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Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy in Rabbits

Updated March 23, 2017

Rabbits have often held an important status in the food chain: they have been prey for predators. As a result, rabbits have evolved into animals that breed quickly and efficiently. This means that if your female rabbit has been in contact with a male, there is a good chance that she is pregnant. Only a vet can accurately determine if a rabbit is pregnant but there are a few signs you can look out for.

Increased Food Consumption

A pregnant rabbit will often eat a lot more food. Around two weeks before the rabbit is set to deliver, she will begin to eat considerably more food to supply her babies with nutrition. The rabbit may begin drinking more water as well. This is not a completely accurate sign, as not all rabbits act similarly.

Increased Abdomen Size

In the third week of pregnancy, your doe may begin to show an increased abdomen size. If your doe is having a small litter of kits, you may not be able to notice the increased abdomen. One of the tests for pregnancy, called palpitation, is a process by which you feel for olive-sized balls in your doe's stomach. This process should be done by a vet or you should be instructed in proper technique so as to not harm the babies.

Aggressive Behavior

Your doe may begin growling at you or acting differently toward you if she is pregnant. The doe also may start acting as if she is uncomfortable and she may begin to rest on her side more to deal with the discomfort. She may also tend to run away from or growl at her mate, though it is recommended that you remove the male from the female's cage if you expect pregnancy. Otherwise the two rabbits may fight and the babies may be harmed.

Nesting

When there are around two or three days left in your rabbit's pregnancy, she will begin nesting. This typically consists of pulling out her fur and gathering up what materials she can to create the nest. You can test this out by placing a pile of hay in the rabbit's cage and see if she begins using it as building material. Some rabbits may not begin ripping fur out until a few hours before giving birth.

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About the Author

Bryan Cohen has been a writer since 2001 and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a double degree in English and dramatic art. His writing has appeared on various online publications including his personal website Build Creative Writing Ideas.