Why Do Rabbits' Ears Go Down?

Updated April 17, 2017

Rabbit ears go down for a variety of reasons. They may go down as a way of communicating. They may go down due to a medical condition, a sign of ageing or simply genetics.

Purpose of Rabbit Ears

The rabbits' long ears are its most prominent features. They aid in regulating body temperature and detecting sound. The ears are also a good indicator of how a rabbit is feeling and provide an excellent means of communication.


Ears held flat against the head indicate an unhappy rabbit while ears that go down indicate a relaxed rabbit.

Medical Problem

Another reason rabbit ears may droop down may be a medical condition. A drooping ear may be an indication of disease within the ear such as a bacterial infection. Drooping ears may be associated with other signs of illness such as head shaking, waxy ears and loss of balance.

Sign of Aging

Rabbit ears tend to droop down as the animals get older. Rabbit ears may collapse due to weakness in the cartilage and bones structure, causing arthritis with age.


Finally, due to genetics, certain breeds have ears that naturally go down. Lop eared breeds such as the Holland Lop or Lionhead tend to have characteristically long droopy ears.

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About the Author

Ellice Lin graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. She continued her education and earned a master's degree from Rice University. She is an environmental consultant writing air quality reports in Southern California.