One breeding pair of rabbits — and their offspring — can create nearly 4 million rabbits in only 4 years! Woah!
As prey animals, reproduction is a rabbit’s only defense against extinction. Females are able to conceive at about 3 months old. Their pregnancies last around 30 days. Did you know that mother rabbit can be impregnated again just moments after giving birth?! And she is capable of having one litter of babies per month!
Here’s how the math works:
- We’re assuming 6 babies per litter, 3 male and 3 female (litters can be as large as 14, so 6 is a conservative assumption).
- Now let’s assume mother rabbit will have the maximum of 1 litter per month.
- Year One: 1 mother gives birth to 3 female babies per litter for 12 months = 36 female babies at the end of year one.
- Year Two: 37 mothers give birth to 3 female babies per litter for 12 more months = 1332 female babies at the end of year two.
- Year Three: 1369 mothers give birth to 3 female babies per litter for another 12 months = 49,284 female babies at the end of year three.
- Year Four: 50,653 mothers give birth to 3 female babies per litter for yet another 12 months = 1,872,792 totally female babies at the end of year four. Add in an equal number of male rabbits because remember we started with the assumption of 3 male and 3 female rabbits per litter.
This brings us to our grand total of 3,745,584 rabbit offspring from one breeding pair over four years!
This math exercise is an illustration to demonstrate why it’s vital to spay/neuter your rabbits. They are prolific reproducers and “just one litter” is not a humane option because there are already more domestic rabbits than shelters and rescues can find homes for. By spaying/neutering not only will you be improving your own rabbit’s quality-of-life and your lives together, you will be helping to end the suffering and death of companion rabbits due to overpopulation. It’s a pretty great deal and a great way to avoid the bunpocalypse!
Original source and the math: http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/scary.html
©Copyright Amy Ramnaraine. All Rights Reserved. Republished with the permission of the author.