Rabbits make wonderful pets for so many reasons. They are insanely cute, and incredibly loving. They are totally adorable little balls of fluff, and they are also wonderful fun to play with.
But, when you are playing with your rabbit, you might find yourself becoming concerned about them hurting themselves. This is understandable when you consider the before mentioned small size of them.
When they are having fun, it is not uncommon for rabbits to bounce around like children, and this hopping often results in them banging into things around them. Rabbits look fragile, so you may expect them to be fragile. But rabbits aren’t actually as fragile as you might expect. That is, as long as you feed them a healthy diet, and encourage them to build bone strength throughout their life.
In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at how many ribs a rabbit has, and everything else you need to know to ensure that your rabbit has healthy bones that will allow them to live a happy life.
How many Ribs does a Rabbit have?
Just like all animals, rabbits have ribs in their anatomy to protect their internal organs from damage. As rabbits are such small animals, you might expect them to have a much smaller number of ribs than humans, but this isn’t actually the case. In fact, generally speaking, rabbits have the same number of ribs as human beings do. Their ribs are simply much smaller.
In most cases, a rabbit will have 12 sets of ribs, giving them 24 ribs in total. The first 7 sets of ribs are the most important, as they are known as ‘true sets’. They are referred to as this because the first 7 sets of ribs are attached to the costal cartilage of your rabbit’s chest. Whereas the other 5 sets of ribs are not, hence their name ‘false sets’
You may have heard the term ‘floating’ ribs thrown around when speaking of the male anatomy, but rabbits actually have floating ribs too. In fact, the final two sets of ribs (11th and 12th) are floating ribs, which means that they are not attached to the sternum, giving the impression that they are simply floating there.
With an animal that is as small as a rabbit, it can be quite amazing to think that they have 24 bones in their rib cage alone. But these bones actually make up around 10% of the total of bones in your rabbit’s body. A healthy rabbit will have 222 bones in their body, 24 of which can be found in their rib cage.
Historically, the anatomy of a rabbit’s rib cage has proven very useful in telling the difference between rabbits and other animals. In the past, rabbits have been confused with cats, but one easy way to tell the difference between these two animals is to feel their ribs.
As we have said, rabbits have 7 sets of ‘true’ ribs, whereas cats have 9 sets of ‘true’ ribs. Almost all animals have 24 ribs in total, but by looking at their ‘true’ and ‘false’ ribs, you can tell the difference between them.
Rib Weakness in Rabbits
Earlier we spoke about how some people get concerned when they play with their rabbits because they believe rabbits are fragile.
We mentioned that rabbits generally aren’t that fragile as long as they eat a healthy diet. If your rabbit does not eat a healthy diet, along with foods that promote bone strength, then there is a fair chance that they could be at risk of getting hurt during play time.
Rabbits are incredibly sensitive, and everything they eat plays a massive part in their health. Eating a balanced diet is very important for humans, and it is also very important for smaller animals like rabbits.
There are lots of different vitamins and minerals that rabbits need to eat in order to have strong and healthy bones. If they do not eat these, then your rabbit could begin to suffer with weakness in their bones, and more importantly, weakness in their ribs. So, let’s take a look at the foods you should feed your rabbit to ensure that they stay healthy and strong.
The Importance of a Healthy Diet
For humans to lead a healthy life, it is important that we eat a sufficient amount of calcium in our diet. The same principle applies to rabbits.
Calcium is vitally important for keeping teeth and bones strong and healthy, so the main thing you need to ensure your rabbit eats is the correct amount of calcium. One way that some bunny owners fall down is that they feed their rabbits too much calcium, and this can actually have a negative impact on their health. So, it is important that you feed your rabbit the right amount of calcium.
But calcium isn’t the only thing that you have to feed your rabbit if you want them to be strong and healthy. One of the other most important things to feed your rabbit is fruit and vegetables.
These foods should only be fed in moderation, but they are a great way to give your rabbit lots of vitamins, and are also an additional source of calcium. Some of the best fruits and vegetables to feed your rabbit include: dried apricots, kiwi, lettuce, and broccoli.
Finally, the most important thing to feed your rabbit is hay. Grass hay should make up the majority of your rabbit’s diet because it is great at preventing their teeth from overgrowing. Grass hay is also very high in fiber, which is essential for a healthy diet. So, if you want your rabbit to be healthy, and to have strong bones and ribs, you should feed them a mixture of everything we have outlined above.
In short, rabbits have 12 sets of ribs, which means that they have 24 ribs in total. Their ribs make up around 10% of the bones in their body, and it is very important to feed your rabbit a healthy diet if you want their ribs to remain strong and healthy.