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2005-02

Dear Reba Rabbit

My children were given two bunnies, and they’d like to know their genders before they name them. I’d like to know, too, so we don’t have a house full of rabbits. How do I determine their genders? If they’re male and female, can they be neutered?

Reba Responds

You can determine their genders two ways.

One way is to look around the groin. A mature male, called a buck, has two cigar-shaped testicles, and a circular opening between them. A female, called a doe, has a slit.

For some helpful photos, see www.geocities.com/dutchrabbitinfo/sexing.html.

The other way to determine your bunnies’ genders is to ask your veterinarian to examine them. While you’re there, make an appointment to have them neutered just before or shortly after they are sexually mature.

Sexual maturity in small to medium-sized breeds occurs at four to six months. In giant breeds, it can occur as late as nine months.

We pet rabbits are spayed and neutered not only for the reason you mention, but also to decrease the aggression and urine spraying that can occur in both does and bucks after sexual maturity.

In addition, spaying prevents uterine and mammary cancer in us does. Nearly 80 percent of unspayed does develop uterine cancer, which is usually fatal.

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