Q:

How do rabbits move?

A:

Quick Answer

Rabbits generally hop using a gallop-style gait, during which the back paws land together in pairs forward of and outside of the front paws. They use this gait whether they are moving quickly or slowly. Rabbits will also walk when carefully exploring a new area.

Know More
How do rabbits move?
Credit: zahoor salmi Moment Open Getty Images

Full Answer

The rabbit's skeletal and muscular systems are highly adapted to this style of movement. Their spines contain elongated bones along the abdominal region, allowing them to flex and compress strongly while bounding. Their back limbs are much longer than their front limbs, with most of the length of the leg made up of the bones below the knee, the fibula and tibia. Attached to these bones and to the femur, the leg bone above the knee, are extremely powerful muscles.

In addition, the rabbit skeleton as a whole is light. It makes up, on average, 8 percent of an animal's weight, as compared to 12 percent for the similarly sized domestic cat. This reduction in weight makes it easier for the animal to get off the ground and move rapidly when in danger.

Bounding puts a lot of pressure on a rabbit's back, and because the skeleton is so delicate, rabbits are prone to fracturing spinal vertebrae.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    How high can rabbits jump?

    A:

    Rabbits can jump vertically about 2 feet, but they can also leap 9 feet horizontally due to their robust back legs. Rabbits can balance on those powerful legs to scout their surroundings for predators, and they thump the ground vigorously to alert other rabbits of danger.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How are rabbits classified?

    A:

    Rabbits, in scientific classification, belong to the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Chordata, Class Mammalia, Order Lagomorpha and Family Leporidae. Rabbits share the common name of Old World rabbit, domestic rabbit, or simply rabbit. These creatures belong to different genera depending on their species classification.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why do rabbits thump?

    A:

    Rabbits thump their back legs when they feel that there is danger nearby in order to warn others in the warren. The rabbits detect this danger through any of their senses including when they smell something in the air like smoke, when they see a threat like a fox or when they hear suspicious moving noises nearby.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How long do rabbits stay pregnant?

    A:

    Gestation in rabbits lasts between 28 and 31 days, and females can mate again within hours of giving birth. Rabbits are induced ovulators, which means the act of mating stimulates the female to ovulate. The mother can give birth to a new litter before the previous litter is even weaned.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore