Looking at your rabbit’s tail got you curious…
It’s so short and cute. Barely noticeable…
So, does it really have a purpose?
And if so, what is it?
Well, you’re in for a treat today. Everything about your rabbit’s tail will be exposed.
Continue reading to learn about:
- Why do rabbits have white tails.
- The longest rabbit tail measured.
- 19 surprising facts about your rabbit’s tail.
- And many more…
#1: What is a rabbit’s tail called?
Your rabbit’s tail is called a scut, and it dates back to around 400 years ago. Their tuft of fur on the rump has to be short and erect. When your rabbit is excited or spots danger, their scut is flipped to send a message.
#2: Do all rabbits have tails?
All rabbits have tails, but the length varies a lot. Some domestic rabbits have shorter scuts compared to the ones who live in the wild. Some may have nothing on their backsides. It’s possibly because they experienced injury and lost their tail.
In some cases, though, you just have to carefully feel your rabbit’s tail. Although, it may not look like it’s there.
Gently run your hand through your rabbit’s back.
And as soon as you reach the buttocks part, you’ll feel a shock of fur that’s white underneath.
It’s not the case with newborn kits, though.
They’re technically born without their fluffy critters.
There sure is a tiny extension on top of their buttocks. But this needs 9 to 10 days before their scut develops.
Overall, you won’t find any mature rabbit without a tail.
#3: How long are rabbit tails?
Rabbit tails are usually 2 in (5.08 cm) on average. Large breeds like the Continental Giant Rabbit have long scuts as one remarkably had 6.7 in (17 cm). Meanwhile, smaller breeds like the Lionhead are shorter in tail length. But, since they all tuck their scut, the difference won’t be noticeable.
#4: What are rabbit tails made of?
A rabbit’s tail is made of a small bone that is connected to their spine. That makes it fragile and sensitive. There’s also a bit of muscle on it, so the tail can wag or move. Around it are veins that allow your rabbit to have a sensation when it’s touched.
“But why does the tail look like pom-poms?”
These can’t be observed right at your first glance.
It’s reasonable. Your furry friend’s rear is covered in dense, plushy fur.
But under that thick coat is a pointy extension. And it’s all flesh, muscle, bones, and veins.
Warning: Your rabbit’s tail is delicate. Be careful not to get it injured or stepped on as it can be extremely painful.
#5: Why are rabbit tails white?
Rabbits have white tails as a tool to distract their predators. As prey animals, they have to evolve so their species survive. This is especially so since they don’t have the sharpest teeth or claws. A white tail helps confuse the animal that’s pursuing them in their direction.
Dr. Semmann explains how your rabbit uses its white tail.
In a chase, your clever bunny darts back and forth.
They’ll draw the predator’s attention to themselves.
Then the white tuft is shown…
Once the focus is locked in, the rabbit moves in a different direction.
The tail is then flipped down, and the white spot vanishes.
It’ll take a second before the hunter regains their focus.
But before he knows it, the rabbit has already outrun him.
Let’s not forget. Rabbits are escape artists.
You may also want to check out: 21 Rabbit Predators + 11 Tips To Protect Your Bunny
#6: Do all rabbits have white tails?
Not all rabbits have white tails, more so if we talk about the domesticated ones. It’s a different case for them since selective breeding has affected their genetics. Meanwhile, wild bunnies will always maintain their white tail feature.
“What is selective breeding?”
Selective breeding is when rabbits are developed to have more fantastic colors.
As a result, the tail gets affected as well.
“Does it have health risks?”
Luckily, there are none. They are still generally healthy.
Like any normal rabbit, the tail, despite the color, will function the same.
It can wag and send a message clearly.
Plus, it can aid your rabbit in binky-ing.
“Is a non-white tail a disadvantage?”
It could be. It’s because they usually use their white tail to outsmart predators.
But, since he’s now living under your roof, it shouldn’t be a worry.
#7: What is the purpose of a rabbit’s tail?
Your rabbit’s tail helps them have a grip and balance whenever they have to move or hop around in zigzags. It’s a vital body part that aids them in doing their normal activities and movements. Since it’s a dynamic feature, rabbits also use it to communicate.
This multi-purpose tail is helpful in development, says expert Graham Hickman.
Aside from making a predator lose its focus from them, the tail also serves as a tool to:
- Communicate their emotions.
- Signal rabbits about imminent dangers.
- And a benchmark to understand their feelings.
Reading tip: 9 Surprising Reasons Why Rabbits Wag Their Tail
#8: What does it mean when a rabbit lifts its tail?
