How long are rabbits pregnant?
If you have a female rabbit and you have decided to let her have some babies, then you need to know how long rabbits are pregnant for and you need to know how to tell that she is pregnant and how long she has been pregnant for.
Ovulation in rabbits is quite unlike ovulation in other domestic pets. Rabbits reach sexual maturity at approximately six to eight months of age, although in some breeds of rabbits is as early as four months.
Unlike most other animals, rabbits are fertile right thorough the year and they don’t have a regular oestrus period; ovulation is stimulated by the act of mating. After that, a female rabbit will be in heat for around 12 to 14 days, during which time she can become pregnant. If mating has occurred in that time, a rabbit pregnancy will last approximately 30 days. When a rabbit gives birth, it can have a litter of anything between 3 and 12 baby rabbits.
The way to tell if your rabbit is pregnant is by gently palpating your fingers on her abdomen. To do this, gently lay the rabbit on her back and carefully place your hand on her abdomen, just above her stomach. If you then, very gently, palpate her abdomen with your fingers, you will be able to feel a few small bumps, which will be the developing embryos. These bumps become noticeable after about 20 days of pregnancy so, if you can feel the bumps, your rabbit is likely to give birth in about ten days’ time.
It is very important that you don’t apply any pressure to the rabbit’sabdomen when you do this. If you do, you could cause the rabbit to abort. That is why it is usually advisable to take a rabbit to a vet for an examination if you think that it is pregnant. The other signs of a rabbit pregnancy are; swollen breasts, restlessness, nest building, an increased intake of food and water and, sometimes, a pregnant female may become aggressive towards male rabbits.
When it comes to the time of the birth, the best thing to do is to let the rabbit do what comes naturally. Animals give birth instinctively, so just keep your distance and give your rabbit a quiet, calm place to let nature take its course. Rabbits usually give birth during the night, because that is when they feel safe and they feel less likely to be disturbed. You should only intervene if you think that something is going wrong with the birth, in which case, the best thing to do is contact a vet.