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Rabbits/Phantom preg or winter nesting?


My permanent indoor California rabbit is almost 2 years old (in Dec.) and un-altered, She has NEVER ever been near another rabbit since the day I got her 1 1/2 years ago, and I never plan to let her. She is healthy, super sweet, happy, eats, and drinks well. She does her normal rabbit activities, all except(She has never done this before) yesterday I noticed at 2 am she started digging and building a hay nest ( I free feed tons of timothy hay). Today I noticed that there was fur in her hay nest and saw some hanging out her mouth so I pulled it out and there was more and more, I pulled out enough hay to make a white mini lop. She playfully grabbed it out of my hand and immediately ran to her new nest, then continued to get more from her belly. This amount of fur is not her normal shedding fur. I have done 8 hours of research online about this and the results lead toward phantom pregnancy or building a winter nest. What do you think is going on? P.S. I have checked her temp, heart rate, checked her over and over again for abnormalities, even in her mouth and have been keeping close tabs on her everything is normal except for this new thing she has never done before.

Hi Cilla,

Phantom pregnancies are extremely common in unaltered rabbits.  The best thing to do would be to get her spayed.  Not only would it stop this behavior but it would protect her from uterine cancer which is extremely common in female rabbits.  The phantom pregnancy itself is not going to hurt her but she may become cage aggressive if she thinks she is protecting phantom babies.

Good luck



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Paula Murdock-Briggs


I am a licensed American Rabbit Breeders Registrar. I do not show rabbits anymore nor do I breed them. I do believe it is important that people that chose to breed rabbits do so with only purebred and genetically sound animals or that they have a thorough understanding of genetics prior to breeding. I have chosen to keep my registars license to help the 4H youth in my area. I do stay current on all breeds, varieties, show rules, regulations of the ARBA. I have spent the past 8 years focusing on rescuing and caring for PET bunnies who were no longer wanted. I am the current CEO of Little Angels Animal Sanctuary, Inc. I was appointed CEO of the rescue organization and sanctuary in 2008. We gained our 501(c)3 IRS tax exemption status in 2012. We have taken on the task of rescuing unwanted PET rabbits as well as some farm animals. I teach genetics and health to the local youth as well as register and promote the breeding of only purebred and genetically sound animals. I rescue PET rabbits. These are rabbits that lived in peoples homes and were either surrendered to us or sent to the auction for meat. While I believe that all bunnies should be pets, I understand that people raise them for other reasons. I will answer questions from anyone, regardless of their purpose. I will reject any questions that are considered unethical or inhumane.

Little Angels Animal Sanctuary.

President and CEO of Little Angels Animal Sanctuary, Inc. I have over 10 years of experience working closely with a veterinarian that treats rabbits. We have studied and treated nearly every illness that can affect rabbits.

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