Catch a Bunny

The Surprising Truth about Rabbits and Their Babies: Debunking Myths and Exploring Natural Behavior

Why Do Rabbits Eat Their Babies?Rabbits are known for their adorable and cuddly appearance, but did you know that sometimes they eat their own babies? This shocking behavior may seem disturbing, but there are several reasons why rabbits engage in such infanticide.

In this article, we will explore the various factors that contribute to this behavior and discuss how to take care of rabbit babies to prevent infanticide.

Reasons Why Rabbits Eat Their Babies

1.1 Stillborn Babies

One possible reason why rabbits eat their babies is when they are born stillborn. While this may seem horrific, it is actually a natural instinct for rabbits to remove the stillborn baby from the nest.

By eating the body, the mother rabbit can eliminate any potential risks, such as attracting predators or the spread of diseases. 1.2 Confusion during Eating Afterbirth

Another reason why rabbits may eat their babies is due to confusion during the consumption of afterbirth.

After giving birth, the mother rabbit will naturally consume the placenta and any other afterbirth materials. However, in some cases, the mother may accidentally consume a live baby instead.

This confusion can lead to the unfortunate event of infanticide. 1.3 Panic to Avoid Attracting Predators

Rabbits are highly nervous creatures, always on high alert for potential predators.

In some instances, the mother rabbit may eat her babies as a form of panic response. By removing the babies from the nest, the mother hopes to eliminate any signs that may attract predators.

Although distressing, this behavior is a survival instinct passed down through generations. 1.4 Lack of Energy due to Low Dietary Protein

A drained and devoid of energy mother rabbit may resort to eating her babies.

This behavior can occur when the mother lacks sufficient dietary protein to support both her own needs and the needs of her offspring. In this desperate situation, the mother rabbit may choose to prioritize her own survival over the survival of her babies.

1.5 Territorial Behavior and Competition

Territorial behavior plays a significant role in the infanticide of rabbits. In certain situations, if a mother rabbit feels threatened by other rabbits or perceives a scarcity of resources, she may remove or eat her babies to reduce competition.

This behavior is a means of ensuring her own survival and the survival of the fittest in her hutch. 1.6 Survival of the Fittest Instinct

Darwin’s principle of survival of the fittest also influences rabbit behavior.

In some cases, the mother rabbit may eat the weakest babies in the litter to increase the chances of survival for the strongest ones. This instinct to eliminate the weakest offspring is nature’s way of ensuring the viability and strength of future generations.

Taking Care of Rabbit Babies and Preventing Infanticide

2.1 Keeping the Babies with the Mother until They Are Independent

One effective way to prevent infanticide is by allowing the babies to stay with the mother until they are independent. Around the age of eight weeks, rabbits are typically weaned and able to consume solid food.

Allowing the babies to remain with the mother during this period ensures they receive the necessary nutrition and behavioral guidance. 2.2 Spaying the Mother if She Repeatedly Kills Her Babies

If a mother rabbit repeatedly kills her babies, it may be necessary to spay her.

By spaying the mother, her maternal instincts are suppressed, alleviating distress and preventing the further loss of rabbit babies. Consulting a veterinarian to evaluate the situation and discuss the best course of action is crucial in these cases.

2.3 Raising the Babies If the Mother Neglects or Kills Some of Them

In situations where the mother neglects or kills some of her babies, it is essential to step in and take over their care. Dividing the babies into small groups and providing them with proper nutrition is crucial.

Rabbit formula can be used to bottle-feed the babies, ensuring they receive the necessary nutrients and care for their development. 2.4 Precautionary Steps to Prevent Infanticide

To prevent infanticide, it is important to take precautionary steps before the problem arises.

Providing a calm and stress-free environment for the mother rabbit is vital. Additionally, ensuring the mother’s diet is protein-rich can help prevent her from draining her energy and resorting to eating her babies.

Taking such preventative measures contributes to a healthier and safer environment for the rabbit family. 2.5 Separating Male Rabbits from the Babies

Male rabbits should be separated from the babies to avoid any potential harm.

