Bunnies are popular pets for young and old, with their soft fur and sassy (or sweet!) attitude. If you’re thinking about adding adorable rabbits to your home, or you’re a brand-new bunny parent, you may have some questions. But even experienced rabbit owners can learn a thing or two from this rabbit glossary.
Join us on our trip across the Rabbit A to Z with our rabbit glossary!
Agouti: This is the fur colour we see in wild rabbits and lots of pet rabbits as well. Each hair has more than one colour, and Agoutis usually have grey, sandy, or reddish fur overall.
Alfalfa hay: This hay has lots of calcium, so it’s best to give your adult rabbits alfalfa hay as a treat. Too much calcium can cause bladder stones, so it’s best to keep a good eye on your buns’ calcium intake. The exceptions are pregnant or nursing dams, as well as young kittens, who are in need of extra calcium. They’ll appreciate the alfalfa hay.
Binky: When a rabbit is really happy and they know it, they don’t clap their hands to show it - they binky! A binky is a leap into the air, with the bun’s back end twisting in a different direction. If you see your buns binkying, you know they’re feeling very good.
Bloat: A rabbit’s digestive system is fragile because the sweet floofs can’t be sick. So if anything stops their normal gut movement, the poor pets can get unwell very quickly when there’s a gas build-up in their stomachs. If you notice that your rabbit is bloated, it’s important to get them to a vet straight away.
Blue-eyed White (BEW): A rabbit with white fur and blue eyes
Broken: A broken rabbit has white fur with irregular patches of colour across their back and face.
Buck: A buck is a male rabbit.
Bunny: Did you know that the word bunny is an affectionate term for rabbits?
C&C Cage for Rabbits: A C&C cage for rabbits is made of cubes and coroplast - hence the name. The cubes are grids that make up the cage’s layout, and coroplast is the easy-to-clean base used in the cage. Many bunny parents build a cosy den for their free-roam rabbits with the C&C cages.
Calcium: Calcium is an important part of a rabbit’s diet, especially for pregnant and nursing does and kittens. But beware, bunny parents! Too much calcium can lead to bladder stones, so it’s best to limit food that’s high in calcium.
Carrots: Carrots are popular treats for sweet buns, but that’s all they should be: a rare treat. Carrots aren’t part of a natural diet for rabbits, and they’re full of sugar - so they’re like a sweet for your rabbits.
Castration: Castration is the removal of a buck’s testicles, so they can live in a group with does without causing unwanted pregnancies. Many rabbit parents take their bucks to the vet for their castration when they’re around 5 months old.
Charlie: A Charlie is a broken rabbit (see above!) with very little patterned fur. Fun fact: these sweet floofs got their name from Charlie Chapman because they’d often have darker fur under their noses that looks like a moustache.
Chewing: Rabbits naturally chew on everything. Their teeth keep growing all their lives, so chewing keeps the teeth at a healthy length. If your rabbits chew through your home’s décor, they may be bored and after something to keep them busy.
Companionship: Companionship is very important for rabbits. They should live with at least one other rabbit, whether they’re free-roaming rabbits or not.
Coroplast: Coroplast, also called correx, is short for corrugated plastic. It’s waterproof, lightweight, foldable, and super easy to clean and wipe down - perfect as a solid C&C cage base for rabbits.
Crown: The part between a rabbit’s ears - earresistably soft, and a prime petting spot.
Dam: A doe, or female rabbit, who’s had babies, or kittens, is called a dam. A bunny’s mother is their dam.
Dewlap: The dewlap is a skin flap you usually find on the chest of does. A pregnant doe pulls out the fur from her dewlap to build a cosy nest.
Doe: A doe is a female rabbit.
Dutch: The Dutch rabbit has a white chest and upper back and a dark bottom, so bunny parents affectionately say they wear a white shirt with dark trousers. Dutch rabbits are popular beginner pets.
