Although there are more than 30 species of rabbits all over the world, they all share certain characteristics. One of these characteristics is burrowing. Rabbits live in colonies, but they spend much of their time grazing on food and digging tunnels for protection from predators.
Why Do Rabbits Burrow?
People often ask why do rabbits burrow? Burrowing is a normal rabbit behavior, and wild rabbits dig burrows for several different reasons including the following:
- To create a safe place to sleep
- To escape from predators
- To give birth and care for babies
Burrowing is a Natural Rabbit Instinct
Digging and burrowing are instincts that are innate with every rabbit. In the wild, rabbits dig burrows, and they will connect several burrows together to create a warren. A warren is a network of burrows that are connected underground.
Rabbits are easy prey, and so they need to protect themselves from numerous predators. Needing safety is the driving force behind a rabbit’s instinct to burrow.
When people have a pet rabbit, they find that this instinct is still very strong. Pet rabbits will try to burrow in their hutch, on the carpet, or on furniture.
Fun Fact: Certain breeds of rabbits do not burrow, such as the cottontail. These rabbits might use an empty burrow, or they will often nest in sheltered areas of overgrowth.
If a rabbit is in an outdoor pet or on the lawn, they will dig as well. Many people provide digging boxes for their rabbits because it is a great form of exercise as well as a way for them to dig without destroying things.
In addition to the instinct to dig for survival reasons, rabbits will dig when they are feeling different emotions, such as boredom, stress, fear, and curiosity. Although burrowing is rooted in their instinct to survive, there are many different reasons that this instinct comes to the surface.
How Deep Do Rabbits Burrow?
If you have found a rabbit hole outdoors, you may have wondered how deep do rabbits burrow?
Rabbits burrows can range from 8 or 10 inches to as much as 15 feet deep underground. The answer depends on the breed of the rabbit as well as the geography and the soil in the location.
If the soil is easy to dig, the rabbits will dig deeper holes. Whereas, in areas that have water underground, rabbits will not dig as deep.
Why Do Rabbits Dig Holes in the Lawn?
If you put your pet rabbit outside for some fresh air, you may have noticed them digging holes in the lawn. This is all because of their natural instinct to burrow to have a safe place to hide if they sense danger.
You will probably find your rabbit burrows more in open spaces like your lawn opposed to places with more hiding spots like the woods. If your rabbit is digging holes in your yard, they may have sensed a threat and wanted protection, or they were just burrowing to feel more secure.
Why Do Rabbits Dig Holes to Have Babies?
Rabbits dig holes to have babies to protect their young from predators. Rabbits will create nests in their burrows for their newborn babies until they are old enough to venture out of the burrow safely.
If rabbits didn’t have this instinct, very few rabbits would survive to adulthood. In fact, only about 15% of wild bunnies survive until their first birthday because rabbits are prey to many animals including cats, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, and hawks.
To make a nest for their newborns, rabbits will pull out their fur, gather twigs, leaves and other items to build a safe resting place for their babies inside of the burrow. Newborn rabbits will stay inside the burrow for weeks until they are strong enough to venture out into the wild with their mother.
Why Do Rabbits Dig Holes and Then Fill Them in?
Rabbits dig holes and then fill them in for extra protection from predators and to disguise their holes. Some predators are small enough to fit inside of a rabbits burrow, so rabbits use leaves, twigs and even they fur to fill in the hole to try and prevent predators from entering.
Rabbits have strong instincts for survival, and they try to hide their holes so that they won’t be found. After a female rabbit gives birth, she will cover up the top of the hole to help protect her babies.
Digging and burrowing is a strong instinct shared by most rabbits. Even if you have a pet rabbit, they will still have their natural instinct to burrow which is why they may dig holes in your lawn. Since rabbits are common prey from many animals, they burrow to create a safe place for themselves to hide, rest, escape danger, and keep their newborn babies safe.