Some basic dos and do nots when handling and sexing rabbits for the first time. There is not too much that can go wrong when attempting to determine the sex or gender of a rabbit,so long as you are gentle, however, I will draw your attention to a couple of important rabbit handling dos and do nots, which should be taken into consideration.
Handle pet rabbits very gently and quietly. Bunnies are easily scared and will struggle and kick when frightened which doesn't help in trying to determine their gender. Hold your rabbit firmly but gently around its body chest and shoulders and support its bottom so that it can not kick. Scared rabbits can kick or leap out of your hands if held loosely or incorrectly, resulting in injury to the rabbit e. Having one person hold the rabbit while another sexes it can be helpful.
Perform rabbit sexing or any rabbit examination on the floor or on a very low table e. This way, if the animal struggles and gets away, no injury will occur as a result of the animal falling from a great height.
Rest your rabbits on a clean towel on their backs or rumps holding them firmly so that they cannot kick, of course or supported firmly in your hands on their rumps to examine their genitals. Rabbit genitalia is more easily examined when the animal is sitting on its bottom or back.
Where possible, wait until baby rabbits are weaned over 6 weeks of age before trying to determine their gender. This will reduce the risk of the mother rabbit rejecting her newborn rabbit babies because of your smell.
Put baby rabbits back with their mother immediately if they become distressed from handling. If you have to handle and sex newborn rabbits, wear disposable gloves so you don't pass any diseases on to them and do so in a warm area and for no more than 5 minutes at a time so that they do not get cold and distressed. Wear disposable gloves if handling newly-acquired rabbits whose background history, where they came from and so on is unknown, particularly if they show any signs of skin sores, hair loss bald spots , scaly skin, snuffles, respiratory disease or diarrhea or if you already have healthy rabbits at home.
Rabbits can carry a range of diseases that are contagious to humans and other rabbits e. Allow rabbits to kick when handled. Vigorous kicking activity can snap a rabbit's spine! Hold rabbits by their ears! This is cruel and unnecessary. Handle newborn rabbits under 3 weeks of age if you can avoid it. Mother rabbits especially new mothers can become uncertain of their newborn rabbit kittens kits if you handle them too much and get your human smell all over them.
This can potentially lead to the mother rabbit rejecting her rabbit babies. Handle young rabbits if they are still suckling not yet weaned and their mother is clearly distressed by you handling them. Handle newborn rabbits especially unfurred kittens for long periods of time.
They can become cold away from the nest. Hold rabbits loosely or leave them unattended on elevated surfaces. They will dash off a high table or bench top if frightened, leading to severe injury. How to sex rabbits - is your rabbit a male buck or a female doe? The best way to determine the sex of male and female rabbits is to rest the rabbits ontheir backs or bottoms on a towel or support them cradled on their rumps held firmly in your hands at all times in order to examine their genitals.
It does help to have someone hold the rabbit for you while you examine its genitals. There are several obvious differences that exist between male and female rabbits, which you can look out for when sexing rabbits.
Important note - only keep bunnies restrained on their backs for a short period of time: Keeping rabbits restrained on their backs for too long can be distressing to them because, beinga prey animal species, they will feel as though they are being held down by a predator and unable to get away. Examine the rabbit's groin region for the presence of testicles: The scrotal sac or scrotum is a bulging out-pouching of skin that contains thetesticles testes of male animals.
In most animals, this scrotum is a distinctly obvious, bulging "bag" that is located somewhere between the anus and the penis of the male individual. In male rabbits, however, the scrotum is not the single, bulbous, "pouchof testicles" sitting just above the penis, as is often seen in males of most other animal species.
In male rabbits, the testicles are huge: Instead of sitting just below the anus, encasedwithin a singular, discrete, shared scrotal bag, each of the male rabbit's testicles has its own individual scrotal sac, which is positioned alongside the penis region one testicle to each side of the penis. These individual scrotal sacs are generally hairless or only very thinly-furred ,pendulous, purplish-colored and very easy to spot see the sexing rabbits pictures below. Testicles are the most obvious structures to look out for when sexing rabbits - males have testicles and females do not.
Sexing rabbits picture 1: This is an image of a male rabbit's genital region, taken fromafar. The rabbit has been photographed positioned on its back, which is why the tail of the rabbit is positioned towards the lower edge of the image. The rabbit's back feet are locatedtowards the right and left sides of the image.
Sexing rabbits picture 2: This is the same male rabbit photo as that shown in image 1 except that it has beenlabeled. The rabbit's tail, feet and abdomen belly have all been labeled in green.
