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Why is my rabbit pulling out her fur?

Why is my rabbit pulling out her fur?
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Rabbits might be small but they pack a lot of fluff onto those tiny bodies! It can be alarming when you check on your rabbit and find fur all over the place.  What can cause your rabbit to suddenly pull out fur and when should you seek veterinary care for this?

Pregnancy/False Pregnancy

A common reason for fur pulling is the instinct to make a nest.  When a rabbit is preparing for kits, her body secretes hormones that cause the fur on her sides & belly to loosen.  This makes it easier for her to pull the fur out and pile it in a nest.  It should cause her little pain and the skin should not look raw or red.

She will often also gather hay, leaves, or other bedding materials to help line her nest. When a doe makes her nest, she is generally towards the end of her 31-day pregnancy and will likely give birth within a few days. But every rabbit is different. I have one rabbit that usually builds a “starter nest” within her first week of pregnancy. Then she builds a real one in a different place a few days before birth. Many first time moms will also build their nest earlier in pregnancy.

Unspayed females who live with no other rabbits or only other females or neutered males can experience false pregnancies.  This can be a common occurrence with some rabbits and the only way to stop it is to get your rabbit spayed.  False pregnancies are not dangerous, but getting your rabbit spayed can also reduce the risk of some reproductive cancers so if you have no plans to breed your rabbits, it is a good idea.

During a false pregnancy, your rabbit will build a nest and often her mammary glands will swell.  The symptoms should only last a few days before she returns to normal behaviors.

a rabbit in a nest lined with fur


If your rabbit is left alone in her cage for most of the day she is likely to be both bored and stressed out. Rabbits need time and space to run, jump, dig, and just be a rabbit.  Stressed and stuck in a tiny space with nothing to do, she could start pulling her fur out just for something to do.  Try to give her more time out of her cage and provide her with toys or boxes to play in (click here for ideas on playing with your rabbit).

Grooming Issues

If your rabbit is pulling fur in patches it could be a sign that you are not grooming her enough.  Especially with long-haired rabbits, when they go through their shedding periods if you don’t remove the fur well enough, they will start doing it themselves.  Give your bunny a good brushing and hopefully the fur-pulling will stop.  You don’t want them pulling out their own fur because not only could they injure their delicate skin, but they are also likely to ingest some fur that could become lodged in their digestive tract (Click here to read about GI Stasis in rabbits).

Parasites/Skin Issues

Check your rabbit’s skin by parting the fur to closely examine her skin.  Mites, lice, and fleas can all effect rabbits and could make her very itchy causing her to scratch off her fur.  Rabbits have their own species of fleas (Spilopsyllus cuniculi), but can also catch the same fleas that live on your cats or dogs.  Thankfully, external parasites on rabbits are not common, but if your rabbit has them it is best to consult a veterinarian for treatment.  You should NOT use topical flea medicine meant for cats and dogs on your rabbit, it could have deadly results!

Dietary Imbalance

Rabbits need a diet high in fiber.  If they don’t get enough fiber in their diet, they sometimes will look to their own fur as a fiber source.  Your rabbit should be eating a handful of fresh Timothy hay about the size of her body each day, as well as quality rabbit pellets and fresh greens.  (click here for information on feeding wool rabbits)

When should you seek medical care?

Fur pulling can be distressing, but often observing your rabbit can help you determine the cause and hopefully remedy it.  If your rabbit has raw, bleeding patches of skin a vet can prescribe medications to keep it from getting infected.   If there are no obvious causes for your rabbit’s fur pulling or if it has been going on for a couple of weeks it would be a good idea to consult with your veterinarian.

Why is my rabbit pulling out her fur?

