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How Deep Do Rabbits Burrow? 5 Surprising Answers (2022)

How Deep Do Rabbits Burrow

If you have outdoor bunnies…

You probably want to build a fence so they won’t get lost.

But knowing your fluffy buddies…

They can just dig their way out.

So you need to burry your fence deep enough.

But just how deep should it be?

Continue reading to find out:

  • How deep the rabbit hole goes.
  • 5 surprising answers about burrowing.
  • Why bunnies make homes underground.
  • And so much more…

How deep do rabbits burrow?


Rabbits burrow at an average of 1-2 ft (12-24 in) deep underground. Sometimes, they can go deeper. The hole’s depth varies according to the bunny’s needs. It can also depend on the landscape, soil structure, and rainfall. Additionally, even the rabbit’s breed can be a factor.

#1: Burrows can go as deep as bunnies need

The average depth of rabbit holes is 1-2 ft. 

But this can go even deeper. 

Because every hole has its purpose…

And therefore needs a particular size and deepness.

Rabbit warren

Outdoor bunnies go underground and create not just one hole…

But a whole network of burrows.

This is called a rabbit warren.

A bunny will dig a home for themselves…

And create tunnels to connect with other chambers.

It’s like a whole neighborhood underground.

An example of rabbit species that practices this is the European rabbit.

According to research

These bunnies live in large groups or colonies.

And this results in a really wide warren…

That can even reach up to 15 ft (4.57 m).

Cooling down

On a hot summer day…

Don’t you just want to stay in the shade?

Rabbits like that, too.

You see, studies show that bunnies are prone to heat stroke. 

Why?

That’s because they don’t sweat. So they release heat through their ears and mouth. 

Additionally, they have thick fur. This makes them heat up fast.

And that’s why rabbits dig burrows.

However, these holes aren’t too deep. In fact, just a foot or 2 is enough.

Then, the bunnies will stay there to hide from direct sunlight.

It’s the perfect place to chill.

Hideaways

Wild rabbits roam outside…

Either to look for food or play.

But when a predator attacks…

What will the rabbit do?

They can’t fight other animals. That’s also why bunnies are called prey animals. So instead, they’ll run away and hide.

This is another reason for bunny burrowing.

The rabbits dig underground so they’ll be safe from predators.

These holes are in the bunny’s size so that they can easily get in…

And deep enough that the attackers can’t reach the rabbit.

Nesting

Nesting

When a female bunny is ready to give birth…

They burrow.

As per scientists

This behavior is common in wild European rabbits.

The mama bunny will dig a small separate nest…

Even though she already has a rabbit hole.

Because unlike cats and dogs…

Female rabbits don’t stay with their babies.

This is why some people think that rabbits’ nests are often abandoned.

But why exactly do the mothers leave their young?

No, they’re not bad mommas.

It’s because they don’t want their smell to attract predators. Hence, staying away from the kits is safer.

So the mommies just visit their kittens at night to feed them.

And in time, when the bunnies are grown and ready…

They can get out of their burrow.

You may want to read: How to Take Care of Baby Rabbits

#2: Not all bunnies dig deep

Many rabbits are born diggers….

While others are just meant to scratch a bit of the ground. 

Or they could just use ready-made burrows.

The best bunny diggers are:

  • Pygmy.
  • Amami.
  • Riverine.
  • European.

They have sharp, curved claws. These are perfect for making their own burrows. 

Some of these diggers can make vast rabbit warrens…

While some prefer a single burrow.

On the other hand…

There are bunnies who can’t make burrows. They’re:

  • Striped.
  • Volcano.
  • Hispid hare.
  • Eastern cottontail.

Their claws are weak. And not really a fan of burrowing.

So instead, they just use holes made by other animals.

As for their nest…

The non-diggers gather grass and make a shelter.

Now, the rabbits I talked about are wild ones.

You can also have a look and learn about domestic bunny breeds:

#3: Rainfall affects the burrow

Rabbits are pretty smart when it comes to making their underground homes.

For instance, they look for an ideal place to burrow.

And that’s an elevated, well-drained land.

This means that soil can absorb water quickly…

Since it’s near a riverbank or wetland.

And also because there’s rich vegetation.

Moreover, bunnies dig at a sloping angle…

As this can prevent the hole from flooding.

So when it rains…

The rabbits can simply wait it out inside their burrows.

And they won’t fear the flood coming in.

#4: The depth depends on the soil

There’s another factor that makes a place ideal for burrowing.

And that’s the soil structure.

Studies reported that rabbits prefer to burrow on land with soft, sandy soil.

This makes it easy for them to dig.

Because if the soil is effortlessly dug…

Then the tunnels are likely to be deeper.

Whereas in heavy clay soil…

Burrows may be more shallow.

#5: A burrow goes deeper on slopes

The last factor in burrow depth is topography

Or, to put it more simply, how the land surface looks like.

Researchers found that topography has a significant effect on burrows.

In that case…

A rabbit hole goes deeper on sloping land.

While it is wider in flat areas.

Reading tip: Why do rabbits burrow?

Do rabbits really dig tunnels?

Rabbits dig tunnels. They use the tunnels to connect their underground chambers. This is also called a rabbit warren.

What does a rabbit burrow look like in the ground?

A rabbit burrow looks like a simple hole on the ground. Near the burrow, you can find bunny poop, fur, and a patch of grass. While underground, the hole tunnels into a wide warren. Or, it can also be a shallow, single burrow.

How do you get rid of a rabbit burrow?

You can get rid of a rabbit burrow by locating it first. Then, fill it with gravel and sand or concrete. Gravel and sand are best if you want to reuse the land. However, you can use concrete to keep your area completely rabbit-free.

Do rabbits really live in holes?

Rabbits live in holes because these are the safest place for them. An underground home can save bunnies from predators. It can also keep the rabbits safe from harsh weather.