Rabbit Mag

Do All Bunny Rabbits Shed? – Rabbit Shedding Patterns Explained

Do rabbits shed their fur? The answer to this question may surprise you. Contrary to popular belief, rabbits do not shed their fur constantly. They only shed a small amount of fur each year. This means that if your rabbit is appropriately groomed, it should not require much more than a weekly brushing to keep the coat looking fluffy and healthy.

We all know that rabbits shed, but do we know how much they shed and how to minimize the mess? Keep reading to learn more! In this post, we’ll break down everything you need to know about rabbit shedding, from how much they typically lose to the best ways to clean it up.

Do All Rabbits Shed?

Yes. All rabbits shed, and most continue to do so for their lives. A small percentage of rabbits will never shed during their lives, but these are not as common as those that do shed.

Rabbits Shed Skin and Hair

Bunnies will only shed hair on their head every couple of months or so. The rest of their body sheds skin cells continuously. This shedding process is called molting. Healthy adult rabbits who have been eating a nutritionally balanced diet from a young age will continue to molt throughout their lives. Rabbits bred for meat or fur coats may stop losing altogether or become more prone to a condition similar to a human going bald with age, but this is usually due to malnutrition from low-grade feed rather than genetics.

In addition to skin, rabbits shed fur as well. A rabbit’s coat consists of guard hairs and fine, downy undercoat hairs called vellus hair. The guard hairs protect the rabbit from abrasion by acting as a shield against outside elements. These guard hairs are pretty coarse in most breeds, but some rabbits have noticeably softer coats that require more grooming to prevent mats from forming in the fur. The longer guard hairs can become entangled with vellus hair during molting and cause a bunny to look like they have clumps of hair coming out rather than shedding correctly. This is not a serious problem since it only lasts for about ten days until the bunny’s coat starts over.

Understanding Molting Phases

Although all rabbits shed somewhat throughout their lives, they will not be shedding continuously. For most rabbits, this is because their molting cycle only lasts about ten days before they start growing new fur. 

The other reason a rabbit may not be seen to shed often is grooming habits. If a rabbit has long hair, it will have to lick off the loose undercoat hairs so that the other hairs do not tangle together and mat up after molting. 

Some breeds are more likely to require extra grooming than others since they have longer coats, but any breed can theoretically need extra grooming if it gets too matted for whatever reason. A rabbit’s molting cycle happens in two phases.


The first phase is called anagen. This is when the rabbit’s body produces new hair follicles so that skin cells are constantly being sloughed off faster than they are being replaced, ensuring shedding all over the entire body every ten days or so even if no one can see it happening. During anagen, most rabbits will shed hair everywhere all over their bodies with increased activity and may seem to be shedding more than usual, even though this time has been pretty consistent for most of their whole lives.


This second phase of molting is called catagen. It occurs after about ten days, during which the rabbit is shifting existing hairs into its next life stage and then stops replacing them with new ones. The rabbit’s coat will look nearly the same as it did before molting, but there may be a few tiny hairs poking out here and there that are just starting to grow in. This is because, during anagen, all hair follicles are being pushed into growth mode, but once the anagen cycle is over, these new hairs have not had time to go through the skin yet entirely.

After this second growth phase has ended, some rabbits may be seen scratching against surfaces to help loosen their old coats faster for easier shedding. This action may never occur for other breeds simply because they shed more slowly or groom themselves off instead of pulling loose fur apart with their feet as some species do. Although all rabbits will eventually shed hair from all over their bodies, rabbits living in colder climates will have a thicker winter coat than those living in warm ones.

Do Bunny Rabbits Shed Year All Year Round? – Standard Rabbit Shedding Patterns

In the wild, rabbits generally stick to one or two coats throughout most of the year, depending on the climate.

Hot weather

They will be seen rolling around in the dirt and losing grasses during hot days to help cool themselves off. This also spreads natural oils produced by glands around their bodies. Water evaporating off of them is more likely to form droplets rather than simply carrying away body heat with it into the atmosphere. These oils then collect dust while rolling through the deep grass, which creates an ideal environment for shedding out old hair while loosening up new ones.

