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Ern no, you won’t have to worry about cleaning up after your rabbit during her….time of the month. Because she doesn’t have a time of the month. Or maybe it’s always her time of the month. Anyway.
Rabbits don’t have periods – they are induced ovulators
Although, I do think scientist should be working towards a system where humans are induced ovulators too, so we can, I dunno, take a pill, and BOOM we can get pregnant as and when we wish.
We’re pretty sure that it’s the act of coitus (wow, never thought that’d be something I write) that induces ovulation in rabbits, but scientists used to l think that simply being near an unfixed male rabbit could produce spontaneous ovulation in female rabbits. This seems a bit unlikely though 0 in the wild rabbits are ALWAYS next to each other. They’d be constantly ovulating.
Why does my rabbit have red urine?
I believe that the glorious technicolour pees some rabbits produce is why many people believe rabbits have periods. They don’t.
Rabbit pee is weird stuff. It varies a lot on colour and consistency. Health issues like bladder sludge can definitely cause thick urine, but the pees rabbits produce to mark their territory are pretty viscous for pee.
My, what a lovely topic for a blog post.
Rabbit pee can be a red if they’ve eaten something with red pigment. Ever eaten beetroot, then gone to the bathroom and thought you were dying? Yeah, the same thing happens to rabbits. If they eat certain foods, their pee can go all kinds of weird colours.
Do rabbits have a mating season?
Nope. they’re up for it all the time.
In the wild, rabbits tend to have a mating season that lasts from March to late summer, but this is NOT the case for domestic rabbits.
The reason that animals have a mating season is to ensure that both the mother and the babies have enough food to keep them alive.
If a female rabbit has babies and there isn’t any food around, she’ll eat them, which sounds harsh, but it makes sense.
No food = no milk, so her babies will starve to death, and so might she.
This makes zero sense when it comes to keeping the bloodline going. Better to eat the babies, so that at least the mother can stay alive, and hopefully mate again in the future. Anyone read Snuff by Terry Pratchett? He explains this concept really well. Read it anyway, he’s an incredible man.
But whilst eating babies does make sense (again, not a sentence I’d ever planned to write), it makes even more sense to just…not have babies in winter. Hence the mating season.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to domestic rabbits, who are kept warm and fed all year round, and don’t have the instincts to stay away from each other in winter.
Do rabbits go into heat?
No, but also yes.
Whilst does don’t go into heat the same way, for example, dogs do, they definitely get hormonal.
Once your rabbit reaches sexual maturity, she may change a LOT in demeanour, due to the influx of hormones. Male rabbits do the same thing, but they’re more into spraying and smelling, whereas does become, er, mean as hell.
Rabbits can reach sexual maturity when they’re as young as three months old, so if you have a pair of rabbits of the opposite sex, keep them separate until they’re spayed and neutered, and only reintroduce them when they’re totally infertile, which can be around 6 weeks after the operation.
Does spaying a doe stop them from going into heat?
Spaying a rabbit can COMPLETELY change their personality. Female rabbits are notoriously anti-social compared to the boys (obvs this is a generalisation, but unspayed females can be MEAN).
The urge to reproduce is incredibly strong in rabbits. They don’t live very long, and their short lives (in the wild) are hard and fraught with danger. If they don’t have a strong urge to reproduce, rabbits would die out pretty quickly.
They don’t really think about anything other than eating and reproducing. As you can imagine, this is pretty stressful, and this stress often manifests itself in the form of aggression.
So if you have a rabbit spayed, they have no desire to reproduce. All those hormones are no longer coursing through their body. They only care about eating, and when you provide them with ample hay, they don’t need to worry about that
Do rabbits experience menopause?
We don’t believe that rabbits go through menopause. In fact, it’s thought that only humans and wolves are ‘designed’ to live after they’re no longer able to reproduce.
Apparently, there’s evidence that gorillas experience it too. All instances of menopause seem to be in animals that practice multi-generational parenting, unlike rabbits who wean their kids and then boot them out on their own.
Menopause is loosely defined as being the programmed end of fertility in a female rabbit.
After doing a lot of reading, I’m kind of of the opinion that menopause is something that probably will happen eventually, it’s just that most animals don’t live a long enough life to experience it.
As a rabbits get older, their abilty to produce young will wane, as it does in most animals BUT rabbits seem to have an in-built self-destruct button in their uterus, and once they reach a certain age, they get uterine cancer and die.
It’s thought that 90% of rabbits will get uterine cancer if they’re spayed.
NINETY PER CENT.
It really does seem that mother nature has no interest in rabbits once they’re too old to breed.
If we could somehow reduce the chances of rabbits getting uterine cancer, so that they could live a long time whilst being spayed, we would probably notice that they’d become less fertile over the age of say, seven, but for now, we’ll just spay ’em.
Why is my female rabbit humping my other rabbit?
In my experience, female rabbit are FAR more free and easy with the humping than male ones.
Humping is usually a sign of dominance, not sexual activity. Daisy is a nightmare – she LOVES to hump Holly, despite being half the size and pretty disabled. Luckily Holly takes it with good grace, probably because she’s aware that she’ll ALWAYS be dominant. I mean, she’s the mum (and she’s bigger). My mum is certainly the dominant one in our family.
How much does a female rabbit’s behaviour change after being spayed?
This is a tricky one.
On one hand, I don’t want to discourage you from getting your rabbit spayed, because it’s so important for their health, but I also don’t want to give you false hope.
Some rabbits, and it’s often females, are just…aresholes. It’s actually something I quite like about them – I just love when something so cute is so fiesty.
Some rabbits go into the operating theatre an arsehole, and come out an angel. All their bad behaviour was 100% caused by hormones and they emerge a different (nicer) rabbit.
But not always. Sometimes (especially in older rabbits) they’ve learned the behaviour, and it’s now governed by habits and experience as well as hormones.
Please, please, don’t let this put you off having your rabbit spayed.
Rabbits are pretty new to the whole longevity game, because the way we keep them has changed so dramatically in the last 20 years. When I was a kid you’d struggle to find a vet that would spay a rabbit and I’m only 34.
Nowadays it’s pretty common, and where I live in the UK, most vet practices will have at least one rabbit savvy vet.