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Why Do Rabbits Lose Fur From Their Coat?

Updated on October 5, 2017
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I love to write about things I find interesting and topics that are personal to me.

Bunny Rabbit Shedding

Rabbits shed their coat too like cats and dogs.
Rabbits shed their coat too like cats and dogs. | Source

What Is Molting?

Molting is the technical term that vets use to describe the process where your rabbit loses hair each season. The first time you see your rabbit shedding, you'll wonder where it's all coming from.

You probably don't realize exactly how much hair your rabbit actually has until you see it in every location of your house.

Rabbits shed quite often. This is one thing you are not made aware of as rabbit owners. They shed at the beginning of summer and then again toward the end of summer. This timeframe might vary depending on rabbit breeds, but you need to groom your rabbit when they shed.

This process occurs so your rabbit can grow in their new coat. The breed of your rabbit and the climate will determine the length of this process. If you have a dwarf or lion head rabbit like I do, then it will be twice a year. While this is a natural occurrence for your rabbit, for any pet owner, it can be a nuisance. Remember, it's all part of being a rabbit owner, and just like cats and dogs, they also shed.

When they start shedding their coat, you'll suddenly realize that your rabbit may end up temporarily bald. However, that is not the case, and the new coat is likely growing underneath the old coat.

Until you actually witness a rabbit shedding, you will be surprised and will wonder where it is all coming from.

Hair Loss in a Rabbit

Source

Tips for Bunny Rabbit Owners

Tip: Rabbit hair has a tendency to fly around the room and get caught on the couch, under chairs, and also on your clothes. You will have to vacuum a little bit more often.

Tip: This is where having a baby brush can come in handy. If you use a baby brush for their coat, you will collect all the loose hair from their body and avoid the chance of a hairball. Believe me, there will be a lot of loose hair.

Shedding Process in Bunny Rabbits

Rabbits start shedding from their nose and then the shedding gradually works it way down their spine to the end of their tail. The reason grooming during molting is important, is that you don't want them to ingest any hair and get a hairball. Hairballs can kill your rabbit. So where will you notice the molting?

  • The shedding will begin just in the front of the rabbit's ears and at the top of their nose. You may be rubbing your rabbit's head one day, and when you take your hand away, you will see loose hair flying around their head.
  • Gradually, the shedding process will work its way around the rabbit's head and under their chin. If your bunny rabbit has hair around its head like a lion's mane, then they will lose all of this. At the same time that the hair is falling from their head, it will also be quite loose and may fly away from other parts of their body. You will see that their back has lots of loose hair when you rub your hand down their body.
  • Next, the shedding process will start moving down their body, and it will be coming away in bits and pieces. At first, it won't look like a lot. It's only when a few days have passed that you will notice and think that your rabbit is losing clumps of hair from his back. It can look like the coat is literally being pulled out. It's not pretty, and your rabbit won't be attending any beauty shows.
  • Once the process has started down the back, this area seems to be a bit sensitive for your bunny rabbits. They won't want to be touched, and when you pet them, it will seem like you're petting their spine. There is a very thin coat of hair here.

Clumps of hair from bunny rabbit shedding

Source

What Happens When You Find a Lump of Hair?

So, you find a lump of rabbit hair. Seeing this will become quite a regular occurrence each day. Rabbit hair is very fine, which causes it to end up catching on everything that it comes in to contact with.

For the duration of the time, your rabbit will generally be shedding for a maximum of 21 days. You will see hair on your clothes, your couch, and located in every corner of your kitchen floor. You will need to have your hoover handy to tidy up after your pet.

Be Gentle

If your rabbit is shedding, then their body will be sensitive to being touched. This is why if you decide to groom them when they are shedding, it might be worthwhile investing in a soft brush.

You can even use a baby brush to groom their coat when they are shedding. It will be softer than a normal pet brush and won't hurt them when you're grooming them.

Shedding Behavior

When a rabbit is shedding their coat, you might notice a behavior change. Your once cute and friendly pet can change and now start behaving like an angry teenager. One day they like you, the next day they don't want to be bothered by you.

Don't let their behavior put you off from spending time with them. The shedding process is not fun for rabbits, so try to ignore this behavior. It won't last forever. You might end up with more hair on you than the rabbit while petting them, but what's a little hair among friends?

Whatever is happening in their body due to the shedding effects is the reason they are now cranky all the time. They are just having a bad day, and who knows how they feel losing all of that fur.

What to Remember

If you do either of the above tasks, you will:

1. Remove loose hair on the rabbit's body

2. Help them to avoid ingesting the loose hair (which is deadly)

3. Save time with the vacuuming

If your rabbit is currently shedding or is due to shed, be prepared for it and remember that after they have shed they will look a whole lot better with their new coat.

Bunny Rabbit Poll

Do you think the shedding process would be something people know about bunny rabbits?

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Tips for Dealing With Hair Loss

  1. Try to brush your rabbit's coat once or twice a day.
  2. Dampen a cloth or paper towel and rub this over the body of your bunny rabbit to help remove loose hair. For some bunny rabbits who are feeling sensitive this process, it might be better than using a brush.
  3. Clean out their bedding at least twice a week, as loose hair will gather in their nest.
  4. Wash all food and water bowls. Loose hair will gather in their water dish and food dish. You do not want your bunny rabbit to be ingesting loose hair.
  5. If you use blankets in your rabbit bedding area, you will need to either hover these regularly during the shedding process or throw them out. It's up to you.

Remember, all animals shed and it's just a natural process. While all pets shed and you don't take any notice of it except when it comes to hoovering, because rabbits shed their coat in one go for a period of time, it's a lot more noticeable.

Molting is something that you just have to accept and get on with. The whole process is over before you know it. Since it's only twice a year, it's not so bad. Rabbits are adorable creatures who deserve some looking after during this period.

© 2012 Sp Greaney

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  • sangre profile image
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    Sp Greaney 5 years ago from Ireland

    @ chrisin53, my lad loves been brushed too. He just sits there and purrrrs. :-).

    He doesn't enjoy shedding season and neither do I.

  • christin53 profile image

    Ann-Christin 5 years ago from UK

    I used to have Rabbits and in the spring they used to moult like crazy. They used to love being brushed but I did worry they would end up bald the amount of fur I got off them.

  • sangre profile image
    Author

    Sp Greaney 5 years ago from Ireland

    @ teachermum1967,

    The coat does grow back looking better.

    It's currently that time of the year for my fella and he looks terrible. It looks like someone took a shaver to his back, loads of patches everywhere.

  • teachermum1967 profile image

    teachermum1967 5 years ago

    I remember our rabbit Lucky losing fur in tufty patches last year, he had the 'designer molting' look for a while until the rest of the longer fur came away.