Have you ever heard the phrase “go down the rabbit hole?” If you know what a rabbit hole looks like, you have a better understanding of this phrase.
In your head, you even paint a picture of the rabbit hole when you come across this phrase. So, do you know what a rabbit hole looks like? How deep does it go, and why do rabbits dig them?
Don’t worry if you don’t. This post explains what a rabbit hole looks like to help you differentiate when you spot one.
Let’s dive straight into the answer.
What Does a Rabbit Hole Look Like?
A rabbit hole is usually 10-15 cm in diameter and often slopes inwards. It may be enclosed by a mound of soil or left open.
While it appears shallow at the entrance, rabbit holes lead to burrows or what we call warrens. A warren is a series of interconnected tunnels found underground. Most wild rabbits live here in groups.
Warrens may have simple or complex interconnected chambers. While some warrens will have one common entrance that leads to numerous chambers, others will have more than one entrance in different places.
I don’t know how bunnies do that, but sometimes they dig a complicated series of burrows underground and connect them with a different entrance. However, in most cases, these entrances will not be far apart.
You can easily spot them if you inspect the area. They may not be so evident, especially in bushy areas, but you will notice them if you inspect them closely.
So don’t be fooled by the entrance of a rabbit hole. It may be small (10 cm or 15 cm), but what lies beyond is another thing: numerous tunnels leading to more chambers. This is common in areas with a lot of wild rabbits.
The complex series of underground tunnels gives the phrase “down the rabbit hole” its meaning. When someone tells you not to go down the rabbit hole, what they mean is a confusing, surreal state like rabbit burrows.
You’re being warned against entering into a complex, problematic situation that worsens as you go deeper. If you picture it, this is precisely what rabbit holes look like. They start as normal, then progress to complexly intertwined burrows.
Identifying a Rabbit Hole
You may notice pits or depressions as you cut the grass if it’s in the yard. There’ll also be dead grass or dead leaves around these pits, as well as rabbit fur near the entrance.
The fur may be a little far from the entrance, but if you notice a lot piled up, inspect the area, as there’s likely a rabbit hole nearby.
Rabbit holes are common on slopes or banks as such places have better drainage. Otherwise, these holes would be filled with water when it rains or gets muddy, compromising the whole purpose of having them.
So if you notice fur around a 10 cm wide hole, particularly on a slope, it’s a rabbit hole.
Another thing is that rabbit holes will usually slope inwards and at a shallow angle. There’ll also be signs of grazing near these holes, and sometimes you’ll notice rabbit droppings.
All these signs will help you identify a rabbit hole and differentiate it from other animal holes. And if you notice the holes, there are bunnies around or even inside these holes.
How Deep is a Rabbit Hole?
What looks like a shallow hole goes down deep and connects to a series of tunnels. It may not be as wide as you’d assume, but rabbit holes go 10 ft (3 m) below the ground.
And if there are colonies of rabbits around, the tunnels can go 150 ft (46 m). The more the rabbits, the deeper they dig to satisfy their digging instincts and create enough space for everyone.
Some rabbit species dig more than others, so they dig deeper burrows. A good example is a pygmy, as nothing can stop them from going deeper.
With the ability to dig this deep, rabbits are enemies to crop production because they will disturb the soil and dig through the roots, causing a lot of damage. That’s why farmers try everything possible to scare wild rabbits away because they will not only nibble on plants but also dig deep into the ground and interfere with roots growing in the soil.
Why Do Rabbits Dig Holes?
The first reason is that they enjoy doing it. All rabbits, especially in the wild, have natural digging instincts. That’s why they dig tons of holes with interconnected tunnels underground. Even domesticated bunnies have digging instincts and will dig through things to satisfy their instincts.
Another reason is to create a safe space for them away from predators. When you think about it, that’s why the tunnels go deep into the ground, as most predators can’t go down there looking for rabbits.
Besides, these burrows are cool, so rabbits will hide there when temperatures are high. They also make these holes a home; females can have their kittens there. It’s safe, cool, and secure, so kittens may stay there until they’re strong enough to move around.
So, although digging is an instinct for rabbits, it’s a survival tactic for wild rabbits, especially since there are a lot of predators in the wild.
Rabbits may also dig more when stressed, so if you notice your pet digging through things, she is either stressed or looking for attention.
Do All Rabbits Dig Holes?
For rabbits, digging is an instinct, so all rabbit breeds dig except the cottontail, which prefers living in nests rather than warrens. So, instead of digging, this breed will find hollow logs or existing rabbit holes and make them their home.
Hares also tend to live above the ground and rarely dig holes. But apart from these two species, almost all other rabbit species dig holes.
However, digging habits vary, as some rabbits will dig more than others. As already mentioned, the pigmy digs more compared to other rabbit species. Female rabbits are also more insistent diggers than bucks.
They dig more to create a nest when they’re ready to have kittens. However, they’ll often extend burrows but not start a whole series independently.
Do Pet Rabbits Dig Holes?
As I said, all rabbit species apart from hares and cottontails dig holes. This extends to pet rabbits too.
Being a pet doesn’t mean your bunny can’t dig holes. The only thing stopping her from digging is if she is living in the house with you. And since she can’t dig through concrete, you assume your pet doesn’t dig.
If your pet has a cage outside the house, she might dig a hole there. But generally, pet rabbits dig less than wild rabbits because they’re restricted to one place.
Another thing is that their digging instincts are suppressed with time, and the more they stay in captivity, the more they forget about digging.
Though you’ll notice your pet digging through things now and then, that’s why you’re advised to get her a digging box or two to satisfy her digging instincts.
A rabbit hole is often 10 to 15 cm in diameter and may go 10 ft below the ground. However, the height and diameter depend on the size of the rabbits digging the hole.
Rabbits dig holes for different reasons, so watch out for kittens before getting rid of the holes in your garden.
Now you know what a rabbit hole looks like, so you’ll know how to identify one if you come across one.