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Jaclyn waskul

Tuesday 13th of June 2023

I'm concerned this is my bunnies first spring and summer maybe she just doesn't understand what she is feeling or what to do with her little self she pulled out her fur and made a nest with it back a couple months ago she was around a male so I thought she was having bunnies she a little over a year old she didn't have bunnies and now she's doing it again her skin is warm and redish she did this just last night thougg


Tuesday 13th of June 2023

False pregnancy can be common in unaltered females so it's possible it's just confusion. Especially in the spring/summer when the weather would be favorable for having kits. Just to be safe though I would recommend you throughly check her skin for parasites just to be sure it's not itching that is causing her to pull her fur. If it's a false pregnancy it should pass in a few days and she will be back to normal. Warm & reddish skin is ok and a sign it's more likely false pregnancy because her hormones are tricking her and easily releasing the fur. When it's parasites often their will be scratch marks or bleeding from them ripping their fur. The only real remedy for false pregnancy is to have your rabbit spayed


Sunday 28th of May 2023

Hello, I just received a female lop about 7 months old yesterday that was rescued and not taken care of at all. She's pulling her fir and building a nest, I've never had rabbits before please help!!! I just couldn't let her be hurt anymore so I had to take her i instantly fell in love. Thank you so much in advance.


Monday 29th of May 2023

That is very sweet of you to give this little girl a good home. Do you know if she has ever been around male rabbits? If you can rule out actual pregnancy that is helpful. Nest building occurs towards the last few days of pregnancy for most rabbits so if she hasn't given birth in a week it's probably not that. If she has never been exposed to a male, then I think the most likely cause for this is just stress. She is suddenly in a new environment, around people (and maybe animals) she doesn't know. Even if it's a better situation, she doesn't know what to expect and any type of change can be stressful for her. I would try to just let her lay low for a week or two, give her as much peace and quiet as possible to let her adjust to her new, awesome life :)

Ana Liz Chavez

Monday 26th of September 2022

Hi my Rabbit gave Birth today around 2 pm and only had one she's still pulling off her fur and making a nest. Is she stressed out or is she still going to have more bunnies? This is her 3 pregnancy last one was 33 days and she had 3


Thursday 29th of September 2022

Usually rabbit labor & delivery doesn't take very long - it's usually over in about 15 minutes. So if she hasn't had anymore babies it could be just a single birth


Saturday 10th of September 2022

Hello, my female bunny just gave birth on 8 September and still she won't stop pulling her furs out. Also she's aggressive towards her mate/male bunny. She won't go near him. She's running away from him everytime she sees him. I'm so anxious because of all these.


Thursday 15th of September 2022

Continuing to pull fur after the kits are born can be normal if the fur she is pulling is along her stomach, she is just trying to let her babies get easy access for nursing. If she is pulling fur elsewhere you might want to investigate her skin for parasites. It's also normal for her to chase her mate off, her hormones are crazy right now and she is in super protection mode. Males don't tend to have a lot to do with rearing nursing kits so it's natural that she doesn't want to let him near the babies. But be careful, rabbits can get pregnant the day after they give birth, so you might want to keep them separate for now anyway. If she gets pregnant while still nursing her kits both the current kits, the pregnancy, and her health will be compromised as she tries to get enough nutrition to support them all. You should not let her get pregnant for at least 10 week postpartum to give her time to heal and get her health back


Sunday 24th of April 2022

Hello, i have a unfixed female rabbit named penny. she lives with no other rabbits at home and lives in a large x pen and free roams when im home. this morning i woke up to find a whole bunch of hair in her x pen and a lot of hair bunched together in her litter box, i also found a big clump of hair on the ground. i must admit i dont groom her alot because she has short hair and when i do groom her there is not a lot of hair coming out on the brush. This event really shocked me and i just want to know if she is going to be okay.

Thank you, London


Tuesday 26th of April 2022

A couple things could be happening, with spring your rabbits is going to be naturally shedding her winter coat so finding more fur around is normal. If she hasn't been groomed the shedded fur could be itchy causing her to scratch and pull at the fur. It is also very possible she is having a false pregnancy. Obviously not living with other rabbits she can't be pregnant, but it's very common for unfixed females to have false pregnancies and pull fur like they were building a nest for their expected babies. I would recommend you give her a really good brushing and see how she is in a couple days. If you are still finding clumps of fur around in a week you should take her to the vet to investigate other possibilities.

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