Unfortunately, it is very difficult to tell if a rabbit is pregnant, however there are some signs a rabbit is pregnant, that you may look for (more on this later). Lets first discuss what is the most straightforward approach to tell if a rabbit is pregnant.
How To Tell If A Rabbit Is Pregnant
The most basic approach to tell if a rabbit is pregnant is to palpate (to feel the babies inside).
It is worth noting that in order to use this technique the rabbit should be pregnant at least 14 days.
If you have never palpated before, it can be quite tricky, what you will try to do is feel the little embryos inside the uterus. Try to follow these steps:
1. First, place the bunny on a flat surface looking toward you.
2. Then, hold the bunny firmly with your left hand.
3. With your right hand, reach up under her belly from the side. Make a “cup” with your fingers upwards (thumb on one side of rabbit, four fingers on the other side of the bunny, belly resting in the middle, palm of your hand).
4. Finally, with your fingers and thumb, gently squeeze her belly from just above the genitals right on up to just under her rib cage. Don’t be afraid to really dig in there, sometimes it’s really hard to feel them in there.
If the rabbit is pregnant you will feel large round “balls”. Easiest description of the feel of fetus in the womb is a grape. Feels firm, but slightly squishy and depending on how far along she is, it could even be that size.
It is worth noting that, it will be very hard to feel the babies if the rabbit has a small litter (2-3 babies).
If you are not comfortable with palpating, there are also other sings a rabbit is pregnant.
Signs a Rabbit is Pregnant
Although it is very difficult to tell if a rabbit is pregnant or not, there are some signs that you can watch for.
- Behavioral changes. Watch if she has major changes in her behavior. For example, if the rabbit was previously very easy to handle and it soddenly does not want to be handled at all. Or the other way around. This is a very good indicator that she might be pregnant.
- Changes of appetite. If the rabbit primarily eats hay and very little pellets, and suddenly she is eating all of her pellets.
- You may notice that your rabbit’s nipples become enlarged and red. Moreover, she may start licking the areas around her nipples to prepare for the babies.
- She has gathered hay or pulled fur in her hutch to make a nest, because she has an instinctual urge to do it.
- She has been digging more then often on the back of her cage.
- Another great indicator that will tell if a rabbit is pregnant is if the male rabbit does not want to re-breed her (assuming they are in the same cage). If they are separated, bring the male rabbit to her cage. If she wants nothing to do with breeding and he wants nothing to do with breeding her as well, most probably she is pregnant.
- Chewing a lot more then usual.
Signs Your Rabbit Will Give Birth Soon
The best sign that the rabbit is pregnant is if she start making a nest in her hutch. In most cases this would be 3-4 days before she gives a birth (the 27-29th day of pregnancy). Which is very late in the pregnancy. You cannot see this in the early days in the pregnancy.
How Long is a Rabbit Pregnant
The gestation period for female rabbits is around 31 days. But, generally speaking, rabbit pregnancy normally lasts between 28 and 33 days.
So, you should expect a litter that can have anywhere between 3 and 12 bunnies, anywhere between 28 and 33 days.
If your rabbit is pregnant, congratulations! Now, you need to be prepared for the newborn bunny babies.