This week I collected a male rabbit that was needing rehomed so I could take him to one of our Rabbit Foster Carers.Simba is one of three rabbits his previous owner was keeping.The owner believed the other two rabbits to be female (one was the mother of the other, Simba being the father).The three rabbits were all of Lionhead decent, although I suspect significant cross-breeding to be part of the mix too.On pressing the owner for details as to why he was certain the other two were female, he advised he had made assumptions based on which ones from the litter had a mane: the assumption being mane equated to males and vice-versa.
Sadly, itâ€™s not as easy to tell as that, and on investigating for myself we established that the younger rabbit was indeed a male rabbit.As he was reaching the 3 months mark (we believe) we immediately separated the baby from his mother.
On the back of this, then, I thought it may be worth trying to describe how you can tell the gender of your rabbit.
Sadly, it is very difficult to tell when the rabbits are very young.As their â€œbitsâ€ are so small, they can look VERY similar.As a male matures, which can be anywhere between 6 weeks and 12 weeks, things start to become a little more obvious.My description below then assumes that we are dealing with very young rabbits, and even experts in this field can make the odd mistake!
The only way to tell means you are going to have to get â€œdown thereâ€ and have a very close look.
Hold your rabbit very carefully and try to make sure that they are as relaxed as possible.The process is much easier if you hold your rabbit in your lap and carefully turn them onto the back with their head pointing down towards your body and their bottom facing away from your body.
Using your hand, gently draw their fur/skin away from their genitals to reveal them and as you do so gently press downwards.This will cause their genitals to â€œpop outâ€.Note, that both male & female rabbits genitals will â€œpop-outâ€ and appear almost phallic like, so donâ€™t assume at this stage that you have a male.
The trick here is to look at the shape of the tip.The pictures below shows you what you are like to see.
As I said, sexing a rabbit isnâ€™t easy and if you are at all in any doubt donâ€™t risk it.Have your rabbit checked by an experienced vet to confirm.Please donâ€™t trust a pet shop sales person as they often are not trained correctly on sexing a rabbit: we hear of many cases of unexpected litters as a result of someone having been sold a female that turned out to be male.
Simba was separated from his buddy some months ago by the owners who decided they wanted to keep the female and the baby.The whole situation could easily have been avoided if his original owners had invested in having both their rabbits neutered.Thatâ€™s a topic for another day perhaps.
Weâ€™re happy to say Simba is now staying with one of our Foster Carers and we intend to ensure heâ€™s up to date with his vaccinations and is neutered before he is rehomed.See our Adopt a Rabbit section for further details.
We are also still in touch with Simbaâ€™s original owners regarding the rabbits he still has, and hope to help them further in the near future.