Domestic rabbits cannot breed with wild rabbits because they are two genetically different breeds. Domestic rabbits have 22 chromosomes and wild rabbits have 21. If a rare pregnancy between a wild and domestic rabbit did take place, it would result in the loss of the babies.
Whether you’re a new rabbit owner or have been breeding rabbits for years, you may wonder if domestic rabbits can breed with wild rabbits. The quick answer to this is no, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. Technically, a domestic rabbit can get a wild rabbit pregnant (and vice versa), but the babies wouldn’t survive.
This blog post will cover the difficulties domestic and wild rabbits will face if they attempt to breed.
What You'll Learn
- 1 Why Domestic Rabbits Cannot Breed With Wild Rabbits
- 2 How to Tell if a Rabbit is Domestic or Wild
- 3 What Will Happen if a Wild Rabbit Attempts to Breed With a Domestic Rabbit
- 4 Err On The Side of Caution
Why Domestic Rabbits Cannot Breed With Wild Rabbits
If you’re new to rabbit breeding, you might think you can breed domestic and wild rabbits. This is a BAD idea. Here’s why:
Genetically Different Breeds
The first reason why domestic and wild rabbits cannot breed is that they are two genetically different breeds. This means that their DNA is different. This is important because, for two animals to successfully mate, they must be able to produce offspring that can also reproduce. If the DNA of the two animals is too different, the offspring will be sterile and unable to reproduce.
Different Amounts of Chromosomes
Another reason why domestic and wild rabbits cannot breed is that they have a different number of chromosomes. Domestic rabbits have 22 chromosomes and wild rabbits have 21. This might not seem like a big difference, but it is. For two animals to successfully mate, they must have the same number of chromosomes. If they don’t, the offspring will likely not survive.
Anatomical Differences Would Make Mounting a Challenge
Domestic rabbits are smaller than wild rabbits, and their anatomy is different. This would make it very difficult for a domestic rabbit to mount a wild rabbit. To make matters worse, if the two animals successfully mount, it may result in an injury.
Different Mating Rituals
Wild rabbits have a much more complex mating ritual than domestic rabbits. If the two animals cannot perform the same mating ritual, they won’t be able to successfully mate.
Pregnancy Might Be Possible, But Not Without Consequence
Even if a domestic rabbit and a wild rabbit can mate, the pregnancy will likely fail. This is because the two animals have different genetics and different number of chromosomes. If the pregnancy does succeed, the offspring will likely die shortly after birth.
How to Tell if a Rabbit is Domestic or Wild
Now that you know why domestic rabbits and wild rabbits cannot breed, you might be wondering how to tell if a rabbit is domestic or wild. Here are some things to look for:
One way to tell whether a rabbit is domestic or wild is by weight. Domestic rabbits typically weigh between 3 and 5 pounds, while wild rabbits can weigh up to 12 pounds.
Another way to tell whether a rabbit is domestic or wild is by speed. Wild rabbits are much faster and more agile than domestic rabbits.
The size of the ears can be an obvious sign. Wild rabbits tend to have much longer ears than domestic rabbits.
What Will Happen if a Wild Rabbit Attempts to Breed With a Domestic Rabbit
If you still aren’t convinced that attempting to breed wild and domestic rabbits is a bad idea, let’s take a look at some of the negative consequences that can happen.
An injury is one of the most likely outcomes of a wild rabbit trying to breed with a domestic rabbit. This is because the two animals have different anatomies and are unlikely to successfully mount. If they are able to mount, one or both of them will likely be injured in the process.
Another possible outcome is an unsuccessful pregnancy. This means the female rabbit will go through the stress of pregnancy and birth for no reason. When she realizes her offspring have died off, this will cause even more unnecessary stress.
Not only is it likely that the pregnancy will be unsuccessful, but it will also be dangerous. This is especially true if a wild male gets a domestic female pregnant. The size difference between the two rabbits can cause several complications during pregnancy and birth. The babies will be too big, so the domestic rabbit will likely suffer from health problems and even die.
Err On The Side of Caution
As you can see, there are many reasons why domestic rabbits and wild rabbits cannot breed. The different anatomies, mating rituals, and chromosome numbers make it impossible for the two animals to successfully mate. Even if they can mate, the pregnancy is likely to be unsuccessful and dangerous. So, if you’re ever wondering if a rabbit is domestic or wild, look for the signs listed above. If you’re still not sure, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and assume the rabbit is wild.