Do Rabbits Shed?

Find out if rabbits shed in this Howcast video featuring bunny lover Amy Sedaris and rabbit expert Mary E. Cotter.

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Rabbits make wonderful pets. If you're thinking of getting one, check out these videos: Actress Amy Sedaris, who is a loving mom to her own pet bunny, helps rabbit expert Mary E. Cotter, Ed.D., LVT answer all your questions about how to take care of a pet rabbit. It's not always easy, but it's worth the work.

 
 

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So many people ask, "Do rabbits shed?" And the answer to that is, "When do they not shed?" Actually they shed several times a year and there's a little debate about how often and how much each different breed sheds, and I brought an example today. His name is Bean. This is a little Netherlands Dwarf. Bean is in the middle of a typical rabbit shed, which often starts at the head of the rabbit, and you see the pattern going toward the back of the rabbit, as the hair is removed. When rabbits shed, you can help them a lot by getting a nice flea comb, this style. This style, you can see it has hair in it that is held by the rubber. I brought the comb with the hair already in it so you can see that easily. And I'm going to show you now a typical way to comb a rabbit to help them get rid of the fur that their bodies are trying to eliminate. Bean is washing his face right now, so we'll give him the courtesy of a moment. Turn him around. You can see a little bit of the shed pattern on Bean, if I show you his back here. Would you let us look at your back? Excuse me. Show everybody you beautiful back. Here we go. I'm going to stand him up a little bit. Do you see this pattern here? Bean's shedding from the front to the back. And with a flea comb, you can get out an awful lot of hair that he will otherwise ingest. Very helpful. Most rabbits do not love this, but it helps to keep the hair in the stomach to a minimum as they groom themselves. And you get a lot out with this kind of comb. We can make a mound of hair the size of Bean within a very few minutes here, which we're not going to do because this is a short video. Right, Bean? But this is just a quick demo of what you can do with the right tools. When rabbits shed, you're going to get the hair in your nose, your mouth, your clothing, as I have here, and you can clean yourself with one of those sticky tape instruments or a regular brush designed to take hair off you, or you can dip your hand in a little bit of water, rub your hands together, rub your hands over your clothing, and you'll be able to pick up pieces of fur from your clothing, and you can do the same thing to the rabbit. Rub your hands over the rabbit. Pick up hair that way. Just another, if you don't have a flea comb available, another way to get hair off. And finally, you can actually pluck a rabbit's fur when he's in a heavy shed, as Bean is. And usually the hair is most pluck-able toward the end of the shed pattern. Bean will do anything to get out of this. You can actually just take that much hair at a time. And it speeds the process if you're trying to get as much grooming done in as little time. It's a little less enjoyable for the rabbit than brushing is, but it is much more effective than using any of these little tools. You can actually just pull out chunks of hair like this. Again, wet your hand, roll it into little pieces, and it will drop right off your hand. So that's the answer to "Do rabbits shed?" Do they ever stop shedding? You don't, do you? Rex rabbits shed somewhat less, and Gora rabbits may shed somewhat less, but I haven't seen yet a single breed that truly doesn't shed. So if you're thinking about getting a rabbit as a pet because you're worried about getting another animal that sheds, you might want to think again. This animal definitely does shed. We love them, but they do shed.

Expert

  • Mary E. Cotter

    Mary E. Cotter, M.A., Ed.D., LVT is the founder of the NY-based Rabbit Rescue & Rehab. She serves as chapter manager of the NYC House Rabbit Society and is vice president of the International House Rabbit Society. Involved with rabbit rescue since 1982, she speaks and writes frequently on rabbit-related topics, addressing owners, veterinary professionals and shelter workers. Mary is an adjunct assistant professor in the veterinary technology department of LaGuardia Community College (City University of New York) and co-manages a 7,000-member Internet mailing list focused on rabbit health, care and behavior.