How Can I Determine My Rabbit's Sex?

I hope to add some photographs soon, but until then, I hope this helps you solve the mystery of What To Name the Bunny.

Sit in a comfortable chair and hold the bunny in your lap for a few minutes. When bunny is calm, gently cradle him/her with belly up and head, chest and back curled against your abdomen, and hind feet facing away from you. Be sure to firmly support the back, and don't allow the bunny to kick. A rabbit's hind legs and back muscles are so powerful and his skeleton so light (rabbits are built for quick getaway!) that one kick in a bad position can result in a spinal luxation or fracture!

The prepuce is the fuzzy protuberance between the hind legs. Gently press down on the anterior part of it (the side facing you), and the pink tissue of the vulva will emerge. In a young female, the vulva will look somewhat conical, with a slit running from the tip, backwards towards the tail. In an older female, the tissue may be more "fleshy", but the slit is still generally from tip towards the back.

To the uninitiated, the vulva can look like a pointed penis, especially if the female is sexually mature and not spayed. But in most females, two very visible, red blood vessel beds pointing towards the anterior of the vagina distinguish the vulva from the foreskin or penis of the male. These two reddish streaks can help you distinguish a female from a male even in very very tiny bunnies.

If the rabbit is a young male, the pink tissue will appear more like a cylinder with a small hole in the center. If he's starting to mature, the tip of the penis may protrude. A neutered male's penis will usually not be large enough to protrude, though this is not always the case.

A mature, unneutered male will have large, obvious testicles (More than one inexperienced bunny parent has mistaken the testicles for tumors on their "female" rabbit, prompting HRS Educator Kevin to dub them BLTs (Bilateral Perineal Testiculomas).

The testicles are rather hairless, pink or grey with an obvious network of small blood vessels running across the surface of the scrotum (the skin sac enclosing the testicles). The scrotum enclosing the somewhat "sausage shaped" bunny jewels starts in front of the prepuce and curves backwards towards the tail. If the bunny is frightened, he may retract the testicles, making them hard to see. (Wouldn't you?)

A very complete and well illustrated guide to sexing your rabbit can be found at The House Rabbit Network's Guide to Sexing Your Rabbit.

If you're still in doubt, take your bunny to a rabbit-experienced veterinarian for positive sexing. And don't forget to schedule a spay (female) or neuter (male) when bunny is old enough. That's as soon as the testicles drop for a male (about 4-5 months of age), and 7-12 months of age for a female. We prefer to wait longer for females, as estrogen is important for proper skeletal development.

Many studies have shown that spayed/neutered animals live longer, healthier lives, on average, than intact ones. Do you bunny a favor and schedule this procedure with your trusted veterinarian as soon as your bunny is old enough.

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