Strange bald areas with defined edges on baby rabbits

by LoriAnn Alnaizy
(United Arab Emirates)

Our baby rabbits around one month old are all developing bald spots on their bodies. The spots are spreading as one baby's spot started a couple centimeters big next to its nose, and it has spread to cover almost the entire side of its face.

Baby is eating food, appears active, and bald skin is pink and not weepy, just pink, raw, and absolutely bald. There is no bleeding to the raw skin. At first we thought the mother was doing it, or the aunt of the baby out of jealousy? (although this was just speculation, we never saw her attacking them) But now we feel confident it's not an attack because the spots are getting larger by the day.

I have searched the internet and can't find any bald spots that resemble our rabbits, so I don't know what I'm up against. The two female adults have no bald spots, only the babies. The spots are confined to the feet, face, and neck area. I have not seen any bald spots on the body.

Lastly, my rabbits are not kept in cages at all, they have a large yard to roam free and have made themselves a deep burrow under my patio to have their babies and get out from the elements. I would much appreciate any advice!

***** Karen Sez *****
Thanks for the pictures - it helps me and it helps others to see what you are talking about.

That looks very much like "barbering." The rabbits are chewing each others' fur. The act of chewing pulls the fur clean out, leaving the skin smooth but bald.

I'd guess that where the feet are chewed, the rabbit is chewing its own fur, but obviously rabbits with bald spots on the face are being barbered by another rabbit.

Barbering is very frequently the result of a need for more fiber in the rabbit's diet. So, add in some grass hay, or some bark or branches. (Dunno what you have available to you in your neck of the woods). Fiber almost always makes the problem go away.

Another cause is boredom, though with your description of their housing arrangement, this is probably not at the top of the list of suspects. Nevertheless, perhaps you could put some blocks of wood or other sort of pet toys in the enclosures, just in case. They like balls, wood, cardboard, jar lids, toys with bells in or on them, among others.

I'd be very interested in knowing what steps you take to solve the problem, and how they work, not just for me, but also for the readers at this website. Thanks, and good luck!

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Jan 05, 2014
Balding spots on baby rabbits
by: LoriAnn

Thank you Karen for your feedback. I feel relieved that you don't seem worried it's contagious or parasitic. I wonder, however, why I didn't see these spots in other liters? This is the mom's second litter, and the first babies never had such balding, nor do they now, and they are about 2 1/2 months old. Should I separate the babies from the mother if she is doing it to them, or this is just "normal" rabbit behavior and I should just leave them alone?
Thank you and God bless.

Jan 05, 2014
Rabbit Update
by: Anonymous

I have since incorporated endless amounts of straw, leaves, etc for them to munch on all day and all the fur has returned! Yay! I knew rabbits were munchers, but didn't know that I had to keep it there constantly. Thank you for your valuable opinion!

BTW, I had a couple of babies disappear from my yard. Since there is no way they escaped, I have to assume that they died in their burrow. Do you have any idea how the other rabbits would handle a dead rabbit in the burrow? Would they bury it somehow or just ignore it, but I think it would become covered with insects??

Any idea how rabbits deal with their dead? All rabbits seem healthy and happy otherwise.
Thanks again :)

***** Karen Sez *****
Good job!

In the nest, if a kit dies, the general activity within the nest churns the dead body to the bottom of the bedding. The body rots away, sometimes uneventfully, and sometimes attracts insects or vermin. I suspect that the death of a bunny is paid no mind by the kits.

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