Enteritis: Enteritis is an inflammation of the digestive tract in rabbits, and it’s unfortunately one of the most common causes of death in the sweet buns. There are lots of causes of enteritis, and symptoms include a lack of food intake, lethargy, and diarrhoea. If you notice any of these symptoms in your rabbits, it’s key to take them to a vet immediately.
Fleece Liners for Rabbits: Fleece liners for rabbits are fantastic as super soft bedding in your rabbit C&C cage or in your free-roam bunnies’ cosy corner. Unlike other kinds of litter, they’re reusable and washable, so they’re great for your buns and the environment. The multi-layer design captures any moisture, so there won’t be any soggy bottoms, even if your bunny has an accident outside of their litter tray.
Flemish Giant: The Flemish Giant is one of the largest bunny breeds. The gentle giant can weigh up to 10 kg and is a popular family pet.
Foraging: Foraging is a natural behaviour for all rabbits, when they look for food. To keep your pet rabbits busy, you can set up foraging activities for them. Why not put hay inside a cardboard box and hide some treats in there?
Free-Roaming Rabbit: Lots of bunny parents keep free-roaming rabbits today. These buns get to hop around their hoomans’ home. It’s a great way to encourage exercise and give your bunnies something to keep them busy. Make sure your home is bunny proof before you let them loose!
Free-Range Rabbit: Free-range rabbits are usually kept outdoors. Like free-roaming rabbits, they don’t live in a small cage or hutch, but have a larger fenced-in area to hop around in. These rabbits are usually kept for their meat.
French Lop: These floppy-eared buns are difficult to miss - they’re just so big! The large breed weighs around 5 to 6 kg and is known for their calm personality.
Gestation: A doe’s pregnancy is called the gestation period - the time between breeding and birthing, or kindling. Different bunny breeds come with different gestation periods, but most are around 28 to 33 days long.
Grids: Grids make up the outer part of a C&C cage. The mesh cubes stay together with connectors, so your rabbit can hop around the cage safely. You can even build a lid for your bunny cage, so they can’t hop out.
Hay Bag: A hay bag puts an end to messy rabbit cages. You can keep your bunnies’ hay clean and fresh longer by popping it into a bag.
Head Tilt: A head tilt is a common symptom in many of our house rabbits. In most cases, the sweet bun has an underlying health problem, like an ear infection. If your rabbit has a head tilt, take them to your vet straight away.
Holland Lop: The Holland Lop has earresistably cute floppy ears framing their large head. The Holland Lop is one of the most popular bunny breeds because of their sweet personality.
Impaction: When a rabbit has impaction, there’s a blockage in their gastrointestinal tract, so they can’t pass poo. The blockage can come from clumps of food or other objects (remember, rabbits chew everything!). If your rabbit is off their food or not passing any poop, they need to see a vet straight away. Find out more about guinea pig impaction here!
Junior: A rabbit under the age of 6 months is called a junior.
Kindling: When a pregnant doe gives birth to a litter, we call it kindling.
Kindling Box: When a pregnant doe is ready to have her litter, she’ll start building a nest with the materials around her - like shredded paper, newspaper, and hay. Bunny parents can provide their beloved pet with a box full of these materials, so she can get comfy ahead of the kindling.
Kit: A baby rabbit is called a kit, and several baby rabbits are kittens.
Lifespan: Rabbits usually live for 8 to 12 years. The oldest rabbit ever was Flopsy from Australia, who was nearly 19 years old when she passed away.
Lionhead: Lionhead buns are easy to identify, with their floofy mane around their heads. These soft rabbits are best known for their playful nature.
Litter: When a dam gives birth to kittens, we call them her litter.
Litter Training: If your bunnies get to hop around your home, you can litter train them, so they poop in the litter tray. The only thing left to clean up will be dust bunnies!
Malocclusion: When a bunny’s teeth don’t align, it’s known as malocclusion. These sweet buns may need extra dental care, since their teeth don’t wear down as well.
