How to Check
 the Gender of your Rabbit
 


 

Caution:  With younger rabbits it is very hard to tell the males from the females.  Even trained professionals find it near impossible to determine gender accurately before a bunny is 3 months old.

 


 

What to do:  To check the gender of your rabbit you will need to turn it over onto its back.  You may have already noticed that most rabbits don't like being turned over on their back -- and they get especially jittery when some clumsy human begins pawing at their super tender personal parts! 

So before you attempt to examine your bunny, be sure you are wearing appropriate protective clothing -- thick jeans (and/or a heavy towel or blanket across your lap) and perhaps even a long sleeved shirt.  Plus we recommend having a second person on hand to help you hold the rabbit still.

  1. Turn the rabbit over on its back, supporting its back in the crook of your arm, held close against your body.  Brace the rabbit's bottom on your leg.    Keep your other hand on the rabbits abdomen to hold it steady.  This is a little like holding a baby.  (Alternatively, you can turn the rabbit the opposite direction, that is with head downward, which some rabbits actually find calming.)
     

  2. Once the rabbit calms down, you can use your (right) hand to check the genital "vent".   The genital vent is located just above the anus.  It looks identical on males and females.  (If your rabbit has not calmed down, you will need the second person to hold it steady, to prevent injury to yourself and the bunny.)
     

  3. Using thumb and forefinger, carefully pry open the genital vent until the pink genitalia pops up.  Go slowly and gently so as not to create pain or tearing of the skin.
     

  4. Note that whether your rabbit is a male or a female something will "pop up", a little pink protuberance.  The difference you are looking for is that the male genitals look more symmetrical, with a slightly rounded top and a very small opening.   And by contrast, the female rabbit's genitalia looks more asymmetrical, with a slanted top and a larger slit. 

About this point many of you will retort, "Easier said than done!"  This is because, although this is the time honored method for checking rabbit gender, telling a male from a female is much easier when you've had a several to look at and compare.  That is, when you really know what you're looking for, visually.

What's more, the more mature the rabbit, the easier it is to tell males from females.   And conversely, the younger the rabbit... the harder it is.  Even a veterinarian specializing in rabbits may find it very difficult to sort the girls from the boys before 3 months of age.   This is why so many mistakes are made in gender determination:  pet stores and amateur breeders selling one and two month old bunnies -- before an accurate gender assessment can be made.

Unfortunately, it is at 3 months of age that many bunnies become sexually active!  Which is why some rabbit fanciers recommend separating your bunnies from one another at 2 months old.  But we feel that 11 weeks is sufficient, and we strongly recommend having your rabbits spayed or neutered as soon as your vet feels it is safe to do so.

 

 

Useful Links
 

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