Share

How to Tell if my Rabbit is Male or Female

By Max. D Gray. Updated: May 23, 2019
How to Tell if my Rabbit is Male or Female

In the case of rabbits, as happens with other pets like cats or turtles, it can be difficult to distinguish males from females, especially when they are young. It is quite important to know the sex of your pets if you have a pair of rabbits, specifically because rabbits are animals with a high reproductive rate that, if not controlled, could lead to a lot of bunnies in a short amount of time.

The most effective way to tell a rabbit's sex is to assess the ano-genital distance, that is, the distance between the anus and genitals. It is shorter in females than in males, but there are other details you need to take into account. In this oneHOWTO article we'll explain how to tell if your rabbit is male or female. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about sexing rabbits.

You may also be interested in: How Long Does A Rabbit Period Last
Steps to follow:
1

The first step when you want to determine the sex of your rabbit is is to place it belly-up to inspect the genital area comfortably. Do this gently, rabbits are quite nervous and prone to stress, therefore, when sexing rabbits, care needs to be taken.

It's better if you have someone to help you hold the rabbit during this rabbit gender process. Do not pick them up, but rather lay them on a cushion or low table to prevent accidents if it jumps or tries to escape. If the rabbit refuses to lay down, you can examine it while it is sitting on its tail. It is very important to prevent them from kicking and avoid holding them by their ears.

If the bunny is very young, examine them with gloves on to avoid passing on diseases or your smell, which could lead the mother to reject it. Once the examination is done, let them go: lying exposed is a serious cause of distress in rabbits.

2

Once your rabbit is upside down, to find out the rabbit gender, locate the opening of the anus and the genitals. In female rabbits, you will see the anus will be very close to the tail. Following it very closely, nearer the abdomen, you will see an oval hole, as in the picture below. That is the rabbit's vulva, what lets you know that your rabbit is female.

How to Tell if my Rabbit is Male or Female - Step 2
3

If we look at male rabbit anatomy, in male rabbits you can also see the anus, approximately in the same location as in females. However, unlike in female rabbits, the next opening - where the penis is situated - is farther from the anus: there is a clear separation. Furthermore, the orifice is more circular than in females, as you can see in the image.

Some experts sex their male rabbits by externalizing the penis. This is done by applying gentle pressure on the edges of the hole and extracting it: however, it is not at all recommendable for inexperienced owners, as you could seriously hurt your rabbit.

How to Tell if my Rabbit is Male or Female - Step 3
4

Another easy way to know if a rabbit is male or female is to check if you can notice the testicles. Unlike most other animals, male rabbits have a scrotal sac for each testicle, and they are not behind the penis but at each side, and slightly forwards, nearer the belly.

A male rabbit's testicles are easy to notice, because they are usually hairless and of a purple shade. However, they may be retracted in situations of stress. If you can't find the testicles, that is not a completely sure sign that a rabbit is female.

5

Checking the genitals is the obvious way to tell male and female rabbits apart, but they often show behavioral or appearance differences.

Female rabbits tend to be more aggressive. They show nesting behaviors, and you will often find them digging or protecting their territory. On the other hand, males are more affectionate and curious, although both sexes are likely to spray.

Male rabbits are usually smaller, while females are the only ones who have nipples or, in some large breeds, a dewlap - a fold of skin under the chin.

How to Tell if my Rabbit is Male or Female - Step 5
6

If despite the above you still have doubts regarding your rabbit's sex, we recommend that you take it to a vet who will be able tell you for sure if it is male or female. Bunnies reach sexual maturity at only three months old, so if you have more than one you should sex them as soon as possible to neuter or separate them if necessary. If you don’t want your female rabbit giving birth, be careful with male and female rabbits living together.

It is important that you have a basic understanding of how to take care of a rabbit so that your pet has a healthy, happy life. When you adopt a rabbit, contact a vet to establish your rabbit's medical records and vaccinations.

Caring for a rabbit: what you need to consider

For more, read our article where we discuss everything you need to know about how to care for a pet rabbit.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Tell if my Rabbit is Male or Female, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

Bibliography
  • R. G. EDWARDS & R.L. GARDNER. Sexing of Live Rabbits Blastocysts. Nature International Journal of Science. 214,576-577 (1967).

Write a comment about How to Tell if my Rabbit is Male or Female

What did you think of this article?
5 comments
Teresa Gagnon
How long can bunnies live. Mine live outside loose in a gated yard.
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Teresa,

Domestic rabbits can live between 8 and 12 years of age, but it will depend on various factors. The most significant are the breed of rabbit and the level of care they receive.
Katie Deemer
I have baby bunnies and I would like to know how to tell the male from the female
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Katie,
You can find out if a rabbit is male or female by clicking on this link
https://animals.onehowto.com/article/how-to-tell-if-my-rabbit-is-male-or-female-1856.html
Christopher omachi
How can i tell or identify the age of a rabbit?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Christopher,

Unless you know the breeder who can tell you the date of birth, it is notoriously difficult to tell the age of rabbits. If you know the breed of rabbit, then you can tell by their size whether or not they are fully grown. You can also determine whether they have reached sexual maturity by looking for signs of heat period (https://www.animalwised.com/signs-of-heat-period-in-rabbits-2507.html). If an animal has been sterilized, there is likely to be scars from spaying or neutering, but they are not always easy to see once their fur grows back.

Generally looking at how healthy they are and whether they exhibit signs of old age, you will be able to tell generally how young or old they are. Without a medical test, however, you will not be able to tell their exact age.
Fluffy
I can't find the anus! How do I do that?
OneHowTo Editor
Gently blow around the area where the anus should be. You should be able to find it.
iyaka moses
good work
cool dude
sup' dude. nice article

How to Tell if my Rabbit is Male or Female
1 of 4
How to Tell if my Rabbit is Male or Female

Back to top