How Long Do Rabbits Live? And How To Tell How Old A Rabbit Is?

How To Tell How Old A Rabbit Is
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When someone asks you how old is your pet? Do you too find yourself in a fix? Sometimes, when you have adopted a stray pet or brought one home from a pet store that had sheltered a stray animal, there is no time of birth available. Either their birth time can be recorded by those witnessing it or you witness it yourself when your pet becomes a parent. But, when you adopt a rabbit or find one in your backyard, you may not have their birthday handy. How disappointing that can be when you can’t celebrate their ‘The Day’! You may think there’s no way of knowing how old your pet buddy is.

But that’s not entirely true, you can learn to identify their age from one look at them. Maybe you’ll find it fairly easy to determine the age of some animals by just looking at them, but this may not entirely and always be the case with your bunnies. Although, what may help is knowing where you need to look for.     

You can start by observing their behavior and physical appearance as they will give out some important clues to you. Moreover, if you understand their needs as per age and have a better understanding of their behavioral patterns, you can evaluate their tentative age far easily. Let’s look into what you need to know about your rabbits and what you should do to figure out how old is your bunny.

Average Lifespan of Rabbits

Understanding their general stages of life can be a good way to start. The lifespan of a rabbit is 8 to 12 years.

0 to 3 Month Babies

Such tiny babies, they are fully dependent on their mother. They start to move around independently when they turn 6 to 8 weeks old. Until then, they continue to wean from their mother. They open their eyes to see the world anytime between 3rd to their 10th day. It’s those two months where they need their mother’s presence the most and her tender care, after that they tend to their own needs gradually and become livelier and more playful.

3 to 12 Month Young Rabbits

This is their adolescent stage where they have ample energy on them and their sexual needs manifest. In other words, they may become more aggressive. Female rabbits begin to produce reproductive hormones and male rabbits too reach sexual maturity and that may change their behavior. Females tend to border on territorial and males may try to seduce and mount female adult rabbits experiencing a bizarre urgency. Their borderline obsession in the opposite sex gets them into fights with other rabbits of the same sex.

To prevent this crazy behavior, usually owners opt for spaying/neutering them. As per our survey, males can be neutered between 3 and 4 months, and females can be spayed between 5 and 6 months. In the 1st year, they have mood swings and tend to be less interested in socializing.

1 to 3 Years​ Young Adult

In this period, the rabbits tend to be the most active and need ways to burn that extra energy. They are far alert, interactive and curious about their surroundings. You’ll find them doing that by running around, jumping or digging. They may also bite, nibble on objects, spray urine or ride other rabbits as an act of fun. They become a social being and seek attention. They’ll love to play with you. And they’ll not fuss when you clean and groom them, they rather love that experience. At this age, you’ll observe they have short, fine and pointed nails. And they usually have white, short and regular teeth.

3 to 5 Years​ Middle Age

Just as humans, this phase mellows them down too. Their energy levels deplete and their activities slow down. Although, they stay affectionate with you, but tend to border on being clingy. In this stage, you’ll find them relaxing or lazing around, care-free of anything around them, enjoying a stress-free life.

5 to 7 Years​ Late Adulthood

You’ll start seeing the signs of ailments and their sick days grow with a considerate number. They may suffer from depleted energy, sore joints or arthritis. Some starts losing agility and their movements become slower. They may also receive calluses on their heels and tend to crack or bleed in some cases which may give signs of infection if not tended right. They start having hair fall and their skin looks a bit worn out and may even have some dryness all over.

​7+ Years​ Old

At this age, rabbits often require doctor’s care, medication and constant supervision. They’ll rely on you a lot and look for your affection and love. Some find difficulty in jumping whereas some can’t walk easily. They slow down and prefer eating (moderately) and sleeping over doing anything else. Their food intake drops low as well. Outdoor walks reduce dramatically and digging may altogether disappear. They may also show signs of poor vision and hearing. Even when they move short distances, they appear to be walking rigid, maybe dragging as opposed to bouncing.

Their way of spending time is by staying close to you, mostly laying on your lap and dozing off. At this age, you’ll observe they have longer, thicker and more yellowish nails. Even their teeth take on the yellowish color. And due to inadequate nutrition, it often leads to dental changes such as overgrowth of incisors, misalignment of teeth, etc.


A quick look at what you should ask the pet expert:


Pay Attention To Behavioral Clues

If your bunny is an active beast, never found lazing around, acting a lot moody and exhibiting little social behavior, they are in their teenage years. They are explorers at this stage of life, there curiosity to know it all and learn it all takes them everywhere. You see them jumping around, playing with other bunnies, eating to their heart’s content, roaming to new places, digging deeper and of course, showing their aggressive nature when disturbed.

Whereas an older rabbit will be slower and may have no interest in any physical or straining activities. They tend to be more affectionate and relaxed, seeking love and affection from their owners. They are less aggressive and expect to be taken care of. Their walk as they grow older becomes rigid and they may start to feel pressure on their feet. Illness begins to target their weak immune system as well. They’ll cling on their owners for care and love.

Pay Attention To Their Changing Body

The newly born kittens are completely furless and do not have the ability to open their eyes. Until they turn three days old, the eyes remain shut but some light-colored fur on their skin can be seen. The most reliable way so far observed of telling the age of a bunny is by looking at the condition of their feet. A young rabbit will have fully furred heals while an older rabbit will have calloused heels due to the pressure and elongated duration on their feet.

The younger rabbits will have a clean glossy coat while the older rabbits struggle to maintain the cleanliness and sometimes it’s due to their medical conditions. Older rabbits may suffer from Malocclusion as well, overgrown misaligned incisors, since they tend to eat less than younger rabbits and thus supplying little nutrition to their bodies. In contrast to older rabbits, young rabbit has a soft delicate underbelly.

What Are Rabbit Years To Human Years

Ever wondered whether your bunny is younger or older to you? Well, if you know your bunny’s age, it can be a thrilling experience to derive who’s older. There are various online calculators to help calculate the age of a rabbit in human years. Here’s a simple chart to help you figure out the age difference, bunnies’ age in human years, according to BunBox.

Source: BunBox.co.uk

Bottom Line

Looking at the size of their body, hair and skin texture, hock quality, behaviors and day-to-day activities can help you determine which stage of the lifecycle are they at. Breed, gender, diet, genetics and living conditions play a vital role in determining the overall lifespan of a rabbit and thus determining their tentative age. It’s true, figuring out the exact age may not be feasible without a prior record of their birth, but finding out which age group they belong can be possible. All you have to do is be observant and look out for the above-mentioned signs.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. How do you determine a rabbit’s age?
    You can use the general age groups to categorize the rabbit. Their behavior and physical appearance may also be an indicator and give some good clues to determining your rabbit’s age.
  2. What does a 3-week-old rabbit look like?
    Your bunny’s fur will fill out and begin to look much fluffier at this point. They should weigh around 70-80+ grams and begin developing more supportive musculature. This allows them to hop around in search of hay, grass and edible vegetation.
  3. Is there a way to know how old an adopted rabbit is?
    There are signs that lets you know your pet rabbit is getting old and they may include a dull greying fur coat, cataracts or loss of sight, fatigue, hearing loss or reduction in consumption of food. One of the most reliable ways to determine the bunny’s age is to look closely at the condition of their hocks.

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