Rabbit digs holes and refills them

by Gulmehak Singh
(Sangrur, Punjab, India)

I have a doe and a buck, I wanna know if shez pregnant. Shez digging holes, deep holes in our park and then fills it again after some time. I don't know their breed - they are white coloured and red eyed. We set them free in the morning and put them in the cage by night. She does this all in the mean time. My servant looks after them. It would be kind of you to tell me if she is pregnant and whether she will kindle in the night time only. Thnx


***** Karen Sez *****
Okay, I'm putting on my bunny-brains....
I'm pregnant, and I'm outside in the park, so I dig a burrow to prepare for my litter. But then the two-legged person puts me into the cage at night, so I am afraid to reuse my burrow the next day...

Not at all sure if I understand correctly. But, if the doe is pregnant, are you keeping records as to her due date (31 days after breeding)? The doe will need a burrow or a nest box by day 28. If you aren't sure, it is probably time for you or your servant to provide a consistent living space for the doe, whether in the cage or in the park. Perhaps you could sink a cage into the soil by around 30-50 cm, so she could do some digging, but still be protected? If so, be sure that the cage is not open-ended underneath, or the doe would be able to dig her way out of the cage.

Yes, rabbits tend to kindle at night most of the time.

Just so you know, the does do the digging. Digging is instinctual, and while I'd certainly suspect pregnancy when seeing compulsive digging, it is not necessarily proof. Given the fact that the doe and the buck are released together during the day, I'd guess 99% chance yes, pregnant.

Also, just so you know, once the babies come, the buck will re-breed the doe immediately, if they are given access to each other. So, going forward, you may wish to carefully plan how you allow the buck and the doe to interact, allowing access only when you want another litter.

According to http://www.indg.in/agriculture/on-and-off-farm-enterprises/agri-onnoff-rabbit, a red-eyed white rabbit, especially if weighing around 9-12 pounds (4-5.45 kg), is probably a "White Giant." My guess is this would be a cross between New Zealand White and a Flemish Giant. The site also mentions the New Zealand White rabbit, but lists its weight (in India) at between 3-4 kg (6.5 - 8.8 pounds).

Hope this helps, Gulmehak, and God bless you.

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Jul 04, 2015
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Re-filling hole
by: Anonymous

My old rabbit had dug a hole all morning then filled it in. I was very confused but then when the day came that she was due to give birth she reopened her hole and gave birth. They don't entirely refill the hole they only do it partly, most likely to hide the hole from any predators that could steal the ready-made burrow or come to snatch her kits while she's away. Filling in the hole is completely normal behavior. I assume it's instinct as they are prey animals. :)

Apr 16, 2015
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Rabbit refilling hole
by: Anonymous

We have exactly the same thing in our garden! A rabbit has spent days digging a very long tunnel but yesterday we looked and it is filled in and, like the previous comment, you would never know there had been a tunnel there. We would love to know why this is?

Mar 26, 2015
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Rabbit re-filled hole after digging
by: Anonymous

Yesterday we filmed a wild rabbit digging a hole just outside our kitchen window - she spent all morning and the hole was big enough for her to disappear completely - in between digging she cleaned herself and ate an apple that we had thrown over for her.

Today she completely filled the hole in and covered it over so carefully that you would never know that there had been a hole there!

Is this normal behaviour?? Would love to hear if anyone else has seen this..Patc (Mid Wales)


Sep 23, 2014
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Breed
by: Luke F

I agree with Karen, but nobody said the breed. From what you said they sound like an albino rabbit. They have red or pink eyes and are totally white.

Jan 05, 2012
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Digging Doe
by: Carlyn3676

One idea for the doe you may want to consider is to create a sub-ground pen. This can be made like this: dig a hole about three feet wide by six feet long and three to four foot deep. Line it with rabbit wire fencing on sides and bottom; fill it in to about three quarters full, layer in the remaining space with straw-hay then make a Top about six inches wider all the way around than the hole; on one end of the lid make a door with hinges and a six inch diameter hole in the panel for the doe to crawl into it and she can dig all she wants to and she will be safe and secure, plus you will still have access to her.

***** Karen Sez *****
Yes, sounds good. It also sounds large.

When built this way, please consider the lay of the land and drainage patterns. In a heavy rain, these subterranean burrows can completely fill with water - disastrous for little bunnies.

If there's any way to follow these directions by carving into a gentle rise in the terrain, that would be really good.

Lastly, our ebook, Ideal DIY Rabbit Cages, includes a plan for a burrow that is above ground, but packed all around with an artificial berm. This would work well for a digging doe in a hot climate. See http://www.raising-rabbits.com/world-of-raising-rabbits.html

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