Bunny Bites: Do Rabbits Really Eat Their Own Babies?

You might’ve heard some bizarre rumors about rabbits, like they can multiply faster than you can say “Thumper,” or that they have a strange taste for their own babies. Whoa, hold up! That’s some pretty heavy stuff to digest, pun intended. 

In this article, we’ll hop down the rabbit hole (sorry, couldn’t resist) to uncover the truth behind this strange and rather horrifying claim.  

Do Rabbits Eat Their Babies?

The Circle of Life: Rabbit Reproduction

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of baby-eating bunnies, let’s first understand how these little critters come into the world. 

Rabbits are famous for their, ahem, prolific breeding habits. They can breed as young as four months old and have multiple litters throughout the year. 

A rabbit’s pregnancy lasts around 28-31 days, and they can give birth to a litter of 1-14 babies (called kits, how cute is that?). That’s a whole lot of baby bunnies hopping around!

Cottontail Chronicles: Rabbit Parenthood

Now that we know how bunnies multiply, let’s talk about their parenting skills. Mama rabbits are called does, and daddy rabbits are bucks, just like deer. Weird, right? Does build a cozy nest for their kits using their own fur and other materials. 

They only nurse their babies for a few minutes, once or twice a day, which might make them seem like neglectful parents. However, this is actually a survival strategy in the wild – it helps keep predators from sniffing out the nest. So, mama rabbits do care, they’re just sneaky about it!

Bunny Buffet: The Myth Behind Rabbit Cannibalism

Now, we’ve reached the main course (pun intended) of our article – do rabbits eat their babies? Brace yourselves, because the answer is… sometimes! We know, we know, that’s not what you wanted to hear. But hold on, let’s dig a little deeper to understand why.

Chomp Chomp: Reasons for Rabbit Munchies

Before you start seeing your pet bunny as a bloodthirsty monster, let’s discuss why rabbits might eat their babies. Here are some possible reasons:

A. Stress

Rabbits are sensitive creatures, and they can get stressed out by noisy environments, unfamiliar smells, or even their own reflections! If a doe feels threatened, she might eat her babies to protect them from predators. It’s like, “If I can’t have them, nobody can!”

B. Stillborn or Unhealthy Kits

Sometimes, a doe might eat a stillborn or sickly baby. This might seem cruel, but it’s actually a natural instinct to keep the nest clean and prevent the spread of disease.

C. Accidents

Accidents happen, even in the animal kingdom! Sometimes, a doe might accidentally injure a kit while grooming or moving it. If the injury is severe, she might eat the baby to put it out of its misery.  

D. Nutritional Deficiency

In rare cases, a doe might eat her kits due to a lack of proper nutrition. This usually happens when the mama rabbit isn’t getting enough protein, vitamins, or minerals in her diet.

E. First-time Jitters

Some first-time mama rabbits might get confused and eat their babies, mistaking them for food or not understanding their role as a mother yet. Don’t worry, though – they usually get the hang of it by their next litter!

Do rabbits eat their babies if they die?

Yes, rabbits may eat their babies if they die. This behavior may seem strange and gruesome, but there’s actually a natural instinct behind it. In the wild, a dead baby rabbit in the nest can attract predators, putting the rest of the litter at risk. By eating the deceased kit, the mother rabbit is essentially keeping the nest clean and reducing the chances of predators discovering the nest. Additionally, eating the dead kit can help prevent the spread of diseases or infections that might affect the rest of the litter. So, while this behavior might seem shocking, it’s actually a survival strategy for rabbits.

Let’s paint a picture to help you better understand this scenario.

Imagine a doe named Fluffy who lives in the wild. Fluffy has just given birth to a litter of six adorable kits. Unfortunately, one of the kits is stillborn. Fluffy senses that something is wrong with the stillborn baby and understands that the presence of the dead kit can pose a danger to the rest of her litter.

In order to protect her remaining babies and keep the nest clean, Fluffy makes the difficult decision to eat the stillborn kit. This might seem like a gruesome act, but it’s a natural instinct for rabbits like Fluffy. By consuming the deceased baby, she prevents the scent of the dead kit from attracting predators like foxes or birds of prey, who would be more than happy to gobble up her other babies.

