How to Know if my Rabbit is Pregnant
Do you have a pet rabbit? If you have a female, you'll want to know how to tell if your pet is going to have babies. This will happen especially if you usually leave it outdoors such as in your garden, as it is more likely to get pregnant by a male rabbit. You need to be prepared for this and the more you know about their physiology, the fewer surprises about reproduction. This OneHowTo article explains how to tell if your rabbit is pregnant so you can start getting everything ready.
The best method for knowing if your rabbit is pregnant is by palpation. If your pet is expecting a substantial litter, there will no doubt be some external signs. Veterinarians usually gently inspect a rabbit's abdomen with their hands to find out if they are expecting a litter. It is possible to feel the babies from 2 weeks of pregnancy.
You need to be very careful and skilful to notice foetuses without causing any harm. If you don't feel capable, go to a vet so they can do it. It is not recommended that you palpate a pregnant rabbit after more than two weeks of pregnancy as you could harm the foetuses' development.
In order to palpate your rabbit, you need to take hold of them and then with your right hand, grasp their ears and one shoulder. That way, you will keep the top of their body immobile. With your left hand, gently take the lower part of their body between the pelvis and their hind legs, then place your thumb on the right side and other fingers on the left. If your female rabbit is pregnant, you'll be able to feel the embryos inside. They will be very small, about the size of a grape or a cherry.
Another way of telling whether your rabbit is expecting a litter is by weighing her. Typically, if your female is pregnant, she will gain weight although this variation will not be very drastic. To detect it, use a precision scale to compare their weight before their weight now.
A pregnant rabbit will gain weight by an average of 0.030 kilos in the first week of pregnancy. At the end of the second week, their weight will increase by approximately 0.060 kg. After these small changes, few variations will be observed. If they are pregnant, we recommend the following article where we give you some tips as to how to look after a pregnant rabbit.
The safest option to see if your rabbit is pregnant is to go to the vet so they can conduct the examination and palpation. A good professional will know how to touch your pet's body without harming their brood. In addition, they can also establish proof via an ultrasound scan to be 100% sure after the first 6 days of pregnancy. This test will give you a definite answer as to the status of your rabbit.
If you can't afford this alternative, it is advisable to learn about the life cycle of rabbits. In general, rabbits reach sexual maturity between the age of three and six months.
It is very important you understand that rabbits can start to conceive from the first 12 weeks of life, although it is not advisable for their safety and welfare. So, if your pet is not yet 3 months' old, they won't be pregnant. However, from that moment and up to 6 months' old, the chances of conception start to increase. Once your rabbit is aged over 2 or 3 years, they are considered to be too old to have babies, so their probability of pregnancy is much lower.
It is also desirable to know about this species patterns of reproduction. Rabbits can breed all year round, although males are less fertile at both high and low temperatures, so it is normal for them to conceive during autumn and spring.
Despite all this, the reality is that rabbits are able to reproduce at any time. They don't have a mating season. They have what is known as induced ovulation, i.e., a female prepares for conception 8 hours after having interacted with a male.
Another sign that your rabbit is pregnant will be that you'll find some kind of nest because they usually build nests instinctively when they are expecting babies. Typically, a pregnant female will cover her nest with fur and protect it carefully. So if you've noticed that your rabbit is protecting an area, they may be expecting babies.
However, this is not definitive because many females experience false pregnancies. A nest suggests that the female is developing her maternal instinct and it can be a clue.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Know if my Rabbit is Pregnant, we recommend you visit our Pets category.
- If you have any doubts about your rabbit's pregnancy is better to bring it to the veterinarian.