While roaming around on your lawn you hurt your ankle on a small hole under your feet which you missed before. How is there a hole? You realize that the culprit can only be your pet rabbit!
That small creature likes to dig around all the time. But why does it dig holes? Is it a coping mechanism for their random aggression?
This may be because your rabbit is pregnant. This isn’t unusual for rabbits as wild rabbits usually dig holes before their babies are born.
But why would a rabbit dig a hole? And what does it have to do with your pet rabbit? Read on to find the answers to your questions.
Do Rabbits Dig Holes When They Are Pregnant? (Reasons)
Rabbits do dig holes when they are pregnant. And since female rabbits can conceive at the age of 12 months up to 4 years old, and also since they can have babies at any time of the year, you can expect this to be a not so rare occurrence.
But if that is so, how do you tell if your rabbit is pregnant? Well, there are several ways you can tell if your rabbit is pregnant:
- They usually build a nest for their baby bunny by using straws or hay.
- Mothers can do anything to save their children, and this applies to a soon-to-be mother rabbit as well. They pull out their fur to use it as a blanket just to keep their baby bunnies warm.
- They might become aggressive and also may refuse to be petted.
- To get some privacy and for the instinct to keep their babies safe they might dig holes or a burrow in which they would give birth.
It’s not at all abnormal that a pregnant rabbit will dig a hole for the sake of their child’s safety and their own privacy. They might find comfort in their own little space. And so, during such a time, they need extra care, nutritious food, and clean water.
Rabbits Love Digging
Wild rabbits dig all the time for many reasons. If a domestic rabbit starts digging, it must be embracing its instincts. This innate desire to dig is also inbred into your pet.
Here are some reasons why your pet rabbit might be digging holes:
- A place to escape: Most mammals climb trees or higher places as a way to escape from danger but it’s harder for a rabbit to climb such heights so they prefer to go underground.
- Safety first: Like any other prey animal, they have the instinct to be safe from predators even if they are domesticated. So they like to eat or sleep underground in their burrow where they safety for themselves.
- Protection from natural elements: It’s their “emergency” shelter. They will go into their burrows when it’s raining or snowing as it is a completely safe space for them.
Do Rabbits Burrow To Give Birth?
There are plenty of reasons why rabbits dig holes. It can be a sign of their safety & privacy, or to use it as a warren to keep their babies safe.
When a rabbit gets pregnant, they also get mood swings like other mothers which makes them act aggressively and be defensive.
They also want privacy, so they might find it the other way they can. And that is to dig a hole underground to give birth which not only gives them privacy but also provides safety for the baby bunnies that the pregnant rabbit will give birth to.
Why Do Female Rabbits Dig More Than Males?
After doing some research, experts concluded that female rabbits dig more than male rabbits. Here are some reasons why:
- Female rabbits hump more than males and also are more territorial. Therefore they will dig a hole or burrow to claim their dominance or to claim their territory.
- Not only wild female rabbits but also domestic females dig a hole to give birth to their young ones. Digging holes or you could say nesting is the essential part of this process.
- Even in the wild, it’s females who dig for their rabbit colonies, and this instinct is carried on to their domesticated brethren.
- Females love privacy. It is their need as well as their priority. They are less social and outgoing which makes them want to spend their time alone and safe. Digging holes for females is the equivalent of giving them a safe space.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do rabbits bury their babies?
Rabbits don’t bury their babies. They make a secure place for their babies to stay and be safe from predators so they simply close off the entrance to the nest.
The mother rabbit will go back a couple of times to check on her babies and to take care of them.
The mother rabbit takes this risk so that there should not be any danger of suffocation by opening the entrance and then resealing it
How do baby rabbits breathe underground?
Mother rabbits like to keep their kits underground in their hand-created “warehouse” aka warren.
Typically the newborn kits are surrounded by fur or food materials. Soon-to-be mother rabbits usually pull their fur to keep their upcoming babies warm.
Since these small newborns are buried in soil by their mother for their safety, the dirt is loose right on top of them, and between the dirt, the air pockets are enough.
Mother rabbits usually cover their holes with a thin layer of soil or the nest created by straws or hay, to keep the predators away.
Moreover, the mother comes to check on them from time to time, so she digs up again for feeding.
What does it mean when a rabbit starts to dig holes?
There are several reasons why rabbits dig holes:
In domestic rabbits, it is a trait that can be found in them, that is leftover from pre-domestication.
Sometimes they find themselves comfortable and safe in the underground holes.
With wild rabbits, the story here is a little tilted toward their “survival”. They will dig holes so they can live in them and hide from predators since they are prey animals. Moreover, they also keep their babies safe from their predators by keeping them in these holes.
How long do baby rabbits stay in their burrows?
Usually, they stay in their burrows for 3 to 4 weeks. After that, they start hopping out from their burrows. But before that, they like to hang out inside their holes only.
It’s nature’s rule that a mother will fight anything for their child. Animals are more defensive and protective towards their kids, and here we are talking about bunnies, which are very smart creatures.
They are well aware of the fact that they are prey animals so they not only have to save themselves but also their kids. It’s the instinct that both wild as well as domestic rabbits dig a hole or burrow for some same as well as different reasons.
Wild rabbits do this for their survival, they dig a hole to protect their children, and give them proper nutrition. They have to distract predators and have to save their kids.
Meanwhile, domestic rabbits do this by instinct. Sometimes their owner provides them their digging box or nest to give birth but they usually find their old way and dig underground to give birth and also they find their comfort and privacy.
It is not necessary that if your rabbit is pregnant then only it’s digging a hole, always remember it’s their “instinct”!
So, there is nothing to get panic about if you couldn’t find your rabbit, check your lawn, it must be “living its best life” underground in a small hole!