Cold weather

During cold weather, rabbits will generally grow denser coats with longer hairs to help keep them insulated. These extra-long hairs also collect dust and debris during dry spells, even when the wild grasses do not seem deep enough for rolling around in, though. Most domestic rabbit breeds shed throughout the year no matter what season it is except these heavier winter coats, which only exist during colder climates and more relaxed times. Since conditions vary dramatically from one country or state to another, these seasonal differences may only be relative unless a breed has been developed that stays consistent for all regions.

Why Do Rabbits Shed?

Rabbits shed as a response to seasonal changes or as a way of ridding their bodies of grime and loosening new growth. If they are shedding more than usual, it may be because other factors such as diet and climate have changed enough to affect the rate at which their skin is replaced.

Most rabbits will chew off loose fur if they can reach it and groom themselves all over with their tongues as cats do. Although this helps typically prevent tangles from forming, extra grooming done by owners can help too since it stimulates blood flow and helps loosen even more hair for easier molting.

How Can I Tell if My Rabbit is Molting Naturally?

As long as you do not see patches of fur that are utterly bald with skin showing through, molting occurs naturally in healthy rabbits. Overgrown nails and filthy ears should be the only things to make a rabbit look like they need grooming when their coat is otherwise standard.

It can be hard to tell if these things are happening on an individual basis, though, since it takes time for them to build up. If your bunny’s hair does seem unusually thin in some places, the chances are that this has just happened because he or she was rolling around in dry grass more often than usual due to warm weather.

Rabbit Shedding Tips

Although rabbits will instinctively lick themselves off after shedding, most domesticated breeds have been trained that human hands are more effective at freeing old hair from their bodies.

Be careful with how much loose fur you remove, though, since rabbits may not groom the rest of themselves as well after being subjected to a massive amount of fur removal.

Loose fur on a rabbit is also something that experienced hands should only remove since it can be easy for even owners to accidentally cut skin.

How Much is Shedding Normal in a Rabbit?

Most rabbits will lose around 10% of their coat during the normal shedding process. Unless your bunny seems thinner than usual or has trouble moving due to excess fur, this much loss should not cause concern.

Rabbits in good health and feel comfortable in their environment should never seem unpleasantly thin no matter how much they lose when molting.

Do Rabbits Shed a Lot in the Spring and Fall?

Many rabbits will start shedding their winter coats during springtime, while others continue to shed throughout the fall until they develop new ones.

Some breeds such as Angoras can take several months to ultimately grow new hair for winter if it has been hot that year.

If your rabbit breed has not developed heavier coats by November, you should see signs of molting before then unless warmer weather has extended the growing season significantly.

Why is My Rabbit Molting Out of Season?

If your rabbit’s fur is starting to come off earlier than expected, you should take a look at how their climate and diet have been recent if the weather has been hot for a long time at your location.

If your bunny is being fed less food than usual from being given treats instead of daily pellets, this could be the cause. Rabbits that do not receive enough nutrition will use more energy to grow their coats during molting seasons and may therefore shed out of season.

Should I Brush a Rabbit’s Fur When Molting?

Rabbits should be handled gently when molting occurs to prevent them from accidentally being cut by long, loose hairs.

Grooming and fur removal will help your pet get back into a comfortable position and help you avoid pulling on their skin.

This is especially important for rabbits that shed in patches since hair pieces can quickly become tangled if they are not removed regularly.

Breeds Most Affected by Abnormal Molting

Many breeds such as Angoras or Rexes tend to grow unusually thick coats during specific times of the year, which means molts may get disrupted more often. 

Other breeds like Lionheads will constantly feel heavier than usual, even if they do not seem much more significant due to thicker winter coats. Although this breed sheds typically twice per year, their long fur can quickly become matted if not regularly brushed.

How Do I Know if My Rabbit is Unhealthy?

Signs that your rabbit is sick can include hair loss that is more extensive than a molting season or comes in clusters instead of patches.

A lack of appetite, lethargy and sneezing are other signs that your pet may need to see a veterinarian soon since they could be experiencing difficulty breathing through more prominent noses due to the weight of excess coats. Rabbits with health problems may also have trouble moving during shedding seasons because their bodies feel heavy with extra fur.

