Dogs and cats are the most common household pets. You rarely see people have rabbits as their pets, and if you do, we can guarantee you that those people are genuine animal lovers because they are inclusive.
Since not everyone does not have rabbits as a pet, you may wonder if do rabbits lay eggs.
What is a rabbit?
Rabbits are one of the small types of mammals that belong to the family of Leporidae. Moreover, according to the NATURE blog of PBS, rabbits have at least 29 species scattered all over the world except in the continent of Antarctica.
On the other hand, 49 rabbit breeds are recognized by the ARBA or the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
The term “rabbit” originated from an Old French word, “Conil,” which meant “Cuniculus” in Latin which means “little rabbit” in English. Take a look at the table below for your reference regarding the classification taxonomy of a rabbit:
● Brachylagus a.k.a Pygmy rabbits
● Bunolagus a.k.a Riverine rabbits
● Nesolagus a.k.a Sumatran rabbits or Annamite striped rabbits
● Oryctolagus a.k.a Old World rabbits, European rabbits or domestic rabbits
● Pentalagus a.k.a Amami rabbits
● Poelagus a.k.a Bunyoro rabbits
● Romerolagus a.k.a volcano rabbits
● Sylvilagus a.k.a cottontail rabbits
Rabbits are known to have impressive breeding capabilities because, unlike any other species of young mammals, they are born fully matured with their eyes open and have fluffy fur.
The most used genera of rabbits is the Ocrytolagus Cuniculus or most commonly called the European Rabbit. It is often used for toxicology testing.
Thus, Ocrytolagus Cuniculus is famous for being the top model for biomedical research. They are primarily used for case studies to develop and discover many things such as endorphins.
In addition to this, European rabbits are well-known because it is often raised and used either for food or as pets. The skins of the rabbit are also used in the fashion and textile industry to produce crafts and clothing.
However, the coursing and hunting of rabbits will become very bloody.
Do Rabbits Lay Eggs?
You may have wondered how do rabbits reproduce. Do they give birth to their offspring, or do they lay eggs? This question will probably arise because we are all well aware that not all mammals give birth. Some lay eggs, but rabbits are not one of them.
Rabbits are mammals that do not lay eggs. They have embryos and uterus that allow them to carry their babies in their wombs. They reproduce by giving birth to their kittens because mammary glands produce milk to feed their kittens.
A female rabbit is called a doe, and it usually has at least 2 to 3 litters in a year. Moreover, the number of kittens a doe gives birth to usually depends on a doe’s age and breed.
Typically, younger doe, especially first-time mothers, will only give birth to up to two kittens. On the other hand, the older and more experienced doe can give birth to a maximum of 9 up to 12 kittens in each litter.
It is usual for rabbits to have a litter monthly because their average gestation period lasts up to 31 days. However, it is also normal for a doe not to get pregnant for months until it reaches sexual maturity.
Though, it can be alarming when a doe produces a lot of kittens in a span of one year because it would only mean that it is always near their partner.
3 Questions about the connection of Rabbits and Eggs
An egg has always been associated with rabbits for a few reasons. Since we already know that rabbits actually give birth and do not lay eggs to produce offspring, we will try to understand why people think rabbits lay eggs.
Why do people think that rabbits lay eggs?
Undeniably, not all people are aware that rabbits do not lay eggs. And would often miss out the fact that these creatures are mammals after all.
People believe that rabbits lay eggs simply because of the Easter Bunny and the colorful Easter Eggs that are often seen almost in every establishment during the last day of Lent.
Annually, Catholics celebrate the Lenten Season to commemorate the sacrifices of Jesus Christ. All Catholics and Christians know that one of the most important days during Lent is Easter Sunday.
It is the day to celebrate that Christ has risen again after he was nailed and persecuted on the cross on a Good Friday.
Why are Easter Eggs associated with Rabbits and Bunnies?
People during the medieval period believed that rabbits were a symbol of rebirth and fertility because of their extreme capacity to multiply. On the other hand, the same goes for eggs during the ancient pagan festivals.
Thus, it makes sense why eggs are always affiliated with Easter Sunday as these eggs represent the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Though, a rabbit was never mentioned in the bible. You may also wonder where did the Easter word come from? Easter is the English translation of Eostre.
What is the Festival of Ostara or Eostre?
The Festival of Eostre is the celebration of the goddess of fertility and spring with rabbit as its animal symbol.
The misconception about rabbits laying eggs started by the APDC or the American Pennyslyanian Dutch Community; they are the German Lutheran people who then migrated to America. They call the egg-laying rabbit either “Oschter Haw” or “Osterhase” or “Easter Hare”.
The Easter tradition is pretty much similar to the Christmas celebration. Annually, children will leave some hats disguised as nests on Easter Sunday. After all, Easter Sunday falls in the spring season.
They hope that Osterhase would lay some colorful eggs as treats indicating that they have been a good child all year round. However, if these kids have been naughty, they would get rabbit poop instead of a treat.
10 Signs that Rabbits are Pregnant
Just like any other animals, rabbits, too, have their own term when specifying whether it is a female, male, or young. Male rabbits are called bucks, while female rabbits are called a doe. Thus, their offspring are collectively called kittens.
Listed below are signs and symptoms that a rabbit is pregnant:
- You can notice that a female rabbit gets more fat, mostly in front of her body.
- A pregnant rabbit will always choose to be alone.
- A pregnant rabbit tends to be restless.
- You may notice that a doe has a swollen and stiff belly, commonly known as budding.
- Red or pink discoloration on a doe’s stomach.
- A doe has an increased appetite and will usually eat healthy, such as green leafy vegetables, rabbit pellets, etc.
- A doe tends to drink more water to keep themselves dehydrated.
- When a doe is pregnant, it creates hay or nesting in preparation for the birthing process.
- It tends to become more affectionate.
- A doe will start pulling its fur out in order to provide a blanket for its kittens to keep them warm.
How do rabbits give birth?
Since we have already established that rabbits do not lay eggs to reproduce and give birth; instead, rabbits give birth to their kittens as humans do. The kittens come out of the womb of a doe. Kindling is the term called on the process of rabbits giving birth.
You will notice that a doe is nearing its delivery when it has already built its nest, usually made out of fur, straw, and hay.
Moreover, you may notice that the fur will start to loosen up. Hence, it will be easier for the doe to pull fur from its entire body to put in the nest to keep its newborn kittens warm.
Female rabbits often tend to give birth early in the morning, which usually lasts from 15 minutes up to 30 minutes depending on the quantity of the live young.
Rabbits tend to be very independent due to their instincts, so they will not need any help from humans even while giving birth. Thus, a doe itself will clean its kittens by severing their umbilical cord and eating their placenta.
Characteristics of Rabbits
Rabbits are fluffy and have very distinct long ears, which are usually erect. And in contrast to their long ears, they too have whiskers and pretty short tails. Though their incisors may continuously grow, they are still herbivores.
The most common coat colors of rabbits range from white, brown, and gray. And it also comes in various sizes ranging from 10 inches up to 18 inches, and its weight depends on its size.
It will not be challenging to reproduce rabbits as they can give birth almost every month or every after two months. However, the kittens are born hairless, blind, and dependent on their mothers.
Now that your question “Do rabbits lay eggs?” has already been answered. You can now take it off your curiosity list. Rabbits give birth to their offspring.
So in case, you find yourself owning a couple of rabbits and want them to reproduce, make sure that you know and understand the early stages of their pregnancy.