How to Tell the Age of a Wild Rabbit

Have you ever seen a wild rabbit hopping through a field or forest and wondered – how old is that bunny? Rabbits go through dramatic changes in their first months of life. Determining the age of a wild rabbit takes keen observation of physical traits and behaviors. From helpless, furless newborns to energetic juveniles to mature adults, rabbits display distinct characteristics at each stage. Join me as we explore the milestones of a rabbit’s early development and learn how to distinguish the subtle signs of aging in grown rabbits. Whether you find a nest of baby bunnies or spot a wise old hare, this guide will help you determine the approximate age and maturity of these charming yet elusive creatures.

What Does a Newborn Rabbit Look Like?

Newborn rabbits, called kittens, are born hairless, blind, and deaf. They typically weigh between 30-35 grams and are about 2 inches long at birth. Their skin will be pink in color.

Kittens are born with a very thin layer of fur known as the birth coat. The birth coat continues to grow thicker over the first week. By around day 10, they will be fully furred. Their fur is very short, soft and dense. It is typically grayish in color.

Newborn wild rabbits do not have the white star-shaped mark on their forehead that domesticated rabbits have. The ears are folded down on their bodies and their eyes are sealed shut. Their hind legs are underdeveloped at birth so they will be unable to hop around.

Kittens only exhibit crawling behavior for the first two weeks of life. They have limited mobility and may only crawl within a five inch radius. The mother rabbit, called a doe, is very protective during this stage. She nurses the kittens for a just a few minutes once or twice a day. The rest of the time the kittens will be hidden away in a nest on their own.

By the end of the second week, a kitten will weigh between 85-100 grams. Their fur coat will be more visible but still short. At this stage, they gradually open their eyes. The eyes open earlier in wild rabbits compared to domesticated. Between day 7-10, their eyes will open. The eyes will be blue-gray and hazy in the beginning. Their vision will improve significantly in the third week.

What Does a Two-Week Old Rabbit Look Like?

At two weeks of age, a baby wild rabbit is starting to develop but still remains completely dependent on its mother. Here are some of the characteristics of a two week old wild rabbit:

  • Weighs between 85-100 grams. Body is 3-4 inches long.

  • Has fur over body but still short in length. Fur on head and body is grayish in color.

  • Eyes are opening but vision is poor. Eyes are blue-gray and cloudy.

  • Ears are starting to lift away from the head but still folded over.

  • Legs are getting stronger but still unable to hop. Legs are tucked under body most of the time.

  • Limited mobility, only able to crawl a few inches.

  • Spends most time sleeping alone in the nest while mother is away.

  • Nurses from mother 1-2 times a day for just a few minutes.

At this age, the kitten is still completely dependent on the mother. It stays sheltered in the nest the mother created. The only interaction is during the brief nursing sessions. The eyes opening marks a significant milestone, but it will take another week before their vision improves and they start exploring the world outside the nest. The ears lifting away from the head shows their continuing development but they cannot stand upright independently yet. Overall, a two week old rabbit still has an underdeveloped appearance characteristic of a newborn.

What Does a Rabbit Look Like in Its First Month?

In the third and fourth weeks, wild baby rabbits go through many changes as they transition from newborns to more independent, active juveniles. Here are some characteristics of rabbits in their first month:

  • Weigh 115-170 grams. Body is 5 inches long.

  • Fur coat is fuller but still short in length. Grayish brown in color.

  • Eyes fully open. Color fades from blue-gray to brown. Vision improving but still poor.

  • Ears stand erect on their own.

  • Hind legs strengthen, allowing for hopping in short bursts.

  • Spends more time outside of nest, interacting with litter mates.

  • Nurses only 1 time per day. Starts eating solids around 3 weeks.

  • Molts birth coat around 3 weeks. New fur coming in.

As they reach one month old, wild rabbit kittens are changing rapidly. The most notable milestones are their eyes and ears. Their eyes will be fully open by 2-3 weeks and the blue-gray hue fades out to brown. The once droopy ears now stand upright on their own. These developments significantly increase their sensing abilities.

Their hind legs are getting stronger and they will make their first awkward attempts at hopping. They still cannot gain much distance but this activity strengthens their legs in preparation for true mobility. With their improved vision and hearing, they will spend more time outside the nest interacting with litter mates as opposed to constant sleeping.

At 3-4 weeks old, the kittens shed their birth coat of fur. Their new juvenile coat comes in which is longer in length but still quite short. The new fur is more grayish brown versus the gray of the birth coat.

While major milestones occur in the first month, rabbits are still small and dependent on their mother. After the first month, the kittens will gain independence rapidly.

What Does a Two-Month Old Rabbit Look Like?

In the second month of life, wild rabbits transform from helpless newborns to young juveniles. Here are some features of a two month old rabbit:

  • Weighs 300-350 g. Body is 6 inches long.

  • Fur is fuller and longer, about 1 inch long. More brown in color.

  • Eyes fully developed. Vision is clear. Brown in color.

  • Ears fully erect and can rotate to detect sounds.

  • Hind legs fully developed allowing for fast hopping and sprinting abilities.

  • Very playful, hopping and sprinting often.

  • No longer nurses from mother. Forages for solid foods independently.

  • Molts juvenile fur and grows soft, downy sub-adult fur that is light brown to reddish in color.

At two months old, a rabbit kit is energetically hopping, playing, and foraging on its own. It has its full vision, hearing, and leg strength allowing for independence from its mother. Its rapid growth will continue as it reaches sexual maturity in the coming months.

The kit sheds its shorter juvenile fur and grows in the longer, downy sub-adult coat. This coat is a light brown or cinnamon reddish color compared to the grayish juvenile fur. This new fur provides greater insulation as the rabbit spends more time outside the nest.

While still small compared to adults, a two month old rabbit no longer has any visible traces of the helpless newborn it used to be just weeks ago. It looks like a miniature version of an adult. The next months will mainly involve simply growing larger until they reach full adult size.

How Do I Tell How Old an Adult Rabbit Is?

It is difficult to determine the precise age of wild adult rabbits just by visual examination. However, there are some general indications of relative age:

Activity Levels

Younger adult rabbits tend to be more energetic and skittish. They dash quickly at signs of potential danger. Older rabbits conserve energy and move more slowly. They tend to freeze in place instead of sprinting away.

Coat Condition

A rabbit's coat condition declines with age. Younger rabbits have very dense, downy fur that appears full and healthy. Older rabbits' coats may be patchy, dull, coarse, or thin. Health issues like mange also become more common with age.

Physical Health

Signs of poor physical health can indicate an older rabbit. Look for limping, emaciation, obvious tumors/growths, discharge from eyes or nose, and parasites. An unhealthy appearance in a full grown rabbit can be a sign of old age.


Like many animals, rabbits decrease in size slightly as they reach the end of lifespan. An unusually small adult rabbit that is not a dwarf breed may suggest an older age.

Time of Year

The vast majority of wild rabbits only live 1-2 years. In most cases, rabbits seen late in winter are the oldest survivors from last season. Any rabbit seen active in late winter is likely nearing the maximum lifespan of its breed.

Estimating the age of fully grown wild rabbits can be challenging without seeing them regularly. But with practice, subtle signs like activity level, coat condition, and overall health can provide hints to help distinguish adolescents and young adults from more senior rabbits.

Leave a Comment