or a table, belly facing up. You will see their abdomen and then their tail hiding their genitalia.
  2. Hold them firmly but with care, we don't want to scare them.
  3. Observe their genitalia area. Their anus will be very close to their tail. In males, their penis and anus are more far apart than females' vagina and anus.
  4. Their penis is a cylinder shape that slightly sticks out.
  5. Optional: you can also gently press around their penis to make sure it is indeed a penis. If it is, their penis will come out and you will see the full size of it.

Once your rabbit is 3 or 4 months old it will be much easier to tell if they are male as you will most likely be able to see their testicles. However, in some cases their testicles may lower down and you will only be able to see their penis. If you're still having trouble recognising their genitalia, it's best you ask your veterinarian to have a look.

How to Tell the Sex of a Rabbit - How to know if your rabbit is male

How to know if your rabbit is female

The beginning of this process is the same as for males. To know if your rabbit is female, follow the simple steps below. Remember to handle your bunny with care as they are easily scared and it will not be a normal position for them to be in.

  1. Place them on your lap or a table, belly facing up. You will see their abdomen and then their tail hiding their genitalia.
  2. Hold them firmly but with care, we don't want to scare them.
  3. Observe their genitalia area. The anus will be close to her tail, and then you will see her vulva. The shape is more oval than circular (as in males).
  4. By gently pressing around the area, you will see her puffy vulva and a slit in the middle. If this is what you observe, then she is a female bunny.

If your bunny is already 3 months old and you are having trouble knowing her sex, visit your veterinarian so that they can observe your bunny.

How to Tell the Sex of a Rabbit - How to know if your rabbit is female

Difference between male and female rabbits

Other than their genitals, male and female rabbits are different in character. Here are some of the main differences in the character of male and female rabbits:

  • Female rabbits are less territorial than male rabbits: However they do tend to be territorial with people and their community rabbits. Unspayed female rabbits will dig to create breeding dens and will protect those holes by kicking, biting and scratching.
  • Male rabbits urinate to mark their territory: They will not only urinate on areas to mark their territory but also on the female they're mating with when having sexual intercourse.
  • High sex drive: although both sexes of rabbits have a high sex drive, unspayed male rabbits are likely to hump toys, sweaters or cushions.
  • Males defecate more: unspayed male rabbits also defecate more than females.
  • Males are more affectionate: contrary to popular belief, male rabbits tend to be more affectionate than female rabbits.
  • Males are calmer than females: male rabbits are known to be more calm than female rabbits, however this can vary as each rabbit has their own personality.
  • Females are larger than males: male and female rabbits are quite similar in physical appearance, making it difficult to differentiate them by a simple glance. However, a small clue that can help us is the fact that females are comparatively larger than a male rabbit of the same age and breed.
  • Faces: another female physical trait is their face. Female rabbits have a rounder face than male rabbits that look more rectangular.
  • Dewlaps: old females have dewlaps but males do not.

With all of this being said, both genders are great, there is not one better than the other. They have their own character due to their sex and personality. However, it would be wise to spay or neuter your rabbits to stop unwanted pregnancies. Be mindful that it will take a few months for the hormones to settle down. To learn more about spraying your rabbit, consult with your veterinarian.

Fun facts about rabbits

  • Male rabbits are called a “buck
  • Female rabbits are called a “doe
  • A baby rabbit is called a “bunny”
  • There are nearly 50 breeds of domestic rabbits in the world
How to Tell the Sex of a Rabbit - Fun facts about rabbits

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