Do Rabbits Tails Fall Off? (Lost, Shed or Bitten, Facts)

Do Rabbits Tails Fall Off
Do Rabbits Tails Fall Off

Rabbits have distinct characteristics. Their round little body, long back legs, pointed ears and cotton ball tail makes them a kinder, gentler looking wild animal. They look especially cute hopping around your backyard. Of course, I’d recommend you never touch a wild rabbit, it could be dangerous. But another thing I get many people asking me on a regular basis is whether a rabbit ever loses its tail.

So, do rabbits tails fall off? No, a rabbits tail doesn’t fall off naturally. It can be bitten off by an especially nervous mother right after birth, or it can be born without a tail. The good news is that a rabbit can live without a tail.

What Is A Rabbit’s Tail Called?

A rabbit’s short, erect fluffy looking tail is called a “scut”  This is an old Middle English word, dating back 400 years. It originally meant “hare.” The scut is a unique type tail because it can signal or flag other of its own species warning them of danger or excitement. These short, erect tails are found only on herbivorous or woodland animals. Scuts serve as protection for these animals in their natural habitat.

Here is a list of other animals with a “scut” type tail.

  • Hares
  • Deer
  • Goats
  • Moose
  • Bear

Can A Rabbit Lose Its Tail?

Although rabbit tails look like a fluffy ball of fur, there is a tiny tail bone inside that tail.

The rabbit’s tailbone is fragile, it can get broken if the rabbit is dropped or if a child pulls off the skin on the rabbit’s tale. If your rabbit’s tail bone is broken or the skin with the fur gets pulled off, you may see some bleeding. Your rabbit may be in pain and exhibit fearful behavior. Because the rabbit’s tail bone is connected to its spine, getting its tail bone broken or pulled on can be very unpleasant for your rabbit. If this happens, it’s best to take your rabbit to a vet right away so he or she can examine the tail area to see the extent of damage to your rabbit. If you have a pet rabbit, always teach your children how to hold the rabbit and to be especially gentle with your rabbit’s back, spine and tail area. Fortunately, domesticated rabbits can live without a tail better than their wild rabbit relatives. Once the area is healed, your rabbit should do fine without its tail.

Why Would A Rabbit Bite Off Its Own Tail?

Rabbits sometimes bite off their own tail. For various reasons, rabbits display this self mutilation behavior chewing off the skin on their tailbone or sometimes they might actually bite off the tiny tailbone. You will need to take your rabbit to a vet right away. Be sure your find an experienced vet who’s worked with rabbits. They can best discern what’s going with your rabbit.

Your vet will probably first check your rabbit for mites. A skin scrape will reveal if your rabbit has skin mites. Because mites aren’t always detected by a skin scrape, your vet may treat your rabbit for mites just to see if there’s an improvement.

Another possible reason your rabbit bites its tail is an injury to its spine or hind area. Numbness or pain can cause a rabbit to self mutilate. An xray which will reveal any broken bones or injury to the tail area. Some breeds of rabbits are genetically wired to self mutilate. Although this is rare, it’s worth asking your vet about the possibility of a genetic reason for your rabbits self mutilation.

Does a Rabbit’s Tail Grow Back?

If a rabbit is born without a tail or its nervous mother bites it off at birth, it cannot grow its tail back. The tail if made of bone covered with skin and fur. Although the tail is a small bone, the rabbit might still to adjust to life without a tail.

Some animals have the ability to grow back body parts, but not rabbits. Animals that can grow back their body parts include; starfish, lizard, mouse, lobsters, crayfish and worms.

Why Do Rabbits Have White Tails?

Rabbits belong to a group of animals with opposing camouflage features They have perfectly camouflaged brown fur that blends in with the wooded areas or meadows where rabbits typically live. At the same time, they have conspicuous white fur on their tail. Surprisingly, although their coloring seems to contradictory, their white tails can save their life. This is mostly because they use this white tail as a distraction for their predators. A rabbit without a tail is at great risk of being caught by a predator.

