Female rabbits (known as does) are bigger than male rabbits (known as bucks) of the same age and breed. Gender affects more than just their size, however. It also plays a role in aggression, burrowing, and habitation.
When it comes to animals, people have many preconceived notions. These can be based on breed, color, or country of origin. Regardless of these factors, however, the most common assumption is that males are bigger than females. This is true when observing deer, many dog breeds, and even monkeys. However, it is not true when it comes to rabbits.
What You'll Learn
- 1 Why Are Female Rabbits Bigger Than Male Rabbits?
- 2 Key Differences Between Male and Female Rabbits
- 3 Why Spaying and Neutering is So Important
- 4 Temperament
- 5 Identifying Aggressive Behaviors
- 6 The Many Differences Between Does and Bucks
Why Are Female Rabbits Bigger Than Male Rabbits?
For female rabbits, size does matter. Despite common contributing factors to an animal’s size, does are typically larger than its male counterparts of similar age and breed.
This does not mean that does eat more than bucks, though. In fact, rabbits of the same breed and age usually eat similar amounts regardless of gender. The key lies in what their bodies do with the food.
The food eaten by female rabbits directly affects their weight. For bucks, however, it affects the amount that they defecate. This is something to consider when selecting a rabbit. If your enclosure is inside, you may opt for a female over a male.
Key Differences Between Male and Female Rabbits
Size and weight are not the only differences between male and female rabbits. Let’s look at some common differences:
Female rabbits are much easier to cohabitate than male rabbits. In many cases, male rabbits fight with other bucks in their enclosure.
While females do better with cohabitation, they can be more aggressive to people in certain circumstances. Males are typically only aggressive towards other bucks.
Female rabbits enjoy burrowing more than their male counterparts. The depth of your enclosure and available bedding can play a significant role in your rabbit’s ability to burrow successfully.
Why Spaying and Neutering is So Important
Whether your rabbit is male or female, getting them spayed or neutered before they reach their sexual maturity is vitally important. If a rabbit has not been spayed or neutered, its temperament can change drastically. These changes might include:
- Displaying aggression towards people (as mentioned earlier)
- Accidental pregnancies
- Increased desire to burrow or dig
- Increased attempts to escape their enclosure
- Increased aggression towards other rabbits.
- Can be difficult, if not impossible, to reverb these behaviors if a male rabbit has not been neutered by the time they reach sexual maturity.
Desexing your rabbits can prevent many of these behaviors or at least curb them. Regardless of spaying/neutering or not, females and males will present different challenges to their owners.
If you are considering adopting a rabbit, consider the temperaments generally associated with each gender.
Females are normally:
- Bossy or dominant – Might not make a good pet for a first-time owner.
- Better suited for households with other pets – This is a benefit if you have dogs, cats, or other rabbits.
- Easier to keep with other rabbits – Great if you want more than one rabbit in your enclosure.
- Prone to territorial spraying – Can be expensive to clean up or treat.
- Prone to unwanted or accidental pregnancies – If your enclosure has more than one rabbit and your female(s) are not spayed, the chance of them having an accidental pregnancy can be high.
Males, on the other hand, usually are:
- More easy-going – More ideal for first-time owners or households with children.
- Less likely to dig – This helps keep the area around their enclosure clean.
- More difficult to keep with other rabbits or pets – This can be a problem if you intend to keep more than one rabbit in your enclosure.
- More prone to aggressive tendencies – This is especially true if they are not fixed.
Males also require more room than females. When choosing your rabbit, this is something to consider as you will need adequate space for their enclosure.
Identifying Aggressive Behaviors
Rabbits of both sexes demonstrate similar aggressive behaviors. These behaviors become more frequent once a rabbit has entered sexual maturity with its sexual organs still intact.
- Biting – This can be dangerous to children or other animals.
- Thumping their back feet – Although thumping their feet is a behavior that’s commonly associated with rabbits, it can indicate that a rabbit is unhappy or is about to escalate its behavior. (Thumper from Bambi, anyone?)
- Fighting or chasing other rabbits – This can be dangerous in cohabitated enclosures. This is especially true if the enclosure is not large enough for the number of rabbits that live in it.
- Yelling or screaming – May precede biting or fighting. These behaviors may indicate that two rabbits do not get along and should not be kept in the same enclosure.
It is important to keep in mind how adding additional rabbits to an enclosure can change their social dynamic. The more rabbits you house in the same place, the higher the likelihood of aggressive behaviors being shown. As an owner, you should be on the lookout for any of these signs so that you may intervene before the behaviors escalate.
Spaying or neutering your rabbit before it reaches sexual maturity is the best way to prevent these behaviors. It will make for a safer and happier enclosure for your pets and you as an owner.
The Many Differences Between Does and Bucks
Rabbits make great pets for pet owners of all walks of life, ages, experience levels, and housing situations. While neither gender is better than the other when it comes to adoption, prospective owners need to understand the temperaments and differences between does and bucks. Understanding these principles upfront will ensure a healthy and happy life for your pet and a more rewarding experience for you as an owner. It can also cut down on unneeded expenses (vet bills, enclosure repairs, home damage, etc.).