Additionally, if the stillborn kit carried any diseases or infections, Fluffy’s act of eating it helps to prevent the spread of illness to the rest of the litter. In this way, Fluffy’s seemingly shocking behavior actually serves to protect her remaining kits and ensure their survival.

Stop the Chompin’: How to Prevent Rabbits from Eating Their Babies

If you’re a rabbit owner or breeder, you might be worried about your bunnies getting a taste for their babies. But don’t panic! Here are some tips to keep your rabbit family safe and sound:

A. Reduce Stress

Make sure your rabbit’s environment is calm and quiet. Keep loud noises and disturbances to a minimum, and consider covering the cage with a cloth to give them some privacy.

B. Provide Proper Nutrition

Feed your doe a balanced diet with plenty of high-quality rabbit pellets, hay, and fresh veggies. If she’s nursing, consider giving her some extra protein, like alfalfa hay or a little bit of oats.

C. Be Gentle

When handling your rabbit or her babies, be as gentle as possible to avoid causing any injuries.

D. Give ’em Space

Give your mama rabbit some space after she gives birth, and try not to disturb the nest too much. Remember, mama knows best!

E. Keep an Eye Out

Check on the kits daily to make sure they’re healthy and thriving. If you notice any issues, consult a veterinarian for advice.

Final Say! The Truth Revealed

So, do rabbits eat their babies? While it’s true that some rabbits might munch on their offspring, it’s essential to understand the reasons behind this seemingly horrifying behavior. Most of the time, it’s due to stress or a natural instinct to protect the rest of the litter. By providing your rabbit with a calm environment, proper nutrition, and gentle handling, you can help prevent any unfortunate baby-eating incidents. 

So, rest easy, your fluffy friends are still the adorable, lovable creatures you thought they were!


Do all rabbits eat their babies?

No, not all rabbits eat their babies. It’s a rare occurrence and often happens due to stress, illness, or other factors.

Why do rabbits eat their babies?

Rabbits may eat their babies due to stress, perceived threats, stillborn or unhealthy kits, nutritional deficiencies, or confusion as first-time mothers.

Is it normal for rabbits to eat their babies?

While it’s not common, it can be considered a natural instinct for rabbits in certain situations, particularly when protecting the rest of the litter.

How can I prevent my rabbit from eating her babies?

Provide a calm, stress-free environment, proper nutrition, and gentle handling. Avoid disturbing the nest and give your rabbit some space after giving birth.

Will a doe eat her babies if she is not getting enough food?

Nutritional deficiencies may cause a doe to eat her babies in rare cases, so make sure she has a balanced diet with high-quality rabbit pellets, hay, and fresh veggies.

Can a doe’s stress level to her eating her babies?

Yes, high stress levels can cause a doe to feel threatened, leading her to eat her babies as a protective measure.

Are first-time mother rabbits more likely to eat their babies?

First-time mother rabbits may be more prone to eating their babies due to confusion or inexperience. However, they usually get better at parenting with subsequent litters.

Can domestic rabbits eat their babies, or is it only seen in wild rabbits?

Both domestic and wild rabbits can eat their babies in certain situations. Providing a safe and stress-free environment can help prevent this behavior in domestic rabbits.

How can I tell if my rabbit is stressed and might eat her babies?

Signs of stress in rabbits include hiding, aggressive behavior, thumping, or a lack of appetite. Keep an eye on your rabbit’s behavior and consult a vet if you’re concerned.

If my rabbit ate one of her babies, will she eat the rest of the litter?

It’s not guaranteed that a rabbit who ate one baby will eat the rest of the litter. Monitor the situation, ensure a calm environment, and provide proper care to help prevent further incidents.

Also read:

What Are Baby Rabbits Called? 

What Are Baby Rabbits Called? 

Jacob Mathew

Jacob Mathew, the rabbit guy. He’s been working with those cute little buns for several years and he knows a lot of things about rabbits, if not everything. Jacob loves cats and bunnies more than any other animals. Read my full bio

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Come back tomorrow...