When a rabbit is being chased, usually at twilight when it’s most likely to be out hunting, it puts its tail up to reveal the white fur. This confuses the rabbit’s predator as it focuses on the white tail rather than the rabbit’s body. So when a rabbit takes a quick turn to the left or right, its predator will get confused since the tail has suddenly disappeared. The predator has to stop and readjust its focus.This gives the rabbit time to get away.

Why Does A Rabbit Put Up Its Tail?

A rabbit’s tail signals what the rabbit is thinking or about to do. For instances, if a rabbit is curiously looking around, you’ll see its ears go straight up and his tail extended outward.  The rabbit may also fling its tail back and forth when investigating something new or when looking for food. If a rabbit is excited,he lifts its tail high over his back. A rabbit on the attack flicks its tail from side to side to indicate its about to pounce.Typically, rabbits use their tails to signal other rabbits about danger. Wild rabbits tails are pale underneath and sometimes other colors rather than white. They use their tails primarily to communicate with other rabbits feeding nearby. Their tail acts flag giving a warning.

Do Rabbits Have Different Shaped Tails?

Depending upon the breed, rabbits can have different shaped tails. Cottontails, or wild bunnies have a more fluffy, round looking tail. Domestic rabbits, after years of breeding, tails have changed in shape. Indoor rabbits tend to have much longer tails that are more flexible. Indoor rabbits use their tails to express happiness or excitement. Some rabbits look as if they’re waving their tails like a flag especially during play.

A Rabbit Tail Quiz

What is the name of a rabbit’s tail__________

Rabbits tails_____ grow back?

Rabbits use their tails for_________

The rabbit has a ________tail.

Another animal with a scut is a ________.

Rabbits confuse their________with their tail.

Rabbits use _________ to hide from predators.

If a rabbit is upset, he will _________ his tail.

Rabbits use their tails to _________ other rabbits nearby.

Answers To Choose From:

  • Goat
  • Protection
  • wag
  • Do
  • Flag
  • Camouflage
  • Blue
  • Scut
  • White
  • Don’t
  • Predator
  • Grass
  • Prey

Conclusion:

We’ve talked about whether or not a rabbit’s tail falls off. We found out it doesn’t fall off, but sometimes a nervous mother bites it off at birth or it can born without a tail. Fortunately, a rabbit can live without a tail or a scut, as it’s called. We also discussed incidents where a rabbit might lose its tail if mishandled and being dropped or if a child pulls off the rabbit’s tail. There are certain situations when a rabbit might self mutilate. We also talked about why a rabbit has a white tail and why they put their tails up when a predator is nearby Rabbits can have different shaped tails depending if they’re in the wild or have been bred to live indoors. And last of all, there’s a little quiz to test your rabbit tail knowledge. Good luck!

Other questions:

Why Is A Rabbit’s Tail Or Foot Good Luck?

Some cultures have a superstition that a rabbit’s tail or food brought good luck.Years ago, people carried a rabbit’s foot or tail around with them because they thought it had magical powers. They thought rabbits were charmed animals, with strange powers. This came from a spiritual belief called totemism which thought there was a connection between animals and humans. The rabbit tail or foot was thought lucky. The idea of a lucky rabbit’s foot or rabbit tail carried into modern culture. Some people still carry a synthetic rabbit’s foot or a rabbit tail on their keychain for good luck.

Why does a rabbit wag its tail?

Rabbits communicate in various ways. They thump when they’re upset or fearful. They also wag their tails when they want to express anger or give a warning to an intruder that is getting too close to their cage or nest. Rabbits can be aggressive, especially when protecting their own territory. If you notice your rabbit or someone’s pet rabbit wagging its tail, it might be best to pull back to give the rabbit some space so they won’t feel threatened by you. Mother rabbits are especially protective of their babies or kits as they are called. The term kit is short of kitten.