Welcome to the wonderful world of baby bunnies! The first weeks of a rabbit’s life are filled with rapid changes and milestones as they grow from tiny, hairless newborns into active, fluffy kits. Prepare for an adorable adventure as we explore when baby rabbits get their fur, what newborn bunnies look like, why they may shed, and how their color transforms. From bald and blind to fully furred explorers, rabbits undergo an incredible transformation in their journey from birth to juveniles. So get ready for some serious cuteness overload as we uncover all the details on baby bunny fur growth and development! This fascinating furry journey starts now!
What Does a Newborn Rabbit Look Like?
Newborn rabbits, called kits, are born hairless and with their eyes closed. They typically weigh between 30-40 grams at birth, which is just a little over an ounce. They are also born unable to regulate their own body temperature and rely completely on their mother for warmth and food.
A newborn rabbit's skin appears pink, and you can see blood vessels beneath the surface. This is because they have very thin skin at this stage. Within a few days, their skin will darken as the blood vessels recede and fur begins to grow. Their skin will take on a grayish color before the fur comes in.
Since kits are born hairless, they do not have whiskers at birth. Whiskers are important for spatial awareness and sensing their environment, so kits will stay close to their mothers until their whiskers grow in around 10 days after birth.
Newborn rabbits have a very rounded body shape. Their heads, legs, and torso are proportional at birth since muscle development occurs after fur growth. Kits weigh just 30-40 grams on average, smaller than the size of a golf ball.
Another distinctive feature of newborn rabbits is their lack of teeth. Babies are born toothless. They cannot even bite the teat when nursing but instead use massage movements to get the milk to flow. Their teeth will erupt around 2 weeks of age.
While their eyes are fused shut at birth, you can see their eyelids and long lashes. Their eyes will open between 7-10 days of age. Eye color is apparent right away in some breeds, while other breeds change eye color as they mature.
In summary, a newborn rabbit is a small, pink, hairless creature with eyes fused shut. Within their first 2 weeks of life, they will develop fur, whiskers, teeth, and open their eyes. Their body shape adjusts as muscles develop and they grow very rapidly.
Can You Touch a Newborn Rabbit’s Fur?
Newborn rabbits are born without any fur. Their skin will be bald and pink in color at first. So there is no fur to touch on a newborn kit!
While you won't feel fur on a newborn, you can still touch them. However, it's important to be very gentle when handling little rabbits. Here are some tips for touching a newborn bunny:
Support their body fully. Since they cannot regulate their own temperature yet, they can lose heat rapidly if left uncovered. Be sure to keep them nestled in a blanket or your hands.
Do not touch newborns unless absolutely necessary. Unnecessary handling can distress the mother and risk the kit being rejected. Only handle them for medical care or emergency situations.
Wash hands before and after. Ensure your hands are clean and avoid passing bacteria to the sensitive newborn.
Make slow movements. Quick movements may startle or frighten the fragile kits.
Avoid rough surfaces. Keep your hands and any blankets you use very soft. Their skin is thin and delicate at this stage.
Hold firmly but gently. Rabbits are fragile but also slippery. Be sure to secure them in your hands.
Limit handling time. Kits cannot retain body heat for long, so return them to their nest quickly.
Check for mom’s reaction. If the mother seems agitated, return the kit to reduce stress.
While touching newborn kits should be minimized, sometimes it is necessary. Following these precautions helps protect the kit and avoid upsetting the mother rabbit. Once fur develops around 3-7 days old, you can begin petting the babies as their skin toughens up. But those first few days require extremely gentle and limited handling.
When Will Baby Bunnies Get Fur?
Baby rabbits begin to grow fur at around 3-7 days old. Fur starts becoming noticeable by day 3 as the newborn kit's skin transitions from pink to gray. By day 7 after birth, rabbits will be fully furred. Their coat at 1 week old may still appear thin, but fluffiness will increase quickly.
Fur develops rapidly because it is crucial for regulating body temperature. Newborn kits are unable to control their temperature. Once fur grows in, bunnies can start maintaining their ideal body temperature of 101-103° Fahrenheit.
