Rabbits are adorable creatures, and baby rabbits can be very cute. If your female rabbit recently birthed a litter, you may be waiting impatiently for when the kittens open their eyes. It would be best if you were patient though, as this process can take some time, depending on the breed of the rabbit.
If you’re wondering when baby rabbits open their eyes, well the average time it takes for newborn kits to open their eyes after birth is about 10 to 12 days. Some baby rabbits open their eyes earlier than that and some later. A delay may depend on the breed of the rabbit, or in a more worrisome case, a health issue.
Why Are Baby Bunnies Eyes Closed For Days After Their Birth?
As the proud and happy owner of newly born rabbits, there are two things that will be uppermost on your mind – what you will fee them and when they will open their eyes to explore the world. I found this young rabbit food is the best option for solving the first problem. It is high in fibre and protein. It is also guaranteed to help young animals to properly grow and develop.
Now, if you are anxiously waiting for them to open their eyes, you may be wondering if there is any reason why their eyes should be closed after birth.
There are indeed reasons for this, and they include:
To protect the kittens’ eyes from harm
Baby rabbits’ eyes are fragile and delicate organs, more so since they are not fully developed yet. They will be subject to harm from various things and circumstances.
Kits in a litter may damage each other’s eyes while wriggling around. Aside from that, wind or even bright light can hurt and damage a newborn rabbit’s eyes. Keeping their eyes closed until they are well developed is nature’s way of protecting them.
To protect the kitten’s mother
Pregnancy can take a great toll on a doe, in the same way with human females and many other mammals. In the wild, nursing does leave their kits in the nest for a good part of the day, only coming back to feed them once or twice a day.
The kits do not need eyes to stay by themselves in the nest, and so, most of the doe’s energy is targeted at developing them to live outside her body after birth – not just eat them. After birth, their mother can then leave them alone in the nest while she goes off to search for food.
This way, she will not need to take her kits with her, and so, she will have a better chance of surviving in the wild while she goes about her business.
How long do baby bunnies keep their eyes closed For After Their Birth?
You can expect your baby bunnies to open their eyes about 10-12 days after they are born. However, opening their eyes does not mean that they will be able to see clearly. A kit’s eyes keep developing even after it opens them, and so, while it may be able to see things that are very close to it, say, for instance, its litter-mates, it will not be able to see things that are afar off.
It will take some weeks before a baby rabbit can see as well as its parents, following the period of pregnancy. In some rabbit breeds, the length of time could be longer, taking some rabbits as long as two months for it to see clearly. The same goes for rabbits with some health challenges. During these weeks, the rabbit’s eyes will keep developing, and the muscles in them will be strengthened to provide the animal with a clear and sharp vision.
While your kits’ eyes are still developing, you should take care to keep bright lights away. Bright lights can cause damage to their eyes, even if they have not yet opened them.
Should I Open The Eyes Of My Baby Bunny?
Sometimes, by the 12th day after your baby bunny is born, it may still not open its eyes. This can be a cause of alarm and worry. However, no matter how worried you are, you should never take it upon yourself to force the kit’s eyes open. You will be doing far more damage than good if you attempt this.
Forcing your rabbit’s eyes open when they are not fully developed could destroy its facial nerves, eyes, or eyelids, which can lead to dangerous problems like blindness, paralysis, and worse, death.
If you notice that it is taking a longer time than is normal for your baby bunny to open its eyes, you should take it to the vet. The vet will examine the animal to know if there are any problems and advise you on what to do.
Final Thoughts on When Baby Rabbits Open Their Eyes?
Baby rabbits are very delicate animals as they are born hairless, blind, and deaf. Their eyes, in particular, are very delicate, and any mishandling could cause them serious problems. You should avoid handling newborn kits and do not try to open their eyes as it is normal for them to be born with their eyes closed.
Also, keep bright lights away from the kits and care adequately for the nursing doe as she is in the best position to give the kits all the care that they require during this period.
By the 10th to 12th day after your baby bunnies are born, you should see them open their eyes.