Meadow Hay: Meadow hay is made from flowers, seeds, and long grass from a meadow. It’s great for foraging activities with your buns, but can have more calcium than other types of hay. It’s perfect as a treat.
Nail trimming: A rabbit’s nails constantly grow, just like our nails do. Bunny parents should trim their pets’ nails once a month. Have a look at our nail trimming guide for guineas!
Netherland Dwarf: The adorable Netherland Dwarf is one of the smallest bunny breeds. Weighing just over 1 kg, the little rabbits are known for their short ears, large eyes, and shy personalities.
Neutering: Neutering is the umbrella term for spaying and castrating rabbits. The rabbit’s reproductive organs are removed, so they can’t have a litter. Neutering also brings a lot of health and behavioural benefits with it, so it’s recommended for all young rabbits.
Nibble Guards: It’s no secret that rabbits like to chew. All day. Every day. Anything in their reach. The nibble guards are a great way to stop your buns from taking a bite out of their C&C cage’s base.
Oat Hay: Oat hay, or wheat hay, is golden in colour and is thick with coarse stems, so some bunnies prefer other types of hay to snuggle up on. It’s higher in protein and fat than other hay, so it’s good for foraging activities or as a treat.
Orchardgrass Hay: Orchardgrass hay is similar to second-cut timothy hay, just a little leafier. Some bunny parents who are allergic to their pets’ hay have no issues with orchardgrass hay. It’s high in fibre, so it’s great for foraging activities.
Open Coat: An open coat is fur that’s loose on your bunny. You can usually spot an open coat just before your rabbit sheds.
Palpation: When a breeder or bunny parent carefully feels around a doe’s abdomen to find out if she’s pregnant, this is called palpation.
Peanut: A rabbit with two dwarf genes is called a peanut. Sadly, these sweet buns pass away within the first 2 weeks of being born.
Pellets: In addition to lots of hay and fresh veggies, rabbits also eat pellets. High-quality pellets are full of nutrients and fibre.
Peripheral Vision: Rabbits have very few blind spots - right above their nose and right behind them - so they can spot any dangers easily. Their peripheral vision is very good.
Respiratory: Rabbits have a very sensitive respiratory system, so they can easily end up with breathing problems. Dusty bedding and scented candles can lead to respiratory issues, and Upper Respiratory Infections (URIs) are common in buns. It’s one of the reasons baths are not recommended for rabbits because they may lead to a URI.
Ruby-eyed White (REW): A white rabbit with red eyes is known as an REW.
Ryegrass: Ryegrass, or pasture hay, has a great balance between calcium and phosphorus, but it’s high in protein and natural sugars. It’s best given to your buns as a treat in foraging activities.
Saline: Saline solution is a mix of water and salt, and it’s great if you need to clean wounds. We recommend it as a staple in your small pet emergency kit!
Self: A rabbit with the self gene has the same colour of fur all over their bodies. A black rabbit has this gene, for example.
Sore Hocks: Sore Hocks is an inflammation of a rabbit’s hocks or paws. When a bun develops pressure points on their hocks and these get infected, for example on soiled bedding, Sore Hocks develop. The condition is painful for your sweet buns and should be treated by a vet.
Sire: A sire is a male rabbit who’s had a litter with a dam. A sire is a kit’s father.
Styptic Powder: Styptic powder stops bleeding quickly and is safe to use on our small friends. It’s great to have around when you’re cutting your rabbits’ nails.
Tort: Tort is short for the fur colouring tortoiseshell, which is best known in cats who have lots of different colours in their fur. Rabbits can be tortoiseshells, too.
Thumping: When a rabbit thumps both their back feet, it’s known as thumping. They could be warning you of a danger (sweet, right?) or showing annoyance at something - a little less sweet.
Timothy Hay: Timothy hay is the most recommended type of hay for rabbits. The green hay is full of important nutrients for your sweet buns, so it’s a great choice for your rabbits’ diet.