Pulling out their own fur, or that of another rabbit, often puzzles owners. It looks painful and can leave unsightly skin exposure. These actions suggest that your rabbit is under duress.

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Rabbits pull out fur due to stress, boredom, and skin irritation. Pregnant rabbits use their fur to build a nest for their young. If one rabbit barbers another rabbit, it’s typically a sign of dominance.

Observe your pet’s behavior, and find out why they’re behaving this way. There will be a physical, medical, or emotional explanation. Once you know what this is, you can react accordingly.

Contents hide
1) Rabbit is Barbering
Bored or Stressed
Too Much Fur
Skin Discomfort
2) Rabbit Building Nest with Her Fur
3) Rabbit Pulling Fur Out of Another Rabbit
My Female Rabbit is Pulling Fur Out of a Male
My Male Rabbit is Pulling Fur Out of a Female
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1) Rabbit is Barbering

Rabbits biting out their own fur can be a complicated behavior to assess. On the one hand, it’s perfectly normal behavior for rabbits. Rabbits are fastidious groomers, and will tug out fur.

If your rabbit is starting to show patches of pink skin, something is amiss. No rabbit should be removing this much fur. This is known as barbering. Common reasons for rabbits barbering are:

Boredom, stress, or anxietyExcess of fur and insufficient external groomingNesting behaviorParasitic infestation causing irritationSkin disease-causing discomfort

Bored or Stressed

Rabbits crave company, and struggle when left alone for long periods. This means that, should they grow bored, they’ll become lonely and anxious.

If your rabbit is chewing fur from their own leg, they’re likely bored. Filling a hutch with toys is not enough. Rabbits always need new entertainment and engagement.

Adding a rabbit companion is a great way to provide this goal. Once two rabbits have bonded, they’ll be constant companions. You’ll find that they rarely leave each other’s side, and take care of each other. Multiple bonded rabbits is ideal, if you have a hutch large enough to meet their needs.

This is a common mistake. If two or more rabbits are to share quarters, they need space. Even if they seem joined at the hip, they’ll grow stressed in restricted quarters. This will lead to barbering.


You’ll no doubt have noticed that we have referred to bonded rabbits. This is critical. If you house two rabbits together before they bond, all hell can break loose. Rabbits are territorial, and unbounded rabbits will fight tooth and claw.

One or both of the rabbits will be a nervous wreck, and they’ll soothe themselves through barbering. Here’s some more information on bonding in rabbits.

Even if your rabbit lives alone, they can be susceptible to stress. Ensure that your rabbit has a routine they can trust. This will help keep them calm.

If the barbering happens overnight, consider relocating your rabbit’s hutch. Rabbits are not afraid of the dark, but they fear predators. Your pet may be spending their nights in a state of terror.

Too Much Fur

This behavior is most likely in longhaired rabbits, particularly around shedding season. Rabbits shed their winter coat in spring so that they can flourish in warmer temperatures. If they have too much fur, they grow uncomfortable.

Shedding alone is not enough, though. Your rabbit will also require significant grooming during this period. Typically, they’ll need the attention of a brush once a day. Some rabbits need to be seen to twice, or even more often.

Rabbits take their grooming regime seriously. They can only do so much by themselves, though. You’ll be expected to pitch in, and remove hair manually. If you fail to do so, an angry rabbit may take on the burden themselves.

This can be an issue. Rabbits cannot tell precisely how much fur to remove. What’s more, their teeth lack the delicacy and finesse of a hairbrush. Your rabbit will likely tear fur out by the clump.

Prevent this from happening by making sure you groom your pet sufficiently. While barbering themselves, rabbits can do some severe damage. Their skin is delicate, and biting can cause open wounds. These, in turn, can become infected.

You’ll know when shedding season has arrived. Rabbits drop fur at an alarming rate. The more fur they have to begin with, the bigger the pile will be. Keep on top of this, and you’ll avoid any unpleasant experiences.

Skin Discomfort

If your rabbit has a flea infestation, they’ll be in discomfort. If your rabbit doesn’t have allergies, they’ll still itch. If your pet struggles with flea bite sensitivity, it will be torturous.

If you suspect that your rabbit has fleas, they’ll need immediate treatment. Barbering will follow as soon as the infestation takes hold. They’ll be itching, so they’ll try to relieve this by biting. Also, the discomfort will cause stress.

In addition, fleas – and other parasites, such as ticks – spread disease. If the parasites feed on an infected animal, they can pass a condition on to your rabbit. There is nothing to gain by taking any chances with treatment.

Find a rabbit-specific treatment to deal with the infestation. Treatments designed for cats and dogs are often toxic to rabbits. Treat other rabbits in the vicinity too, even if they show no outward signs of discomfort.

Fleas are not the only parasite to cause skin issues with rabbits. Rabbits can be prone to mites. The impact will be largely similar – itchy skin, and barbering. Mites can lead to more unpleasant conditions too though, like mange.

Some flea and tick treatments will also take care of mites. You may be better served by seeking a specialist remedy, though. Mites are even more stubborn than fleas, and can make a rabbit’s life miserable.

If you suspect that your rabbit has a mite infestation, act quickly. Pet stores stock specialist medication. These are not always effective, though. In such cases, you’ll need a vet for a more potent remedy. Thankfully, these are fast-acting.

2) Rabbit Building Nest with Her Fur

A common reason for a female rabbit to pull out her own fur is nesting. This behavior starts when the rabbit is pregnant. She is instinctively driven to create a warm, soft habitat for her babies.

This may make no sense. You had your rabbit fixed. Why would a spayed rabbit pull out fur? Your pet is experiencing what is known as a phantom pregnancy. The rabbit is convinced she is pregnant as her hormones play tricks on her.

False pregnancies can occur in any female. They’re scarcer in spayed rabbits, but remain possible. It’s more likely if the rabbit birthed a litter in the past. Once a rabbit ovulates once, they never go out of season. False pregnancy is usually caused by one of two factors:

Mounting from another rabbit. This could be an act of dominance, or attempted breeding. Either way, the female will react to sexual stimulation. Being mounted by another female will have the same impact.Intense stress. If the rabbit is particularly stressed, she’ll ovulate. Rabbits are instinctively driven to sustain their species. A female can experience pseudopregnancy without another rabbit.

Your rabbit will display all the behaviors associated with pregnancy. She’ll be hungrier, and will become territorial. Don’t surprised if your pet is uncharacteristically aggressive for a few days.

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A phantom pregnancy lasts around 18 days. A full-term pregnancy lasts closer to a month. Nesting will be the final stage of a phantom pregnancy. Shortly after doing this, the rabbit’s hormones will return to normal.