Knowing whether your rabbit is a boy or girl can be really important. Although it is relatively easy to check if a rabbit is male or female, some rabbit owners find it hard to determine the gender of their bunny at a glance. This is especially true for younger and smaller breeds of rabbits.
Male rabbits are called Bucks and female rabbits are called Does. Finding out a rabbit’s gender is needed for naming them, separating them to prevent accidental breeding, getting them spayed or neutered, or even understanding their unique behavior. So here is how you can check if a rabbit is male or female in 5 easy steps.
Once you get a hang of these simple steps and get a basic idea about the rabbit’s anatomy almost anyone should be able to tell a male and female rabbit apart.
Prepare For The Examination
The first step is to get our self ready to check if a rabbit is a boy or a girl. Here are a couple of thing you should have to make the whole process much easier on both you and the rabbit. The things you should have are
- Sterile Gloves
Make sure to wash your hand or use a pair of sterile gloves when you prepare as this helps prevent germ transfer between your hands and the genital area of your bunny.
You can use the towel to wrap your rabbit into a bunny burrito which will help restrain the rabbit from squirming. Try to be as gentle with your rabbit so that they don’t get stressed.
Give treats to the rabbit before and after to further reduce stress. Use fruits or rabbit pellets as treats and try to avoid store bought ones.
Finding Out The Rabbit's Age
Another important part of checking if a rabbit is male or females is knowing their age. Rabbits can reach sexual maturity as early as 3 months or 12 weeks old. It is best to identify a rabbit’s gender when they are young in order to prevent accidental breeding or sexual fighting.
That being said, checking a rabbit’s gender is much easier when they are older. Their genitals can look quite similar when they are less than a month old which may lead to a wrong gendering. I recommend checking if a rabbit is male or female only after they are 4 weeks old.
Get The Rabbit In Position
The next step would be to get your rabbit in the correct position to check their gender. In order to examine a rabbit’s genital area which is located under their belly in between their hind legs, the rabbit needs to be laying on its belly.
There are several ways you can lay a rabbit on its back but the safest way is placing them on your lap while sitting down. This way you can hold on to the bunny with your thighs and prevent it from squirming or getting away. Here is how you can get your rabbit in position to check if it is a boy or a girl rabbit.
- Grab hold of the rabbit (use treats to get them to come to you)
- Sit down on a chair with your legs joined together at your thighs.
- Wrap the rabbit from head to its belly to prevent it from squirming (optional).
- Lay the rabbit on your lap with its head near your knees and head towards your hip.
- Gently lift their hind legs to the side or in the front to visually locate their genital area.
Trancing A Rabbit
When you lay your rabbit on its back you may feel its body going limp, this is called trancing a rabbit. This is similar to playing dead and has evolved as a way to fool predators.
That being said, being tranced can be quite a stressful experience for a rabbit. Even though they may seem perfectly comfortable laying on their back, they can get very scared along with having elevated heart rates.
Rabbits are delicate creatures, they can easily hurt themselves if they get scared and squirm to get out of being tranced. Their spine is really susceptible to injury when they are being laid on their back.
Be extra careful with your rabbit during this step to make sure that they don’t get hurt, wrap them in a towel to keep them safe and restrained.
Locate The Genital Area Of The Rabbit
Once you have the rabbit in position to check if its a male or a female, you need to locate the genital area of the rabbit. Like most mammals the genital area in rabbits is located between their hind legs below their belly.
Locating a rabbit’s genitals can be difficult if the rabbit is really young and you don’t know what you are looking for. If your rabbit is of a breed that has long fur like Angora rabbits it can be even more difficult.
Remember to keep your hand washed or wear a sterile gloves before touching a rabbit’s genital area. This can help prevent any transfer of germs and keep you and your rabbit safe.
Things To Avoid
Even though checking if a rabbit is male or female is quite straight forward, it can still to some complications if you are not careful with the whole process. Here are a few things that you need to try and avoid while locating the genitals of a rabbit to determine its gender.
