Have you ever found yourself wondering if rabbits have whiskers? It is common knowledge that certain animals, like cats, have whiskers, but can the same be said for rabbits? Something that you might not know is that there are important reasons to explain why certain animals have whiskers.
In this article, we are going to tell you more about rabbits and their whiskers, so you can get a better understanding of why they need them. We are also going to provide you with information on what can go wrong with their whiskers.
Why Do Rabbits Have Whiskers?
You might already know this, but rabbits have superior hearing, a large field of vision, and a keen sense of smell. As well as this, they have an excellent sense of touch. Rabbits have whiskers of their nose, mouth, cheeks, and near the eyes. Their whiskers are thicker and stiffer than the hair that can be found on other parts of their body.
Whiskers are often located in the nerve-rich regions of a rabbit’s body, and every whisker will have a follicle at the end of it, which contains sensory nerves. This means that anything that touches your rabbit’s whiskers will be felt by your rabbit, even if it is only gently.
The nerves that can be found in the vibrissae follicles are really sensitive, and they allow the rabbits to measure the breadth of tunnels, passageways, and holes before they enter them. If your rabbit is a healthy weight, their whiskers will be the same length as the widest part of the body. Your rabbit’s whiskers will let them know if they will not be able to comfortably fit through a tunnel or opening.
Sensing Nearby Objects
Even though rabbits have a wide range of vision, they are not able to focus as clearly as humans are able to. This is why they will need to use their whiskers to sense any objects that are close to their face. A rabbit’s entire body is covered with sensitive nerve endings, which is why they are so responsive to touch.
Finding Their Way in the Dark
Rabbits will also use their whiskers in order to navigate when they are in poor lighting conditions. Their whiskers will provide sensory input and feedback from objects that are close to them, and this can be used to help them to stay away from predators and keep away from dangerous objects.
Protection For The Eyes
The whiskers that are in place around your rabbit’s eyebrows will also offer sensory feedback, but another critical function of eye whiskers is that they protect the eyes from fine particles and debris. In order to do this, the whiskers will catch any particles or debris before they fall into the eyes. This will also work to warn your rabbit that there are obstacles near its head.
Without their whiskers, rabbits would not be able to navigate and sense the objects around them. If this were the case, the rabbit would struggle to survive in the wild, as they wouldn’t be able to function as they normally would. It would be really difficult to survive in the wild with no whiskers or compromised whiskers.
How Do Whiskers Work in Rabbits?
Now that you know exactly why whiskers are essential for rabbits when they are going about their normal daily lives, you might be left wondering how exactly they work. This is something that we are going to explain for you below.
When it comes to the whiskers of a rabbit, when the vibrissae brush onto an object, any irregularities on the surface of that object will be translated into movements of the whiskers. Such movements are picked up by hundreds of motion sensors that are present inside the vibrissal hair follicles.
The nerves will then pass on specific information about the speed, direction, and duration of the movement of the whiskers. This would allow for the rabbit to determine the exact location, texture, size, and more of the objects.
Can I Cut My Rabbit’s Whiskers?
No, you should absolutely never cut your rabbit’s whiskers, as these are vital sensory tools. Rabbits are not able to focus as clearly without their whiskers. They need their whiskers to be able to navigate through dark tunnels and measure the breadth of an opening or tunnel. Regardless of this, your rabbit’s whiskers would grow back in a few weeks.
What if Their WHiskers Are Too Long?
If you have noticed that your rabbit’s whiskers are starting to fray and they are curly on the ends, it is sometimes okay to trim them in order to get rid of the damage. Whiskers that are too long but that are in great shape do not need to be trimmed. Trimming or cutting your rabbit’s whiskers will not cause your pet any pain, but it is not recommended to do so if:
- You are cutting the whiskers only because you are trimming facial fut
- You that that the whiskers are too long
- They are not causing any problems for your rabbit
Cutting your rabbit’s whiskers could affect their lifestyle in a negative way. However, if you accidentally cut a couple, it is unlikely that your rabbit will notice, and they should grow back in a few weeks.
My Rabbit’s Whiskers Are Falling Out
Throughout the life of a rabbit, their whiskers will go through growth, dormancy, and shedding phases. So, if you notice that an odd whisker falls out every now and then, this is nothing for you to worry about. However, if they are losing lots of whiskers in a short period of time, there might be another issue that needs to be resolved or treated.
Why is My Rabbit Losing Their Whiskers?
Severe or complete whisker loss in rabbits isn’t something that is common, but there are lots of things that could explain this occurrence. Some of them include:
- Regular fighting with another rabbit
- Bacterial infections
- Fungal infections
- Dermatitis and other skin conditions
- Mite infestations
- Hormonal disorders