How do rabbits mate?


Quick Answer

Rabbits mate when the male rabbit, known as the buck, mounts the female rabbit, known as the doe, from behind. When mating is finished, the buck throws himself off of the doe backward.

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Full Answer

In the wild, cottontail rabbits attract a mate with a ritual mating dance in which the male chases the female until she turns around and hits him with her front paws. They repeat this until they jump into the air one after the other as a signal that the ritual is finished. When the ritual is complete, the rabbits complete the mating process.

In captivity, breeders place the doe into the buck's cage. The buck should not be placed into the doe's cage because does tend to be very territorial. The rabbits will sometimes circle one another before mating. It is best for the breeder not to intervene and allow mating to occur naturally, but sometimes a little coercion, such as lifting the doe's hindquarters or removing fur that may hinder the buck's ability to mate, helps the process along.

The cottontail breeding season ranges from February to September each year. The gestational period is 30 days long, so this allows the doe to produce four to five litters each year.

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