Rabbit Focus

How Do Rabbits Attract Mates?

Pet rabbits in captivity don’t actually have to go to great lengths just to attract mates. This work is mainly done by default if a pair is living together. The breeder can also do most of the work. Breeders choose the pairs to mate based on their preferred breed characteristics and genetics.

How Do Rabbits Attract Mates?

However, things are different for rabbits in the wild? How do rabbits attract mates when they are in their natural habitat?

Wild rabbits have to do a lot of things just to woo prospective mates. Read on below to learn more about the mating process in rabbits.

Rabbits Attract Mates Through the Mating Dance

Before the conception of a litter, the adult rabbits undergo a quite interesting mating ritual that allows them to attract and choose a mate.

A female and male rabbit also called a doe and a buck respectively will perform some kind of dance where the buck will chase the doe until she stops and faces the buck, boxing him using her front paws.

The dance continues until one of the two leaps directly into the air. The other rabbit also leaps into the air to complete the ritual and signal that the mating can now happen.

How Do Rabbits Mate?

Even though there might be differences among rabbit breeds when it comes to sexual development, the process of mating is often similar for all species of rabbits.

The mating and courtship will vary, however, between domestic and wild rabbits, and as mentioned earlier, the human guardians or breeders control the former. But the general mating ritual in rabbits happens through the following steps:

  1. The male rabbit will initiate the approach the moment he registers the female.
  2. The male rabbit may smell the female rabbit, specifically the anogenital area. The same thing may also be done by the female.
  3. After they are done smelling each other, they might move around the circle or just stay still.
  4. The male will then run around the female until he can mark her. It will involve passing over the chin of the female and sometimes, the male may even urinate on the female a bit.
  5. When the female is receptive enough, she will now encourage mounting by lying down. On the other hand, when the female is not that receptive, she might just run away or sometimes, even display aggression.
  6. The male rabbit will then mount the female rabbit for several seconds with some quick rhythmic pelvic movements.
  7. The male will then bite the female’s neck and hold her flanks using his front legs.
  8. The male will then ejaculate in the final movement, emitting noise and dropping beside the female.
  9. When the rabbits stay together, there is a possibility for the mating process to be repeated.

When Do Rabbits Reach Sexual Maturity?

Since rabbits are among those animals that are sexually precocious, they reach their sexual maturity at a relatively early age. It occurs around 4 to 6 months old. The specific length of time it takes for a rabbit to reach its sexual maturity is dependent on its sex and breed. Male rabbits often become mature much later compared to females. Some rabbit breeds may also reach their sexual maturity longer than others.

Female and male domestic rabbits both have a life expectancy of approximately 8 to 10 years. The size may also play some bearing because dwarf rabbits are believed to have a bit longer lifespan than others. Females and males alike can also reproduce during their lifespan. However, it might already become more difficult for older females and may even put a serious strain on their overall health.

Sterilization is also recommended for both female and male rabbits in captivity. Even though you can always separate females and males, the speed with which these animals can mate only needs that you have to be extra careful when they are just close to each other.

The good news is that sterilization may also have other benefits for rabbits. Bunnies have an increased rate of uterine tumors. Since the spaying process gets rid of the uterus, it should reduce the possibility of developing the condition to 0%.

While hormones dictate the need to mate among rabbits, they can also cause aggression as well as other behavioral issues. Sterilization can cut back such nuisance behaviors. When a rabbit is unsterilized, it can lead to confrontations with fellow rabbits, create stress, and affect their quality of life in general. If you don’t like the idea of sterilizing your rabbits, it is recommended to look for suitable spots for rearing the baby rabbits or kits.

How Many Times Can Rabbits Mate Per Day?

A male rabbit can mate several times in just one day. A certain study observed the number of copulations that male rabbits had over 8 hours. The males were divided into groups, and it was discovered that throughout this period, they had around 5 to 40 copulations.

Although the researchers weren’t able to identify the frequency of the ejaculation, it was registered in another study that rabbits can have up to 6 ejaculations in 30 minutes. The first ejaculation occurs 19 seconds after the buck is presented with the doe. It only shows that the rabbits are not just fast. Males also have the potential of impregnating several females within a short period.

Heat Cycle in Rabbits

Just like most mammals, the ovulation cycle or estrous cycle, or when female rabbits are considered to be in heat, determines the mating times.

Rabbits have somewhat unusual ovulation. This cycle doesn’t only take place after the rabbits have mated. This is the reason why female rabbits that are already sexually mature are regarded to be in what can be considered permanent estrus. It means that they are always ready to mate.

Since rabbits are sexually active all year long, their behavioral issues concerning sexual activity always manifest.

The following are the symptoms of being in heat among female and male rabbits alike:

  • Aggression
  • Destruction of objects
  • Excessive biting of the hutch
  • Marking with urine
  • Nervousness

And with that, we officially end this blog post. But before you go, can you do us a solid and spread the love (or laughter) by sharing this on your social media? Who knows, maybe we might even find someone who can relate to our content and benefit from it... Wink