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How to Tell the Gender of a Rabbit

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Have you ever tried gendering a cat? What about a rabbit? Even though the two aren’t in the same family or order, they do share some things in common. And for this, it’s regarding how difficult it is to sex either one when they’re young. But I’m only going to cover how to tell the gender of a rabbit.

A female rabbit is called a doe. And a male is referred to as a buck. While baby rabbits are called kittens. Just like baby cats. Females can hit maturity anywhere from 3 to 8 months. Because it’s dependent on the rabbit’s breed. Also, smaller breeds mature faster than larger breeds.

How to Tell the Gender of a Rabbit

Kittens, or baby rabbits, don’t have any external indicators, like birds, to let you know if they’re male or female. Just like cats. And females and males can physically look alike. So how can you tell gender? The only way, it is reported, is by inspecting the genitals. So, in order to tell the gender of a rabbit

  • First, place the rabbit with his/her tummy up, in order to examine the genitals easily. However be gentle, because rabbits are prey animals. And they’re naturally scared.
Bunny on its back
Watercolor of bunny on its back, courtesy of Paul Smith

Get some help. But don’t pick the rabbit up. Instead, put it on a cushion or a low table to prevent any accidents if it tries to get away. Also, if the rabbit doesn’t cooperate by being face-up, then you can achieve similar results if it sits on its tail. Try not to let them kick. And don’t hold them by their ears.

*If you’re gendering a kitten, then wear rubber or latex gloves so you don’t pass on any diseases. Or your smell, which could cause the kitten’s mother to reject it. And when you’re finished inspecting the rabbit, let it go. They easily get stressed if held against their will.

  • When you’re ready, to know how to tell the gender of a rabbit, find the anus opening and genitals. In both females and males, the anus will be near the tail. If you have a female, as you follow the tail, near the abdomen, you’ll notice an oval hole. That’s the vulva, which indicates your rabbit is a female.
  • But in males, the opening is a little further from the anus. And there’s a clear separation. Also, the space is more spherical.

Some people recommend applying pressure on the surrounding edges of the hole to extrude the male rabbit’s member. However it could hurt him if you don’t know what you’re doing.

  • You can also check if you can see the testicles. A male rabbit’s should be easy to spot since they’re hairless and of a purple hue.

Some people claim that by examining the genitalia of rabbits, that females and males have very recognizable features on their bodies. Females are supposed to have V-shaped, or a mountaintop, appearance which can be sticking out some, while males have 2 oblong testicles above their genitalia.

gray dwarf lop eared bunny

However I don’t agree. It’s not always so cut and dry. Take, for instance, our first dwarf lop eared rabbit, Mabel. The breeder told us he was a female. And we grew to love our female lop. We spent months thinking he was a ‘she.’ But after we got Ricky, our 2nd dwarf lop, Mabel chased and harassed him all the time. So we decided to get them both fixed. However, since Mabel was older, and he was causing problems, he would go first. Then it would be Ricky’s turn. And that was when we learned the truth about Mabel.

Hannah dropped Mabel off at the exotic animal vet. But not long after, she received a phone call, and was asked if they had the right bunny. And if so, did we still want them to proceed with Mabel’s alteration. She was momentarily confused. So they proceeded to explain that once the sedation was administered, Mabel’s testicles descended. Which meant that Mabel was never a ‘she.’ He was always a he.

We learned that this is actually common if a rabbit is scared. That they can actually hide their testicles. Or gender, if you will. So that if you look at the genitalia, when the rabbit is scared, then the male rabbit will be hard to distinguish from a female. Now we could have at any time checked Mabel ourselves, once he was relaxed and familiar with us, to see whether he was a female. But we trusted the word of the breeder. She was the one who did this for a living. Thus we figured she would know. And when it came to Ricky, she was spot on. I guess Mabel didn’t want anyone to ever know he was a boy.

Two dwarf lop eared bunnies on a tiled floor
Ricky and Mabel.

Obviously we were quite shocked by this discovery. And then we wondered if Ricky was in fact a female. We sort of hoped so. But after Mabel was home and healed, Ricky and Mabel started fighting. And fighting, with neither looking too happy about their situation. Which is a post for another day.

I hope this answered any questions you might have about how to tell the gender of a rabbit. But if you still aren’t sure about your rabbit, then you can always make an appointment with an exotic animal veterinarian. Especially if you get another rabbit.

And thanks for stopping by! Feel free to comment or ask questions.

By KS

I breed pure Black Ameraucana chickens and Easter Eggers that are Black Ameraucana mixed with either Cuckoo Maran or Barred Rock. And I donate eggs to people or organizations in need.

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