Question Hi. I am writing, because my grandson's rabbit gave birth to 5 kits yesterday morning. 1 was dead when we found them, 1 died overnight, 1 was still alive, but she ate the legs and ears off the last 2. My question is; how much pain do these babies feel when they're being eaten alive? We took the last baby from her, even though we know it will probably die, we feel it will be better than it being tortured by the mother.
Answer Dear Bonnie,
I am sorry about the tragic loss of the baby bunnies.
It is impossible to know what pain the babies feel. The mother was not doing this out of aggression. A stressed, young mother rabbit who feels trapped will overgroom her babies to the point of mutilation. The fact that she did this suggests that the conditions of the birth were less than ideal.
which will help prevent a situation like this from happening again.
As for the lone survivor, it would probably be most humane to take him to a vet for gentle, humane euthanasia if all four legs are gone. It will be pretty much impossible for him to live a normal life unless someone is willing to carry him around and give him 24-hour care. You can find a vet here:
I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:
RULE #1: THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.
If your rabbits is LETHARGIC
If your rabbit is NOT EATING
If your rabbit is PHYSICALLY INJURED (including broken bones)
I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years.
I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM.
I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.
Organizations Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president
National House Rabbit Society (Board member)
Publications Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide
Education/Credentials Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English
Awards and Honors Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology