Rabbits require neutering as pets and in common cages as farm animals because they reproduce with minimal human intervention.
Whether you’re a pet owner trying to figure out the waiting period before your rabbit’s delivery or a farmer trying to calculate the reproduction rate of your farm animals, you want to know how long rabbits stay pregnant.
In this article, you will discover the answer to that, tabulated by rabbit type, alongside pregnancy care guidelines and post-delivery tips. So let’s get started with an overview of the rabbit pregnancy duration range.
How Long Are Rabbits Pregnant?
Rabbits are pregnant for 27 to 45 days, depending on the specific species to which they belong. You can expect most rabbits to deliver a month after conception, except for the common tapeti, which stays pregnant for up to a month and a half.
Since tapetis are not popular pets in the US, most US-based rabbit owners should prepare for their rabbits to deliver within a month. The maximum “overdue” period for common pet rabbits is 32 days.
Here is how long different rabbit species remain pregnant:
|Rabbit Type||Minimum Pregnancy Duration||Maximum Pregnancy Duration|
|European Rabbit||28 days||35 days|
|Eastern Cottontail||27 days||28 days|
|Swamp Rabbit||36 days||37 days|
|Desert Cottontail||28 days||29 days|
|Common Tapeti||41 days||45 days|
|New England Cottontail||27 days||29 days|
|Brush Rabbit||26 days||27 days|
|Mexican Cottontail||28 days||30 days|
|Dice’s Cottontail||30 days||31 days|
Now that you know how many days of pregnancy you can expect, you might have a few questions regarding care during and after labor. Aside from the postpartum angle, you might also want to know whether a pregnant rabbit requires a special diet. That’s what the rest of this article will help you out with. But before we talk about any of that, you must remember the following:
You must, under no circumstances, try to delay a rabbit’s delivery. While rabbits deliver quickly by human standards, it is a healthy conclusion to their pregnancy cycle.
Why Do Rabbits Deliver So Quickly?
Rabbits deliver quickly because they have evolved to grow as embryos at a 9 to 10 times higher pace than humans because of their 10-times shorter lifespan. A rabbit baby delivered around one month after conception is healthy.
Inexperienced owners might assume that a rabbit baby born so “early” is premature. But that’s not the case. There is no need to panic or interfere in a rabbit’s reproductive cycle.
You can help the pregnant rabbit by providing clean and nutritious food like alfalfa hay, rabbit pellets, and a select range of dark leafy greens.
Please learn more about which food items are toxic to rabbits before you introduce anything besides hay to your rabbit’s diet.
A pregnant rabbit also drinks a lot of water, and you have to be especially careful that the water is clean. A rabbit’s immune system can deal with “normal” tap water, but pregnant bunnies have their bodies already pretty busy. Boiling water and then letting it cool can be a good purification measure.
Alternatively, you might want to invest in a Brita Water Filter Pitcher to purify a pregnant rabbit’s drinking water. And while you’re at it, try ordering nutritious hay like Viking Farmer Alfalfa Hay. This hay package has over 1280 reviews and ratings that come to a global collective average of 4.6 out of 5 stars, and for good reason. It is delivered fresh and has a pleasant scent, and rabbits (pregnant and non-pregnant) love it.
Do Rabbits Need to Go to the Hospital for Delivery?
Rabbits do not need to go to a hospital for delivery. Rabbits are pretty independent with regard to labor and postpartum care. Human interference is not required at any stage of a rabbit’s delivery.
Still, one can take a few steps to make this more comfortable for the rabbit. The mother rabbit needs to be in an anxiety-free state, preferably away from humans and in a space where she is comfortable.
Taking a pregnant rabbit to a veterinary doctor too close to delivery can be counterproductive. Instead, you should let her be on her own, where she is most comfortable. This will generally be an area within your house, in or around her cage.
Does a Rabbit Have an Umbilical Cord?
Rabbits can deliver without a doctor, but you might be worried about having to cut the umbilical cord. Again, there is no need for human interference, but not because rabbits are cord-free at birth.
Rabbits have an umbilical cord and placenta. They deal with their umbilical cords without human interference, so the pet owner doesn’t need to intervene. Rabbits are very effective at reproduction if left entirely to their own devices.
Even the clean-up can be managed by the mother rabbit. Rabbits eat the placenta after giving birth. If the mother is pregnant for the first time, you might want to clean up the babies before this happens. Inexperienced rabbits might end up feeding on their fresh litter alongside the placenta.
A rabbit’s stomach might be upset if it accidentally eats its young. Since rabbits are used to eating their cecotropes (soft poop), they don’t find it strange to consume what comes out of their hind offices. That’s why you have to be ready to rescue the fresh-born bunnies once the mother is done delivering and has severed the umbilical cord.
Rabbit Pregnancy: Best Practices for the Owner
- Get the timeline right – The most important thing to avoid surprises is to know how far along your pet is. When a rabbit first starts showing, she is 10 to 12 days past conception.
- Provide nutritious food and clean water – This will help the rabbit’s body stay free of the biological burden of growing an embryo. It is important to look up individual food items’ compatibility with the rabbit’s diet. Many human food items are toxic to rabbits.
- Start expecting delivery 2.5 weeks after the rabbit starts showing – The exact delivery time is hard to pinpoint. You cannot be sure if you’ve got the conception point right as well. So the best way to offset this confusion is to be prepared for delivery after 2.5 weeks of the pregnancy becoming obvious.
- Isolate the babies after birth – The mother needs isolation when giving birth, but the baby rabbits need to be alone if the mother can’t tell the difference between the babies and her placenta.
Rabbits are pregnant for an average of 30 days, though this can vary by species. Some rabbits, not usually bred or sold in the US, can stay pregnant for up to 45 days.
Most domesticated rabbits deliver within 28 to 35 days. During their pregnancy, they must be fed nutritious hay and clean water.
But when it comes time to deliver, rabbits prefer to be alone. Just make sure you rescue the babies once they are completely detached from the mother rabbit.