It’s a fact that there’s no easy way to tell the age of a rabbit. It is certainly not possible to clock the lifespan of a rabbit down to a specific date or number of years. However, looking at some basic hints, you should be able to determine whether the rabbit is young (birth to adolescence), adult, or elderly. In reality, with a little more research, you can figure out if a rabbit is very young, a child, or a young adult, but that’s as far as you can go with the guesswork.
So are you wondering how to tell how old a baby bunny is? Especially if you have got a cottontail male rabbit. How do you tell me how old they are? This handy guide should break it down in all its detail! We’re going to walk you through the phases of cottontail rabbit growth so you can see if your cottontail is mature enough to go back to the wild, or whether it really needs to be taken care of by a mom or a rehabilitator.
Newborn: Cottontails have a dark grey-black body and a bright pink or white translucent underside. Their eyes are closed while their ears are closed and flush on their face. They are 16 – 23 grams in weight and about 2″ in circumference. Newborns cannot live without their mother’s milk, and it is important to determine whether these babies are being taken care of still by their mother, or whether they have really been neglected and are in need of recovery.
Four to Five Days Old: At this point, the fur has changed from black to agouti (natural colour) and will begin to look more like baby rabbits than rodents. Their hair is smooth and shiny across their skins. Their eyes are still locked, but their ears are beginning to get out of the body. They will weigh about 23 – 25 grams and be about 3″ tall. Despite this age, cottontails will still not survive without the mother’s milk.
Seven to Nine Days Old: Close to a 4 – 5 day old cottontail, there shouldn’t be too much difference at this point. The eyes will start to open, and they might look like little slits. The ears begin to move away from the body, and the ear canal expands, which means that the cottontail can now be heard. The fur is still meant to be slippery against the fur. Their weight should now be 35 – 40 grams and should be 3″ or higher. In this photo, a 7 – day old cottontail is compared to a 5cc syringe. Despite this age, cottontails will still not survive without the mother’s milk.
Ten Days Old: The eyes are now open, and the legs are away from the mouth and are beginning to rise up. The cottontail can hear and see right now. Their hair is still shiny around their skins. We should now weigh more than 40 – 55 grams and be longer than 3″ — he should fit in your palm, but not fill your hand. At this age, cottontails are still very reliant on mother’s milk, but they’re beginning to nibble on dried grass.
Two Weeks Old: The fur will begin to stand up and be less slippery on the body. The eyes and ears are spread wide. They should weigh more than 55 – 70 grams and be 4″ or longer – he should fit in your palm, but not full your mouth.
Two and a Half Weeks Old: Cottontails are supposed to start appearing “fluffy” at this point. They should weigh 70 grams and be more than 4-4 1/2′′ long–they will fit in your palm, but not fill your pocket. At this age, cottontails are still very much reliant on mother’s milk, but they will be nibbling on dried grass.
Three Weeks Old: At this point, their hair should stick a little more out of their legs, and they should begin to appear to have natural rabbit fur. Cottontails at this age will consume good foods – grasses, weeds, fruits, and vegetables – and now weigh more than 70-80 grams. They’re supposed to be 4 – 4 1/2″ long – he’s supposed to fit in your palm and almost fill your side.
They should still be able to be treated without shaking too much of your palm. Although they may look like tiny copies of humans, they are not yet ready to be released back to the wild. Cottontails at this age will begin to leave the nest to find food but will stay in the field and return to their nest during the night.
Three and a half weeks old: At this stage, your rabbits will be expected to have hair that sticks away from their body, eyes, and ears clear and alert. Their legs are expected to rise out from their head. They are now completely weaned and eat natural food -grasses, plants, fruits, and vegetables. They will weigh 80 – 120 grams and be 41/2-5″ tall, about the size of a tennis ball.
We are now at the point when they can be released back into the wild. Rabbits still in their nests may roam around outside their nests and be left alone if they do not look wounded or otherwise affected.
Four to Five Weeks Old: By nowt, it will look like a small representation of a human. Fur sticks out from the body like an adult bunny, the ears are straight up from the head, the eyes are sharp, and people should be cautious and careful. They’re supposed to weigh 150 + grams and span between 5 – 7″ long – greater than a softball and fill both hands.
Adults: Cottontails weigh 2 – 3 pounds and are typically 15 – 20″ tall. Rabbits at this point will have learnt to be very cautious of humans and are now in reproductive age.
What Age will a Bunny Eat Food?
Up to the age of about two months, a young bunny enjoys something identical to an adult bunny. Hay is meant to be the most important part of your young bunny’s diet. Grass hay or meadow hay may be added first. It’s perfect for the bunny’s bladder, and it’s nice for the food he wants.
You can also decide to feed alfalfa to your rabbit as well. People can often confuse alfalfa with grass. It looks similar, but alfalfa is sometimes referred to as purple medication or lucerne. It’s a seasonal herb, like clover, in the pea family. Mix the hay with the alfalfa if you don’t want your bunny to consume just alfalfa. It tastes so good to have a rabbit!
The major distinction between an adult bunny diet and a young bunny diet is that a younger rabbit requires more calcium. Usually, 16 per cent of the rabbit feed should be protein. It’s best to buy food to make sure the bunny gets the right amount of protein.
Go gently on your pellets.
Bunnies can easily get addicted to them. Consuming too many pellets can eventually cause the bunny not to want hay as a feeding option, that is an important part of his diet. Your rabbit may also have tooth issues swallowing so many pellets.
At What Age Can a Bunny Drink Water?
Little bunnies have been drinking milk from their parents for up to 8 weeks. After two months, they’ll start drinking water from their mother’s bottle of water. In fact, rabbits drink a lot of water, roughly 10% of their body weight. A four-pound rabbit will consume as much water as a 22-pound dog! If your bunny doesn’t drink enough water, follow these ideas to get him to drink:
- Keep the water safe, and healthy – Rabbits enjoy warm, nutritious water. Clean the bunny bath or sipper cup with warm water and dish detergent at least once a week. Well, rinse. Clean your bunny’s water bowl can inhibit the growth of bacteria or spores that could cause your bunny sick.
- Cups are better – Bunny rabbits prefer to use more of a bowl. They have an odd habit of throwing out their water bowls, so be sure to buy a heavy metal tub. Test the bowl all day to make sure there’s enough water to keep your hungry bunny satisfied.
- Sipper bottles are also an option to be considered. Just bear in mind that you’re going to have to show your rabbit how to drink from a sipper jar. Smear the favourite food of your bunny on the sipper bottle bottom. He’ll eat smeared food and get a drink at the same time. Eventually, he’ll automatically go to the bottle for water. Just keep an eye out just in case your rabbit gets hiccups from the air in the bottle.
- Leafy greens help – Leafy greens are filled with water. Provide the bunny with leafy green plants such as roman, parsley, or mustard greens to assist with its nutrient’s intake.