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Confusion About A Rabbit’s Sex

How do you tell if a rabbit is male or female?

Caroline Charland
Posted: September 28, 2014, 2:30 p.m. EDT

two rabbits sitting side by side
© Gina Cioli/I-5 Studio
It is very important to know the sex of your rabbits, so if you’re unsure ask a rabbit-savvy veterinarian or the operator of a local rabbit rescue.

Q: I got two baby bunnies from a friend’s litter about nine or 10 months ago. It looked as though both were females because no tubelike "penis" popped up when we looked at them to see what they were. Now they are at least 9 months old. I was just checking them the other day because I heard they will mature around that age (mix breeds) and the one I am not totally sure is female. It’s really difficult for me to tell because no penis pops out when I push down, but it looks different than the other female I have. They both also have nipples. If one was a male, would they have mated by now since they have been in the pen together all this time?

A: I suggest taking your rabbits to a rabbit-knowledge veterinarian, or a reputable rabbit rescue to sex the rabbits for you. It is important to spay or neuter your rabbits even if they are the same sex. 

Why is it a good idea to spay and neuter rabbits? Females have a chance of getting uterine cancer even at a young age, so by spaying you can prevent this. Also, rabbits are very hormonal when not spayed or neutered and won't use their litterbox as well, they may spray urine, too. Rabbits that are living together unaltered can pick on each other, sometimes causing nasty fights with terrible injuries.
 
Both male and female rabbits have nipples, so that is not a way to sex them. Rabbits can start breeding at 4 months of age, but just because there are no babies yet doesn't mean they are same-sex rabbits. I would suggest getting this done as soon as you can to prevent a litter being born.

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And check out:
Tips For Finding The Right Veterinarian For Your Small Animal Pet 
12 Common Rabbit Behaviors That May Puzzle You 
See more rabbit behavior Q&As
See rabbit health Q&As
See author bio for Caroline Charland

Posted: September 28, 2014, 2:30 p.m. EDT


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Reader Comments
It's easy to check if your rabbit is a male. When the bunny gets to be about 5 or 6 months old, the testicles will have likely descended and will be easy to check. It is possible that the testicles haven't descended yet but in my experience, by 6 months they usually have.
Craig, Goshen, CT
Posted: 10/1/2014 10:50:23 AM
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