Noticing your bunny pulling her fur out can be a cause for alarm. This behavior in rabbits is oftentimes entirely normal, but it could also be caused by serious conditions. If your pet rabbit starts acting this way and you aren't sure why it happens, you'd better take her to a veterinarian who can help you rule out possible health problems.
Why Is My Rabbit Pulling Her Fur Out?
1. Nesting Behavior
One of the common reasons why rabbits pull their fur out is pregnancy. Pregnant bunnies display a so-called ''nesting behavior'', meaning that they are actively searching for materials, including their own fur, to build a nest. If your pet is exclusively pulling out fur from her stomach, chest, as well as her sides, and then she immediately puts these fur into the nest that she has been building, she's very likely to be expecting little ones.
2. False Pregnancy
The pulling behavior can also suggest a false pregnancy. In this condition, the bunny thinks that she is carrying babies; however, there isn't a single chance that she could be, as she is the only one in the cage and hasn't have contact with males. This phenomenon can often be seen in unsprayed females due to hormonal changes that occur after the release of an egg.
3. Grooming Gripes
If the bunny isn't pregnant or isn't experiencing a false pregnancy, why is my rabbit pulling her fur out? Well, the answer could be as simple as that she is grooming herself. This is entirely normal, especially throughout the shedding period; however, boredom can also cause her to act this way.
4. Other Causes of Fur Pulling or Loss
Some other causes of rabbit pulling fur out include stress, hormonal imbalance, skin disease, or parasite infestation like mites. As infected skin is quite itchy, it can force your fluffy friend to chew on its hair.
If you notice your bunny eating her own fur, she may lack some dietary fiber.
Note: The above-mentioned causes can help you figure out what is happening to your rabbit. But you should still visit a veterinarian to check for underlying conditions such as some skin diseases and parasite infestations, so he/she can prescribe a proper treatment to your bunny.
What to Do If Your Rabbit Is Pulling Her Fur Out
Now that your question of ''Why is my rabbit pulling her fur out?'' is answered, here are something you can do to deal with this situation.
- Determine whether your bunny's diet has enough fiber. If not, make sure you provide her with sufficient hay that she can chew on. Hay is full of fiber and will help her stay occupied, rather than become bored. Hay will also help the swallowed fur pass through her digestive system, preventing an obstruction.
- Consider buying your rabbit some toys to prevent boredom, and ultimately keep her from pulling fur out.
- Bring the stress levels of your furry friend down by placing her in a quiet environment, without any bright lights. Avoid sudden noises and ensure that she remains stress-free.
Is My Rabbit Pregnant?
Why is my rabbit pulling her fur out? You already know that the cause could be pregnancy. Here are some ways to help you determine whether she is with little ones or not.
1. Disinterest in Male Rabbits
There's a high chance that a pregnant doe won't be interested in her male friends. As a matter of fact, she may even act unfriendly and try to attack them! Of course, this isn't a certain indicator of pregnancy.
2. Lumps in the Abdomen
By carefully feeling your pet's abdomen, you may feel some lumps if she is after her second week of gestation. Just make sure that you are very gentle while doing this to avoid harming fetuses.
If you track the time that has passed after your rabbit's last contact with the male, you can determine whether there is a chance that she could be pregnant. As bunnies' pregnancy only last for about a month, if your fluffy pet hasn't encountered any males for five weeks or so, it is clear that she is not pregnant.
In case you are still unsure, take your bunny to a veterinarian who will, with a help of X-ray, finally be able to tell you if your rabbit is expecting.
What If My Rabbit Is Experiencing False Pregnancy?
While false pregnancies in rabbits can be treated with the help of hormones, this kind of treatment is usually not necessary as the condition is only temporary. Actually, in this condition, vets often suggest spaying.