Growth of fur coincides with other key developments in the first weeks of life:
3 days: Fur first visible as skin turns gray.
7 days: Fully furred body. Eyes begin opening.
10 days: Eyes open fully. Begin eating solid food.
2 weeks: Leave the nest to explore.
3-4 weeks: Weaned from mother’s milk.
So within a week of giving birth, the mother rabbit will have a nest full of furred and active kits. The babies depend on her milk and care in these early weeks but grow rapidly.
The speed of getting fur varies by rabbit breed. Larger breeds like Flemish Giants may fur out slightly slower than smaller breeds. But all healthy kits will be fully furred by 7-10 days old. Since they cannot regulate temperature or even crawl away, nature equips baby bunnies with quick fur growth for protection.
Why Is My Baby Rabbit Losing Its Fur?
It can be alarming to see your baby rabbit losing its fur. However, some fur loss is normal as juvenile rabbits molt and grow in their adult coats. Minor shedding is no cause for concern, but excessive bald patches may indicate a health problem requiring veterinary care.
Here are some reasons baby rabbits may lose fur:
Normal molting – As kits transition from their baby coat to adult fur, some shedding occurs. Molting peaks around 6-12 weeks old. While messy, this is healthy development.
Parasites – Mites, lice or fungal infections can cause hair loss. Check for any signs of skin irritation. Vet treatment will eliminate parasites.
Poor diet – Nutrient deficiencies can impact coat health. Ensure nursing mothers have optimal diets. Wean babies onto timothy hay, pellets and veggies.
Barbering – Rabbits may chew and overgroom their own or each other's fur. Look for uneven fur as if trimmed with scissors. Separate affected rabbits if due to barbering.
Stress – Extended stress can cause molting. Try to minimize loud noises, changes to environment, etc. Handle babies gently.
Illness – Certain conditions like cancer, kidney or liver disease may cause fur loss. See a vet if accompanied by lethargy or appetite changes.
congenital issues – Very rarely, babies are born with hair follicle or skin defects. This is not common but genetic.
To support healthy fur growth:
- Groom gently with damp hands or brush to remove loose hairs
- Check for any signs of skin irritation or parasites
- Provide optimal nutrition from mother or proper weaning diet
- Reduce stressors in the environment
- Have your vet examine any excessive bald spots
With attentive care and good health, your baby bunny's fur should grow back quickly if any shedding occurs. But do monitor for signs of issues like parasites, illness or barbering habits. Proper diet and limited stress will keep their coat full and fabulous.
Can Bunnies Change Color?
Yes, it is quite common for baby rabbits to change color as they grow, transitioning from their juvenile coat into adult fur. This occurs because the genetic color and patterns take time to fully develop in some breeds.
Here are some color changes to expect:
Darkening – Many rabbits are born lighter in color and darken as they mature. Chocolate and lilac shaded bunnies get darker.
Lightening – The opposite also occurs, with some rabbits getting lighter with age. This includes dilution of darker pigment.
Markings develop – In breeds like Dutch or Himalayan, distinctive markings emerge over time. The patterns gradually become defined.
Multiple transitions – In Siamese Sable or shaded rabbits, color may change multiple times from birth to maturity. This is part of defining their color genes.
Seasonal changes – Some rabbits will molt into a different coat based on light exposure and the season. This is similar to how animals get thicker winter coats.
To summarize, it is perfectly normal and expected for a rabbit's color and markings to change as they mature. Each rabbit has unique color genetics that become more visible and stable over time.
Typical Timeline of Color Changes:
- Birth to 4 weeks – Most rapid changes
- 4-12 weeks – Adult patterns continue developing
- 3-6 months – Reach mature, stable coat color
So don't be surprised if your adorable new baby bunny gains spots, darkens, or molts into an entirely new color! Just relax and enjoy watching their fabulous colors emerge. With proper diet and care, these color transitions are a natural part of rabbit development.