Recently, I got an interesting query by email. This bunny pet owner is really super depressed by seeing the bun parents eating their own cute little babies. So, I decided to talk about it in this article.
Seeing a creature eating its own offspring seems super horrendous. It is not part of some Hollywood fiction, but in reality, when you see your cute pet bunny indulging in this horrific act, it might be enough to shatter all your trust. However, if you have not seen something like that, you may not believe that your cute puffy bun can actually eat its babies.
Well, it is not only accurate but has also happened quite a number of times. However, understanding the perspectives from the parent bunny’s side will help to sort the matter.
So, in this article, we will discuss all the possible reasons behind rabbits manifesting such behaviour. Moreover, how can you prevent rabbits from eating their own offspring?
Yes, Rabbits sometimes do eat their babies due to a number of circumstances. But these all are hypotheses or purported reasons. We cannot surely say that these are only the events for the strange behaviour of mother rabbits.
Reasons Of Rabbits Eating Their Babies
Some of the reasons are discussed below :
- Rabbit’s diet lacks essential nutrients.
- The mother rabbit has detected something wrong with the baby bunny.
- To continue the breed.
- Becoming possessive over territory
- Early breading
Now I’m going to talk about all these points briefly for your better understanding
Lack of essentials for pregnant rabbit:
If your rabbit lacks essential nutrients, proteins, calcium in the diet. Your rabbit will fulfil its basic needs by eating its babies.
Mother Rabbit Detecting Something Wrong With Babies:
If the mother rabbit detects something wrong such as weird behaviour, poor health, or any other reason for the baby.
She will kill her babies to prevent the growth of the unhealthy one. So, in fact, killing it ensures the health of the race and better competence. It has protected it from all the difficulties that can happen to a handicapped bunny in future. It’s an instinctive way to eliminate sick baby bunnies.
Not only in bunnies, but this behaviour is also very common in other species, such as finches.
This may be due to active deeds. Sometimes the mother rabbit divides their baby bunnies into two groups. She will feed either of the group. The other group, because of neglection will die.
To Continue The Breed:
If the cage is all filled up with litter. In this case, the male rabbit will leave the cage. So, to prevent the male rabbit from leaving, the mother will kill all the babies. Then she will continue the breed with the male.
When she doesn’t want any competition, or she is possessive about her status in the hutch.
Aside from all the above mentioned reasons, there is a strong myth too which goes like that:
Rabbits tend to kill their babies if you touch them
Will The Rabbit Kill Her Babies If You Touch Them..?
No, it’s a myth. In fact, it’s a most popular myth. A mother rabbit will never kill or avoid her babies if bunnies have the scent of humans. Female rabbits do not associate your smell with their babies.
There might be a possibility that you can damage the eggs or babies as the baby bunnies are quite sensitive and fragile. While holding or touching, bunnies can get injuries or can die. Just cover the babies with a cloth and try to avoid touching them.
Do Baby Rabbits Survive To Own Their Own Without A Mother…?
Usually, a rabbit’s baby requires proper care in the beginning. In the wild, rabbits live on their own after 2 to 3 weeks of birth. So, if you are taking care of a baby bunny in the infant age, there is a possibility that he/she can survive.
Do Male Rabbit Eats Their Babies..?
Male rabbit rarely eats their babies. As father rabbits are not much affectionate towards their babies. So this is difficult, rather impossible, to keep the babies and father rabbit in the same hutch. The death of baby bunnies is due to the following reasons:
- Territorial basis
- Father rabbits are unable to feed their baby bunnies.
- If he gets the chance to show dominance, he will surely avail that opportunity.
- Sometimes a father rabbit may accidentally kill the baby bunny. This is possible when you have a small kit for the rabbits. If this situation happens, it is high time for you to have a bigger house for the rabbit family. In this way, the father rabbit will not accidentally step on the baby bunny.
POINT TO BE NOTED:
In short, rabbits are not carnivorous animals. This event happens quite rarely and is most likely when the rabbit has given birth to her first litter. She gets confused and is unable to take care of them. Rabbit eats her babies to avoid any further attack of the predator.
Include Alfalfa in the diet of the rabbit during her pregnancy period. She becomes weak after giving birth. If you have not introduced Alfalfa, she will just simply want to eat placenta, but this can result in eating a baby by mistake.
Ways To Prevent Rabbits From Eating Their Eggs:
Providing Them With A Secure Environment:
Usually, the mother rabbits eat their babies because they feel threatened by a predator. When a rabbit has given birth to a group of babies, there is a high possibility that she has another litter.
So, the best option for them is to eat their babies and remove all the traces of existing children so no one can attack. The rabbit will give birth and save the next generation as she is unable to save her children during pregnancy.
By providing them with a secure environment and gaining your rabbit’s trust, you can avoid this event. Your rabbit will feel safe. She will have trust in you that you can protect her and baby bunnies.
- Have small holes for them to hide.
- Keep some decorative items for them to hide.
- Place the kit in a non-moist or less polluted environment.
- Keep the kit in a darker place.
Keep The Babies In A Separate Kit:
If you see any attack of the rabbit towards her children. Take precautionary measures to eradicate this event. Make a separate nesting box for the baby bunnies. Avoid their interaction with the rabbit. But expose the bunnies to their mother at least once a day so that she can feed her babies.
Provide Her Proper Food:
This situation also happens when your rabbit lacks a healthy diet as the rabbits get weak after giving birth. Provide her with good quality food that is rich in terms of proteins, calcium and essential nutrients. In this way, the rabbit’s urge for food will decrease, and she will not eat her babies.
Monitor Her Continuously:
Keep a check on the mother rabbit if you feel a weird behaviour or feel that an eating incident might occur. Separate the mother from her babies to avoid devastation.
Sometimes the rabbit gets stressed after giving birth. Put some toys for your rabbit to gain her attention. In this way, she will be distracted by her babies. Some breeders say that by providing them with toys, you can entertain them, thus reducing stress.
Don’t Like Breeding:
This can also happen if you are stressing your pet rabbit. She doesn’t want to breed. When you keep forcing your rabbit to breed, she can eat her babies as a result out of aggression.
“So, Don’t force them to breed!”
Avoid breeding in rabbits before the age of 6 months. She is not mature enough to take care of her litter.
Shower Them With Love:
You should deal with your pet rabbit with love and affection during and after the pregnancy. In this way, the mother will understand that she has a separate status and will not be replaced by the next generation.
Simply you can say by doing this; you are decreasing the probability of territorial fights. This will reduce the jealousy among themselves and will give a chance for the baby bunnies to survive.
Eating babies by rabbits is not a part of normal behaviour. Instead of grossing out or disowning your pet, try to learn its situation. You may then help it out by following our above mentioned simple tips.
I hope this article helped you in solving the mystery behind it! In case of any further queries, you may comment down or contact us. We would be happy to help.
I am a graduate of a veterinary university. Dealing with all the kinds of pets from the dawn to dusk, it’s like understanding their language. That is the best time ever, I must say!
Writing has always been my orphenadrine. I love to share my experience and talk about the most common issues people have been facing with their pets. My writing career began in 2015. I aimed to work for pets to share my experience and make pet humans relation a lot better. I usually talk about the most significant or recurrent cases of the day. During my practice at pet centre, I face a lot of questions by pet owners. Moreover, I also own a variety of pets myself including different species of mammals, birds and reptiles.
Therefore, I have decided to educate all the pet owners about their little friends who can’t talk the way we do. Understanding what they are telling us is all we need to do. And most of us fail to perceive.
So, I am here to serve the purpose. Let’s help each other in better understanding the needs, behaviours, and problems of our best friends with the best possible solutions!