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Warning -- rabbits reproduce like rabbits

This is a public service announcement to anyone who may have a newly-acquired spring rabbit. Rabbits are uniquely equipped to survive and breed like, well, rabbits, so here is a bit of information on what you have gotten yourself into.

When a male and a female meet, there is very little introduction, there is no “getting to know you;” the male will generally go right to business. It may take him a few minutes to find the correct end, but he gets started right away. Once he is on the right track, the actual act itself only takes about 20 -30 seconds, at which time he seizes and falls over. Stunned only momentarily, he will generally recover only to try again.

Gestation is 28-31 days, at which time the mom will often pull fur and make a cozy nest in which to deposit her litter of 1-14. She is very self-sufficient, giving birth and caring for her babies single-handedly once a day by feeding and keeping them gathered in a warm clump. The babies are born hairless, without sight, and completely helpless. After a week, they begin to develop hair and at about two weeks their eyes open. At about a month they are weaned and independent. Between three and eight months, rabbits are fully mature and capable of reproduction, which makes the rate at which they can reproduce alarming.

In the wild, they are far down the food chain, so this rate of reproduction ensures survival; but in captivity, if unchecked a single rabbit pair could theoretically produce 95 billion rabbits in 7 years.

This is why being a responsible pet owner is so important. Now that you know the facts, you can decide: spay or neuter, or at the very least, keep the boys and the girls securely separated.

Happy spring!

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