Rabbits are adorable due to their super soft feathers, small noses, and big eyes and ears. Have you ever noticed how rabbits move? Rabbits usually hop instead of running or walking although they can. Their movement is different from how people move.
Now, the question is, why do rabbits hop instead of run? Actually, rabbits were made for hopping. Their powerful hind legs and flexible spine allow them to hop instead of running or walking. Besides, some rabbits hop to show excitement and joy.
In this article, we’re going to talk about rabbits’ biological structure, at what age rabbits start hopping, how high they can hop, and more. Once you finished reading this article, we would recommend taking a quick look at why rabbits climb on you.
Read Also: Why Is My Rabbit Scared Of Me? Click here
Understanding the Biological Structure of Rabbits
Hopping is one of the ways of moving forward that rabbits usually do with their muscular hind legs. In fact, rabbits’ skeleton was made for hopping. Their bones weigh only 8 percent of the total body weight. They have a pretty flexible spine that can absorb the impact.
When a rabbit is going to hop, it places weight on its back legs. By using these legs as leverage, it leaps forward. After that, their front legs (paws) help minimize the impact of hopping. The bunny keeps repeating the trick.
How Fast Can Rabbits Move?
Rabbits with their strong legs can move as fast as 50 mph (80 kph) in the wild in a short burst. This is something that Usain Bolt may not be able to do. However, pet rabbits cannot reach these speeds in your backyard.
Besides, domesticated rabbits usually have a fatter diet than their wild counterparts. That’s why they weigh a little bit more compared to rabbits in the wild. So, pet rabbits cannot reach such speeds. Instead, they prefer hopping for exercise and recreation.
At What Age Do Rabbits Start Hopping?
Most bunnies usually start hopping at the age of 10 to 21 days (2 to 3 weeks). So, how do they move before that? They wriggle on their belly. At this age, they grow supportive musculature that helps them hop.
So, this entirely depends on various rabbit species. Even if a rabbit is born and brought up in captivity, they learn how to hop. And they start hopping in captivity at this age.
How High Can Rabbits Leap While Hopping?
In a single bound, a rabbit can be high up to 1.3 meters (4 feet) vertically and move nearly 3.3 meters (10 feet) horizontally. This may vary from species to species. Their strong hind legs enable them to be such high in the air.
However, if you install fences higher than 1 meter, most bunnies may not jump over them.
Do Rabbits Use Their Hind Legs for Self-Defense?
Yes, they do! Rabbits’ hind legs aren’t only for hopping. Bunnies use them for self-defense if needed. Once a predator approaches a rabbit, it will get a hard kick from the rabbit’s hind legs. Rabbits have to get away from predators in a rush with their fast, back legs.
Apart from that, rabbits, with their hind legs, strike on the ground to let the other rabbits know that a danger is approaching. Once rabbits get such a signal from other rabbits, they run for seeking a safe shelter.
Can Rabbits Hurt Themselves by Hopping?
Rabbits cannot hurt themselves by hopping due to their lightweight and flexible skeleton. However, if they’re not careful enough while hopping, they may damage their spine. As rabbits usually hop across flat surfaces, they can adjust any impact on their spine and paws.
In other words, rabbits are safe as long as they don’t hop too far. For its safety, always keep an eye on your rabbit so that it cannot panic and hurt itself. Make sure that your rabbit hop on a safe surface, for example, indoors. Rugs and carpets are the best places to hop.
What If Your Rabbit Doesn’t Hop Anymore?
If your rabbit doesn’t hop anymore, it shows something is wrong with it. Keep a serious eye on your rabbit, and see how it’s moving. It may drag its rear legs behind it. Maybe, the hind legs are injured or sick. The most possible reasons are:
- Trauma or injury to the back legs, which leaves it too weak for hopping
- Arthritis in the hind legs, which makes it painful for the bunny to hop
- Spinal damage, restricting your bunny’s ability to hop
- A bacterial or neurological illness, impacting coordination
If you see any of these issues in your rabbit, see a professional vet as soon as possible. In most cases, medication and lifestyle adjustments can help your rabbit move freely again. Be sure to keep your rabbit’s hind legs perfectly positioned.
Keep in mind that rabbits not only hop but also run and walk. But, they’re comfortable to hop due to their unique body structure. You can challenge your bunny for a race to see who is faster. We think the bunny is likely to win the race.
However, we hope you have learned a lot about why rabbits hop instead of running. If your rabbit doesn’t hop anymore, let us know below in the comment section. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest to get notified right after we publish a new article.