Rabbits lift their tail as a way to warn others about a predator or a perceived danger. They’ll raise it up high until the white fur is visible. Once your rabbit shows this stance, it suggests they are ready to flee. Or, if they’re cornered, the lifted tail shows an onset of an attack.
In some instances, it could mean they’re about to spray.
Unspayed rabbits will deliberately spread their scent.
This can make males crazy once they receive the invitation.
“When is mating season for rabbits?”
It starts around February or March. The duration lasts until September.
Yet even though your rabbit is not in heat, the same posture can be seen in rare instances.
They’ll lift up the tail and spray at you. It’s their way of saying, “I don’t like you.”
That’s a hint rabbit parents should crack like a code.
Perhaps buy them a new toy. Or bring them out more often in the garden.
I won’t say it’s easy to bribe your furry, demanding rabbit, though.
#9: What does it mean when a rabbit’s tail is down?
Your rabbit whose tail is down is being cautious or curious. They’ll slowly tip-toe around the territory with forwarding, upright ears, and a stretched-down tail. This posture would also mean they are ready to dash out in case they get scared.
This is normal behavior to expect. Rabbits are naturally interested in anything.
Prepare to see them acting like this when they’re in a new room.
Or if you placed a new chew toy in the corner.
Once they realize it’s another fun toy to play with, they’ll go bonkers.
Check out this adorable video of a curious bunny:
Also, the same tail behavior is observed when they’re afraid of something.
When it happens, your furry companion will be quick to go behind your furniture.
The neighbor’s feline or dog might’ve shocked them. Or they’re still trying to warm up with you.
In cases like this, it’s best to give them some space.
Anyway, they’ll come out the moment they hear you take a scoop of hay pellets.
#10: Why does a rabbit chase its tail?
Your rabbit chases their tail out of boredom. The lack of fun activities prompts them to look for ways to keep themselves preoccupied. Tail chasing means your rabbit needs to be let out in the yard to hop, play, and interact with others.
It could mean differently if a full-grown female rabbit does this, though.
This time, tail chasing could mean:
- Being in heat.
- Interest to mate.
Vocal cues and other body language, like tail raising, will be seen as well. These help confirm that your rabbit is experiencing their sexual nature.
If all these are not shown, then it could be a cause of concern.
This should tell rabbit parents to take action immediately.
It’s because your rabbit may need some time out of their space.
Also, do know that letting a rabbit have loads of pent-up energy is a recipe for disaster.
Warning: Too much boredom can take a toll on your rabbit’s health. This can lead to obesity, hairballs, and depression.
#11: Can a rabbit break its tail?
A rabbit’s tail can break if someone pulls it hard. This species’ tailbone is so tiny and fragile that it can instantly fall off in an attempt to pluck their fur out. Since the scut is connected to their spine, a broken tail can be very uncomfortable for your rabbit.
With that, it’s best if you don’t mess with the tail.
Try not to get tempted to see how long it can be.
Or play with it in any manner.
A simple tug can cause them injury.
And if it breaks, the tail may not be recovered.
There are other factors, too, like:
- Skin disease.
- Parasitic infection.
- And insufficient dietary fiber.
Improve what your rabbit eats. After all, they wouldn’t say no to fruits and vegetables.
Aside from giving them a healthy diet, enhance their lifestyle too.
Rabbits can break their tail if they’re:
- Or depressed.
The only time you shouldn’t worry too much about their tails breaking off is if they’re pregnant.
Your expectant bunny will do this to feel comfortable.
Fun fact: Baby bunnies who see their mother biting off their tail are most likely to do the same.
#12: Can a rabbit survive without a tail?
Rabbits can survive without a tail. Provided that they’re brought to the vet so the doctor can check the extent of the damage caused on their broken scut. Rabbits that are treated properly can continue to live normal lives.
Tailless domestic rabbits can be filled with contentment.
After all, their happiness can’t be taken away just because they lost their rear ends.
To add, they can simply go on with their usual activities. Let them hop or play around with their toys.
But, make sure that they don’t escape.
Take note that your little furry buddy can be sneaky. So, keep an eye on them.
Meanwhile, it can be concerning for a wild rabbit to lose their tail.
Well, they’re basically at the mercy of their predators.
The things they can do to escape are now limited.
And it’s either they hide in their hutch. Or run as fast as they can.
#13: Can a rabbit’s tail be pulled out?
