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Bunny bred with wild rabbit! Help!

Addressing the special needs of the breeding doe and her kits. Includes nutrition, gestation, nest boxes and materials, and tips to ensure survival of the young.
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Bunny bred with wild rabbit! Help!

Post Number:#1  Unread postby pixie22 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:22 pm


I was on vacation a few weeks ago and my pet sitter (who I probably shouldn’t have hired) accidentally left my Flemish Giants cage door open. She was lost in our backyard for about a week. Just looked in her cage today, and she has 6 babies.
I have no idea what to do. I don’t want to put them down. Can they be sold for pets? Is it dangerous for humans? Are there any other options? Thanks

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Re: Bunny bred with wild rabbit! Help!

Post Number:#2  Unread postby alforddm » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:35 pm


Your rabbit bred with a feral domestic rabbit rather than a wild rabbit native to the US. Our domestic rabbits are a european species that is genetically incompatible with native north american rabbits and hares.

There should be no danger to humans. The only danger could possibly come from the doe if she gets aggressive in defense of her kits. Just be careful with her until you know how she will react.

Did she have a nest? Hay? I'm assuming she had them on a solid floor since they weren't scattered? Rabbits only nurse 1 or 2 times a day so don't worry if you don't see her with them but the kits do need to be in some sort of nextbox or nest with hay or straw for bedding. It's ok to make a nest, if there isn't one, and put them in it. You also should check and make sure their bellies are full.

They can potentially be sold as pets or even meat rabbits if your open to that.

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Re: Bunny bred with wild rabbit! Help!

Post Number:#3  Unread postby pixie22 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:36 pm


Yup, she has a nest. Babies are being cared for by her, she’s had a litter before. So will it still be ok for me to sell the babies? I had read that the babies will be steril. Is that true?

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Re: Bunny bred with wild rabbit! Help!

Post Number:#4  Unread postby MeadowView » Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:45 pm


Our domestic rabbits are a different species than the wild rabbits we have in the US. A wild rabbit and a domestic rabbit cannot breed and produce viable kits. Your rabbit bred with, most likely, a feral domestic and not an actual native wild rabbit. The babies are normal domestic rabbits, and can be sold as such.

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Re: Bunny bred with wild rabbit! Help!

Post Number:#5  Unread postby akane » Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:52 am


Like said they are a different species with all domestic rabbits descended from the european species and hybrids have never been proven. There are only claims by some with no proof and often poorly controlled conditions that their domestic european rabbit bred with a native US rabbit. Some try to say only certain breeds will mix but again there is no hard proof and they could be mistaking certain colors of domestic rabbit for wild species instead. Another escaped domestic european rabbit could have been responsible or other mysterious circumstances have happened on occasion with rabbits breeding through cage wire or intervention by children and other people putting the wrong rabbits together. There is no idea if a hybrid would be sterile or what it's personality would be because as far as we know and science has shown it is not currently considered physically possible for native US rabbits and domestic european rabbits to produce offspring at all. Likely you just have a bunch of mutt pet rabbits and should treat them the standard way you would any litter of rabbits.
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Re: Bunny bred with wild rabbit! Help!

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Ghost » Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:11 pm


I would say, from a scientific point of view Akane's post seems spot on. As of yet, there are no genetic test that will tell you if hybrids (sterile or otherwise) are possible between two species. The only way to know for sure is test breading. Wild American rabbits are far enough from domestic rabbits that it is unknown if hybrids are even possible. A study to see if it is possible seems rather pointless. It would seem a million times more likely that your doe got pregnant from a feral domestic rabbit.

Genetic differences can discount such hybrids as the cabbit. The fictitious cat/rabbit hybrid. Those species are just two far apart genetically to produce any sort of hybrid. There are cats that look rabbit like, due to a genetic disorder, but both parents are cats. Anyone claiming to have seen a cabbit real life, must have seen one of the mutant cats (or they are lying).
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Re: Bunny bred with wild rabbit! Help!

Post Number:#7  Unread postby SoDak Thriver » Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:20 pm


A little deeper dive on the science of it from the book Rabbit Production, 8th ed, page 5.

The creatures we call rabbits come in 3 varieties:
Hares, which are not real rabbits, come from genus Lepus and have 24 chromosome pairs.
Cottontails, from genus Sylvilagus have 21 pairs
Domestic Rabbits, from genus Oryctolagus have 22 pairs. This genus has all our domestic breeds.

"The two main genera of rabbit are the true rabbits (Oryctolagus) and the cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus)...Cottontails and domestic rabbits cannot be crossed. Laboratory investigations have shown that the sperm and eggs of the two genera will fertilize, but the developing embryo with die in a few hours, after about four cell divisions. The lack of viability of the hybrid embryos is because of the the differences in the chromosome [pairs]."

Your rabbit bred with a feral rabbit of the same genus as your rabbit. As others have said, these kits should be no different than any other litter from the standpoint of safety. If you want to give them away, your Craigslist ad could look like this:

"Free kits to a good home. Mother is a purebred Flemish Giant (list accolades here). Father is...

...from a good neighborhood." :D
Homeschooling dad of 4 (aged 14, 10, 8, 3), accountant, and rabbit noob apprentice.

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Re: Bunny bred with wild rabbit! Help!

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Nymphadora » Tue Jul 24, 2018 2:55 pm


SoDak Thriver wrote:If you want to give them away, your Craigslist ad could look like this:

"Free kits to a good home. Mother is a purebred Flemish Giant (list accolades here). Father is...

...from a good neighborhood." :D

:rotfl:
That's gold, right there! :lol:

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Re: Bunny bred with wild rabbit! Help!

Post Number:#9  Unread postby akane » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:02 am


Donkeys and horses have different numbers of chromosomes and the resulting mules are frequently the example species people get in high school biology or intro classes on genetics so they often don't think the different chromosome numbers matter. It's fairly rare though for species to hybridize like that. The right chromosomes have to line up for the odd one out to not matter (although it does result in sterility in mules) and usually chromosomes just don't or they only produce deformed offspring that can't live a normal life due to whatever chromosome didn't have a match in the other species.
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Re: Bunny bred with wild rabbit! Help!

Post Number:#10  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sat Jul 28, 2018 6:56 am


Pixie22, --
In my reality, I only accept the word "improbable"-.. for me, there is no such-a-thing as "impossible", - "Impossible" things, are just things we have not experienced- or do not yet comprehend... I would be interested in seeing pictures of, and seeing updates on that litter, [should the litter be viable]...
Thanks for posting,
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