The genital region of the male rabbit is the region marked out by the pink box: All of the following male rabbit photos sexing rabbits pictures contain close up images of the male rabbit's genitals.
They are all close-up photos of the reproductive structures contained withinthe pink box indicated in image 2. Sexing rabbits pictures 3 and 4: This is a close-up image of the male rabbit's genital region the regionoutlined with the pink box in image 2.
The region of puffy, white fur that the rabbit sexing technician see fingers in image is holding onto is where the rabbit's penis is located. The testicles of the rabbit, contained withinthe thin-skinned scrota the purple, sparsely-haired structures , are situated just above forwards of and to eitherside of the rabbit's penis region. These testicles are labeled in rabbit sexing picture 4. The male rabbit's testicles are located between the penis and belly of the animal and not between the anus and penis of the animal as is seen in males of many other animal species.
This unusual anatomical placementcan also be seen in many male marsupials e. Sexing rabbits pictures 5 and 6: These rabbit sexing images contain close-up photosof the male rabbit's testicles.
The individual scrotal sacs are generally hairless or only very thinly-furred ,pendulous, purplish-coloured and very easy to spot.
Rabbit sexing pictures 7 and 8: In this image, the rabbit's penis region the region of puffed-outwhite fur discussed under images 3 and 4 has been pushed to the right, revealing the rabbit'sleft groin area the region of pelvic skin located just inside of the left hind leg.
This groin regionis where the testicle of the rabbit left testicle - labeled likes to hang. In contrast, the groin areais sparsely-furred and smooth contains no testes in female rabbits see rabbit sexing images, below. The prepuce penis-sheath of the male rabbit is also visible in these images.
It is the pointy, pink structure with the round hole in the end poking out of the white fur. The prepuce which contains the rabbit's penis has beenlabeled as "penis" on image 8. Sexing rabbits author's note: If one of the bulging, purple scrotal sacs lateral to next to the penis region is grasped, it is normally possible to feel a firm, smooth testicle sliding about just under the scrotal skin.
This testicle moves freely back and forth within the scrotal skin the testis is not locked into place within the scrotal sac like that of the dog, cat and horse and it cansometimes be retracted up into the male rabbit's abdomen at will, making it hard to feel! The inability to palpate a testicle in a suspect-male rabbit'sscrotal region does not necessarily rule out that rabbit as being a male. Rabbits are sometimes able to deliberately retract their testicles up into their abdominal cavities where they can not be palpated.
Waiting until the animal is relaxed is much more guarantee of a rabbit's testicles being able to be palpated. It should be stated that the male rabbit's pendulous scrotal skin does usually remain hangingin place in the animal's groin region, even if the male rabbit's testicles are retracted andunable to be palpated.
With practice, experienced rabbit handlers should be able to identify thispendulous, floppy scrotal skin as male in nature, even if no testicles can be felt. Sexing rabbits picture 9: This is an image of a female rabbit's genital region, taken fromafar. Sexing rabbits picture This is the same female rabbit photograph as that shown in image 9 except that it has beenlabeled. The rabbit's tail and feet have been labeled in blue. The genital regionof the female rabbit is the region marked out by the yellow box: The female rabbit's vulva vaginal opening is clearly visible in the center of this region theregion delineated by the yellow box - it is the pink, slit-like structure situated in the centreof a bulging patch of fur, just beneath the animal's tail the region of puffy fur located just underneath the rabbit handler's fingers.
All of the following female rabbit photos contain close up images of the female rabbit's genitalia. They are all close-up photographs of the reproductive structures contained withinthe yellow box indicated in image Rabbit sexing pictures 11 and In this image, the female rabbit's vulval region the region ofwhite fur discussed in images 9 and 10 has been pushed to the right, revealing the doe rabbit'sleft groin area the region of pelvic skin located just inside of the left hindleg - labeled as inguinal regionon image This groin region is sparsely-furred and smooth contains no testes in female rabbits.
The vulva of the female rabbit is also visible in these images. It is the pink openingwith the vertical, slit-like hole in the end, positioned amidst the white fur. The vulva has been labeledon image Rabbit sexing pictures 13 and This is a photo of a female rabbit's belly immediately after the completionof a rabbit spay procedure.
The spay incision is the small line of sutures running down the rabbit's belly labeled in image 14 as "spay wound". This image was included because, since the rabbit's abdomenhad to be clipped shaved in order for the surgical procedure to be performed, it enables the femalerabbit's groin region to be seen very clearly a view that is unobstructed by the presence of fur. You should be able to see that there are no testicles present in the female rabbit's groin region.
Rabbit sexing pictures 15 and