Rabbits can have their tails pulled out. Considering how delicate their scuts is, mishandling them can cause them to lose it. Yanking them by their tail bone or even by their tail’s fur can detach it from their spine.
Thankfully, you can avoid this. Just gently handle your rabbit.
Just like a vintage China, your great-grandma has passed down to the family.
Also, teach your kids not to play roughly too.
This is because they can unknowingly harm your little friend.
With all their zest plus your rabbit’s enthusiasm, it can end pretty badly.
Well, only when they don’t know the dos and don’ts.
#14: Can a rabbit’s tail fall off?
Your rabbit’s tail won’t naturally fall off. This may happen randomly. It could be because your rabbit is experiencing physical or mental issues. They may groom themselves too much and realize too late that they have also lost their tail
It’s reasonable for you to speculate on several reasons.
Especially when you think your rabbit was acting normal.
But, understanding them more will make you know how they lost their precious tail.
It may look small and insignificant.
But, the process of it falling off can cause trauma to your furry companion.
Rabbits won’t cry, though. Yet you can see their pain through their faces.
#15: What happens if a rabbit’s tail falls off?
If your rabbit’s tail falls off, you’ll see a lot of bleeding in the area. They may also show signs of limping as they feel the pain caused by their frail nerves. However, when treated immediately, you can expect fast healing.
Rabbit moms and dads should always check their fluffy companions.
This is because emergencies can happen anytime and anywhere.
Don’t forget how mischievous bunnies are. They’ll do just about anything. Even without realizing that they’re causing harm to themselves.
“How do I know that something’s wrong?”
Your rabbit will display physical signs aside from limping like:
- Grinding teeth.
- A wiggling nose.
- Abnormal-looking tail.
- Missing fur on their scut.
- Changes in posture or gait.
There are also behavioral changes you can observe:
- A lack of appetite.
- Increase in breathing.
- Unwillingness to move.
Warning: Bring your rabbit to the vet immediately if they’re experiencing pain. When bleeding occurs, your rabbit can experience shock or even sudden death.
#16: Can a rabbit’s tail grow back?
Once your rabbit’s tail is severed, it’ll no longer grow back. Their scut is an extended bone connected to their spine, and once it’s gone, there’s nothing you can do about it. There’ll be a bit of discomfort around the area. But your rabbit can adjust to their tailless condition in time.
There are just a few cons for your tailless rabbit.
“What are they?”
Well, they wouldn’t be able to communicate by wagging anymore.
Their silly ways of telling you to “Back off” or “I don’t like you” won’t be witnessed through their tails. But rather through their vocal cues or another body language.
Well, there’s no use contemplating how to make your snowball grow their tail again.
Sure, They may have lost a part of them. But they’re no different than who they were with a tail.
#17: Why do bunnies tuck their tails?
When your rabbit tucks their tails, it means they’re being cautious. It’s their weakest and most vulnerable part, so they try to ensure that their scuts are safe between their legs. Also, tucking their tail is something they unconsciously do most of the time. Like when they’re eating or playing.
For some, they’d think that rabbits have pom-poms as their tails.
They may look round to you. But they’re actually not. Because underneath is a spiky end.
So, it’s just their fur making it look bushy and cute.
“Can I shave my rabbit’s tail?”
Well, you can. But it doesn’t mean you should.
Beauty-wise, it won’t look very appealing. It’s like wearing overalls with an exposed butt.
#18: Do rabbits like their tails being touched?
Some rabbits won’t mind having their tails touched. This depends, however, on how much they trust you. If you’re both still getting to know each other, your rabbit won’t let you touch him anywhere that he can’t see.
It also depends on your bunny’s personality.
While some are nice, others can be quite feisty.
So, know your bunny. Or else, you’ll experience how it feels to be bitten.
“Do rabbits have rabies?”
Well, a study shows they can have rabies.
It happens when they’re bitten by a raccoon or other rabid animals.
“How do I know that my rabbit is infected with rabies?”
There are hints you can look out for according to AVMA:
- Unusual behavior.
#19: Do rabbit tails extend?
Rabbits extend their tail whenever they feel relaxed. They’ll lay down and show the full length of their scut since they feel secure and safe. Often, this happens when they’re around their family or if they’re on their runs.
It’s a sort of a compliment once you see your rabbit exposing their tail.
They could be right on your lap or somewhere beside you.
Wherever they are, as long as they’re near you – your rabbit is expressing how much they like you.
“How would I be sure of that?”
Well, it’s all in the tail.
Read more:17 Ways To Tell Your Rabbit Likes You (Check Out #7)