What is Typical Rabbit Molting Behavior?

Typical behavior includes spending more time in rest during molting seasons. This is because they use extra energy to grow new coats and usually need much more sleep than usual. Other normal behavior may include trying to find unfurled pieces of hay or grass so your bunny can eat easier instead of chewing the tough stems that are still wrapped together.

Most rabbits do not always brush their fur when growing new coats between seasons. Rabbits that live in cold climates may avoid touching themselves since the air is usually dry, and it can be easier for these rabbits to remove molting fur by simply shaking instead of combing.

Can I Prevent My Rabbit from Shedding in Winter?

Rabbits that live indoors and do not experience temperature changes or natural light patterns throughout the year should be fed grass hay or timothy hay to help them stay active and prevent their coats from turning soft and unkempt.

Changing the quality of the hay you provide your pet can also help them develop healthier coats and avoid itchy skin or unusual shedding.

Is It Dangerous for a Rabbit to Eat the Fur That It Sheds?

Although some breeds like Angoras or Rexes may eat large amounts of fur shed, most rabbits do not ingest enough fur to cause significant problems.

There are times when this habit can become excessive if the animal starts pulling out their fur instead of eating it or if they develop an unhealthy attachment to small pieces of hay or grass.

Suppose your rabbit continues to eat their molting coat excessively while putting off new coats. In that case, you should take them for a checkup at the vet’s office since this behavior could indicate intestinal discomfort.

Rabbit Patchy Shedding

Patchy shedding is a common problem in many rabbits if their molting seasons are interrupted.

This is especially true for Angoras and Rexes that constantly grow thick coats throughout the year. If your pet starts to lose large tufts of fur, check them thoroughly for injuries or signs of illness such as sneezing or wheezing. Rabbits that begin to lose patches on their skin may end up with bald spots, which can become itchy and irritated without protection from natural oils and body heat.

If your rabbit starts to lose patches of fur during regular molting times, they simply might be growing new coats too quickly. Brushing them more often will help circulate blood through the skin and make it easier for your pet to get rid of all loose hair.

If your rabbit continues to pull out patches of fur without regular molting seasons, check them for symptoms of illness. Providing hay or grass that is easier to eat for your pet may also help prevent stomach upset when they are not used to eating so much.

How to Reduce Rabbit Shedding?

Before you can reduce shedding in rabbits, it is essential to determine what coat your pet has since this will help you find the best ways to keep fur from accumulating everywhere. Most rabbits have two distinct molting seasons each year caused by shorter days and lack of sunlight.

This means that your pet may need a lot more grooming attention during autumn or winter when they are losing heavy coats for the spring and summertime. If your rabbit sheds at other times throughout the year besides these standard molts, check them for common issues such as gastrointestinal discomfort caused by overeating hay before their successive scheduled molt or problems with weight gain.

Provide Your Pet with Healthier Hay

Hay naturally loses nutritional value as it dries out, leading rabbits that eat it to gain weight or become malnourished.

Changing the types of hay, you provide your pet will help them experience changes throughout the year since younger plants are usually more tender and taste better.

Brush Your Rabbit More Often

Rabbit fur is naturally thick, so brushing their coats frequently is one of the easiest ways to get rid of loose hair before it gets everywhere in your home.

Brushing during scheduled molting times will also make it easier for your pet to remove dead hairs and circulate blood through their skin instead of pulling out loose strands with their teeth. If you brush too much during these molt seasons, rabbits with coarse coats like Angoras or Rexes may end up removing healthy coat hairs with the dead strands.


To conclude, rabbits and other animals with similar fur coats will experience periods of heavy shedding, especially in certain seasons.

Brushing your pet more often may help with this problem, yet over-brushing or molting season could remove too many soft hairs from their coat, causing bald patches.

Before resorting to medication such as anti-dandruff shampoo for rabbits, make sure to check them thoroughly for health problems and change their diet if they eat grass or hay frequently.

It is essential to determine your rabbit’s coat type and molting seasons before reducing shedding problems. Brushing more often during scheduled molts and providing them with healthier hay will help your pet shed easier without needing so much assistance.

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