In the early days of getting to know your rabbit, you may have noticed some odd behaviors. At certain points in their lives, rabbits may begin to pull out their own fur and this can seem worrying for owners. But why do they do this?
Fur pulling in rabbits is associated with pregnancy and nesting behavior. Fur pulling can also be related to grooming or skin problems in both male and female rabbits.
While it may seem a little confusing to you, especially if you are a new rabbit owner, it is important to remember that, for the most part, this behavior is very normal.
Why Is My Rabbit Pulling Out It’s Fur?
We know that it can be a little disturbing to see your bunny pulling out her fur, particularly if she has never behaved in this way before. However, it can bring some comfort to know that this behavior is extremely normal in female rabbits.
When does are ready to give birth, they will begin to make a nest for their kits. Think of this in the same way that a human might decorate a nursery for the impending arrival of their bundle of joy.
However, since rabbits can’t paint the walls and purchase snuggle blankets and cute teddy bears from Amazon, they have to get a little more inventive and use what nature has to offer. The female will typically gather hay, grass, leaves and anything else that she can get her paws on. But she will also line the nest with her own fur.
You might think that this is a painful thing to do to give the babies warmth and comfort, but it really doesn’t cause the rabbit any distress. This is because the hormones that are released during pregnancy will cause the fur on the side of the rabbit to become looser. This allows the bunny to easily detach it and use it in the nest.
A doe will begin nesting toward the end of her pregnancy so if you see these behaviors occurring, you should prepare for the arrival of some sweet baby buns any day now. However, if your rabbit doesn’t live with a male or hasn’t been exposed to one and is pulling her fur out; you might begin to worry.
If your female has not been neutered, there is a very good chance that she will experience a false pregnancy. In this instance, the rabbit will still display nesting behaviors and while this is harmless, it can be stopped by having your pet spayed.
In some cases, fur pulling isn’t related to reproduction at all. There are times when it may be something a little more concerning, but also easily solved.
Some breeds of rabbit have very long fur and this can become easily matted. But even the shorter haired bunnies need to be regularly groomed. In the wild, there is a rabbit hierarchy and the buns will groom each other. However, in captivity, it is up to you to groom your pet. If you don’t do this often enough, then the rabbit’s fur may become matted.
This isn’t pleasant for the rabbit and it will respond by attempting to remove the matted fur. The problem may be more evident during periods of shedding especially if you have not removed enough of the loose fur. However, this can be easily solved by ensuring that you regularly groom your bunny.
Finally, and more worryingly, a rabbit may pull its fur out when it is bored. Rabbits are highly intelligent animals and they require a lot of mental and physical stimulation. If they don’t get this, they will quickly find ways of keeping themselves busy; and they aren’t always constructive.
Not only can these behaviors be worrying but the stress that the rabbit goes through when left locked in a cage for long hours is not good for its overall well being. To end this behavior, you should make sure that your bunny has enough time to run around, exercise, and interact with you.
Why Does Rabbit’s Fur Change Color?
Rabbits are hunted in the wild by several predators, including humans! This means that these animals need adaptations that help them to survive. One of these is that their fur will change color.
Over the course of time, the rabbit will shed their fur. When this happens, it may grow back in a different shade to what was there before. But this is nothing to be worried about and is completely normal.
However, you may notice that your rabbit’s fur becomes tinged with yellow and this could indicate that it has become stained with urine. While this may not be a problem in the short term, if left untreated, it could lead to the urine scalding the rabbit’s skin. It is therefore important to clean the affected area and prevent the rabbit from spending too much time in it’s litter box.
Why Is My Rabbit Losing Patches Of Fur?
If you notice that your rabbit is beginning to lose patches of fur, this could be a cause for concern. However, for the most part, while this is caused by an underlying health condition, it is usually treatable.
Some of the most common causes for rabbit hair loss are:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Lice, fleas, or parasites
- Urinary tract infections
- Dental issues
- Over grooming
- Bacterial infections
- Fighting with other rabbits
Your rabbit may also experience itching and a certain degree of pain when hair loss occurs, so it is important to address the issue and treat it as soon as possible. Depending on the condition causing the hair loss, your vet will be able to administer various treatments that may include parasite treatments, injections, antibiotics, and other medications.
How To Get Mats Out Of Rabbit’s Fur
It is not uncommon for rabbits to get matted fur, and this is especially true for long-haired varieties. However, while it is normal, it is also important to address the problem and remove the mats, save the rabbit attempts to do it for themselves. As we have learned, this can cause the rabbit to pull out their fur.
The rabbit’s skin is very delicate and when grooming, owners should be mindful of this, being gentle at all times. You can use a mat splitter which will gently remove the mats without hurting the rabbit. However, from time to time, the mats may be a little trickier to remove.
In this case, you may need to use scissors to carefully cut the mats out. But you should keep in mind that this should always be a last resort and never your go-to method.