Male rabbits may display territorial instincts and harm or stress the babies, leading to unwanted consequences. Neutering the males can also help minimize any paternal instincts that may trigger aggressive behavior towards the babies.


Understanding the reasons why rabbits eat their babies is crucial in providing appropriate care and prevention. While it may be distressing to witness such behavior, it is essential to remember that these actions are driven by instinct and survival.

By implementing the necessary precautions and offering the right care, we can help ensure the safety and well-being of both mother rabbits and their precious offspring. Myths and Misconceptions about Rabbits and Their BabiesRabbits have long been associated with fertility and reproduction, making them popular subjects of myths and misconceptions.

Unfortunately, this has led to a number of misunderstandings about rabbits and their babies. In this article, we will debunk some of the common myths surrounding rabbits and shed light on the reasons why baby rabbits may disappear.

The Myth of Rabbits Eating Babies Due to Human Scent

One prevalent myth about rabbits is that they will eat their babies if they detect a human scent on them. This misconception stems from the belief that rabbits are indifferent to their young and that human scent makes them feel uncomfortable.

However, the truth is that rabbits are not repelled by human scent and will not harm their babies because of it. Rabbits have a keen sense of smell, and they use scent to recognize their offspring.

In fact, the mother rabbit will lick her babies to transfer her own scent onto them, which helps to establish the bond between them. Rather than being bothered by human scent, rabbits can find comfort in the familiar scent of their caretaker, associating it with safety and care.

Reasons Why Baby Rabbits May Disappear

While the myth of rabbits eating babies due to human scent has been debunked, there are legitimate reasons why baby rabbits may disappear. It is important to understand these reasons in order to provide proper care and prevent any unnecessary worry.

One common reason why baby rabbits may disappear is that they have fallen out of the nest or hutch. Newborn rabbits, or kits, are blind and hairless, making them vulnerable to accidental falls.

If the nest or hutch is not adequately secured, the kits may wander off and become separated from their mother and littermates. As a precaution, it is important to regularly check the integrity of the nest or hutch to ensure the safety of the kits.

Another reason for the disappearance of baby rabbits is the presence of predators. Rabbits are prey animals, and their babies are particularly vulnerable to predator attacks.

If there are predators in the area, such as cats or wild animals, they may target the kits and take them away. It is important to create a secure and predator-proof environment for the rabbits, ensuring that they are protected from potential threats.

In some cases, the mother rabbit may also intentionally move her babies to a different location. This behavior is commonly observed in wild rabbits and is known as “translocation.” The mother may decide to relocate her babies if she believes that the current nesting area is unsafe or has been compromised.

This natural instinct aims to ensure the survival of the litter by finding a more secure location. Taking these factors into consideration, it becomes evident that the disappearance of baby rabbits is not necessarily a cause for alarm.

However, it is crucial to take appropriate measures to prevent harm and ensure the well-being of the kits.


Myths and misconceptions can often cloud our understanding of the natural behavior of rabbits and their babies. It is important to separate fact from fiction in order to provide appropriate care and protection for these adorable creatures.

By dispelling the myth of rabbits eating babies due to human scent and understanding the legitimate reasons why baby rabbits may disappear, we can create a safer and more informed environment for the rabbit family. In conclusion, debunking myths and misconceptions about rabbits and their babies is essential for providing proper care and understanding these adorable creatures.

Contrary to the myth, rabbits do not eat their babies due to human scent; instead, they find it comforting. Baby rabbits may disappear due to accidental falls, the presence of predators, or the mother’s instinct to relocate them.

By dispelling these misconceptions, we can create a safe environment for rabbits and ensure their well-being. Remember to provide a secure nesting area and take precautions to prevent harm.

Understanding the truth about rabbits and their babies allows us to appreciate their natural behavior and provide them with the care they deserve. Let’s continue to educate ourselves and spread accurate information about these delightful creatures in order to foster a more compassionate and informed approach to their care.

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