- Do not force the rabbit or flip the over if they are trying hard to get out.
- Try to remain calm and keep your rabbit calm buy petting it and giving it some treats.
- Avoid poking and prodding the area unnecessarily.
- Try to avoid taking too long as it can cause stress in the rabbit
- Absolutely try to use the least amount of force necessary during the whole process.
Identify The Genital Structures
The final step is to examine the genital structures of the rabbit and find out if the rabbit is male or female. Just like most mammals rabbits have a penis and a pair or testicles for males and a vagina for female rabbits.
For Male Rabbits
In male rabbits the best thing to look for is their testicles, they usually hang from their groin area are relatively easy to spot in most rabbits.The testicles in rabbits are usually oval shaped and pink to purple in color. They may be covered with a layer of fur as well.
In younger rabbits the testicles can be a bit harder to identify as they can be retracted into their body until they are at least a month old.
Rabbits can also sometimes retract their testicles into their body if they are stressed or scared.
You can also try to identify the rabbit’s penis to determine if is a boy or a girl, the penis is a tube like organ which is also located in between the hind legs. That being said the penis of a rabbit can be really small and hard to identify so your best bet may be to look for their testicles instead.
For Female Rabbits
Female rabbits can be a bit tricky to identify compared to male rabbits. Here again we should be looking for a pair of testicles as they are the easiest to locate at first glance.
If you cannot find any testicles then move to the genital opening. If the rabbit is a female then it should have a vulva which is the opening of the vagina
Compared to the penis in males which is a tube-like structure, the vulva in female rabbits is more of a slit-like structure located just above their anus which can be located where their tail attaches to their body below their belly.
Determine The Rabbit's Gender
Once you can see and confirm the sexual organs on the rabbits you should be able to determine the gender of the rabbit. As discussed earlier, male rabbits have a penis and testicles while females rabbits have a vagina.
Even though it may be a bit difficult to get it right the first time especially if you have an uncooperative or young rabbit, keep trying once or twice a week until you can be 100% sure about the gender of the rabbit.
FAQ On How To Check If A Rabbit Is Male Or Female
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about how to check if a rabbit is male or female. There are lots of misconceptions and myths about checking a rabbit’s sex and hopefully with this most of your related queries.
What To Do When You Can't Tell If A Rabbit Is Male Or Female After Checking?
Well it can be hard to check whether a rabbit is male or female if it is your first time or you are new to rabbits. rabbits in general. It can also be hard to determine gender even after the most comprehensive test at home if your rabbit is really young or from a small or furry breed.
In those cases your best option is to get your rabbit’s gender to get hold of someone who is a bit more experienced with rabbits or a vet. Most certified rabbit shelters will also give you the information if you go and adopt a pet rabbit.
Can You Tell If A Rabbit Is A Boy Or A Girl From Their Personality?
Male and female rabbits can have vastly different personalities. Every rabbit is unique but a lot of rabbit behavior stems from their gender. This includes how they interact with humans, other rabbit and other pets like dogs or cats in the house.
Female rabbits can usually have these traits :-
Male rabbits tend to have these traits :-
Should You Get A Male Or Female Rabbit A Your First Rabbit?
Having a male or a female rabbit can be a completely different experience, each of the genders have their quirks and qualities that makes them unique. That being said, other factors such as the rabbit’s size, breed, age and personality are much more important when its time to get your first rabbit.
Another thing to consider is that pet rabbits do best when kept in a pair. Rabbits are social animals who live with extended families made up of 5-10 adult rabbits.
That is why its is best to keep at least one male and one female rabbit together so that they both remain healthy. Just get them spayed and neutered in order to prevent accidental breeding because a rabbit pair can produce offspring even when they are just 12 weeks old and give birth to 4-8 babies called kits every time.
If you cant get two rabbits at once then I’d recommend that you bring home a male rabbit as they are easy to identify, cheaper to get fixed, and can easily bond with a female if you decide to get one later.