If you have ever found yourself staring at your pet rabbit or rabbits in the wild, then you might have found yourself drawn towards its feet. They are quite well hidden with fur, so often you won’t be able to make out all the details.
However, there is no straightforward answer to this question. Different breeds of rabbits have different numbers of toes. With a cottontail rabbit, for example, you can find 5 toes on its back legs. Most rabbits also have five toes on their front feet although again, this can differ wildly depending on the species.
There are also some species of rabbit that have 4 toes on each leg, which are also webbed. These toes are used to propel the animal forward in the wild, allowing them to swim and get away from predators a lot quicker.
So why do some rabbits have 5 toes and some have 4? What are the differences between the different species of rabbit? Why is a rabbit not classified as a hare? Why do these creatures eat their own droppings? What times of the day are these animals at their most active?
Well, if you want answers to some of these rabbity questions and a whole lot more, then we would recommend that you read on. We have everything that you need to know about your rabbit’s little paws, as well as what their dietary habits are and how they move when they are out in the wild.
The Big Question: Rabbit Toes, How Many?
Okay, so this is the main reason for this article. Well, traditionally a rabbit has four legs with 18 toenails, making four toes on each foot. However, this is for the more common rabbit. A larger rabbit like a cottontail has 5 toes on its front and hind legs.
This also counts the same for baby bunnies. Some animals tend to grow more appendages as they grow older, however, this is not so with your rabbit. They are born with exactly the number of toes that you’ll want from them.
Rabbits have no paw pads on their feet, unlike some other mammals of their size like cats and dogs. However, this is the method with which their claws scrape across the floor. But doing this the claws eventually get blunted over time.
The rabbit has webbing on the back of its feet so as to distribute the weight across the uneven ground a lot easier. This will also stop detritus from getting in between the gaps in the toes which can often be problematic if they are scrambling up shaley mountains.
Other Fun Facts About Rabbits
Now that we’ve covered your rabbit’s feet, let’s have a look at some other fun facts that you might not know about this amazing creature. Some of these facts are related to the feet, others are just dispelling general misconceptions about rabbits that you might have heard on the grapevine.
1. Rabbits Are Not Hares
This is one of the more common misapprehensions about this species. These animals are related but are actually different genuses. Hares are naturally much faster and more energetic than rabbits, with massive long legs that help them to escape from predators much better.
The other difference between hares and rabbits is the fact that hares will be born complete with fur, long ears and legs that they can use to escape from other animals. Rabbits, on the other hand, have much shorter legs and therefore take a long time to escape animals.
2. They Are Not Rodents
Contrary to the belief of some people who own farms, this animal is in no way a rodent. They are much bigger than rats and cockroaches and are not really considered a threat to animals in the same way.
Lagomorphs, as these rabbits and hares are commonly called by the scientific community, have front protruding teeth, whereas rats and other Rodentia have teeth that stick out at the back.
3. Rabbits Do Not Have Paw Pads
This animal is also distinct from other mammals in that it does not have any underpad paws. This means that this animal will be a lot more sensitive to the surface that it will walk over. You can expect this animal to lose a lot more of its nails and claws.
You should be careful when you are putting your rabbit out in the open, as it will be very difficult for it to tread on sharp stones. Make sure that your rabbit walks on softer grass, as this will be its natural home.
4. They Eat Their Droppings
This animal does tend to eat its own droppings, also known as coprophagia. This is because sometimes it is not getting enough nutrients in its food, so it will try and eat its own feces in order to top up its diet.
This animal will usually eat its own droppings at night and it is a perfectly natural thing for it to do in the wild. If you find your pet rabbit eating its own poop, we would recommend that you take it to the vet, just to rule out any underlying health conditions.
5. They Actually Tiptoe
This movement is otherwise known as digitigrade locomotion. This is when they walk upon the digits rather than the soles of their feet, which is what humans do.
6. They Are Most Active In The Evening And Morning
Your rabbit will take a series of microsleeps during the day. They also sleep with their eyes open, a technique they developed in the wild to evade capture from predators. An easy way to tell if your rabbit is asleep is by the fact that it is lying on its side and is breathing in a much more labored way.