How Long Do Rabbits Stay in Nest? How Deep Is a Rabbit Nest?

Baby Rabbits

Rabbits’ nests are made by pregnant rabbits a week before their baby bunnies are born. This is an instinctive habit to hide and protect their baby bunnies from predators, diseases, infections, the sun and weather.

Wild mother rabbits build their nest by digging burrows on the ground and filling the holes up with dry grass and hay. Most pet mother rabbits do not have the space to do that neither do they need it. They only need a little space in the corner of their hutch to nest. 

If you continue reading the article, you might just discover and learn interesting facts about rabbits and their nests.

How Long Do Rabbits Stay in Nest?

The amount of weeks rabbits stay in their nest depends on whether they are wild or domesticated rabbits. Wild baby rabbits stop weaning at a younger age and instinctively learn to survive on their own early, so they stay in their nest for about three to five weeks.  Pet baby rabbits are more dependent and have the luxury to stay in their nest and be weaned for about four to eight weeks.

Before baby bunnies are completely weaned though, they do leave the nest sometimes to “exercise” by hopping around and observing their environment. They start doing this from around two weeks old.

Do Baby Bunnies Leave The Nest On Their Own?

Yes, they leave the nest on their own. Mother rabbits are one of the few animals that cannot move their offsprings by themselves. So the baby rabbits either leave the nest on their own or get moved either by humans or other animals.

Most baby rabbits start leaving their nest temporarily when they are about three weeks old. They start exploring and leaving the nest to play, hop around or chew on the eatables nearby, but they will always return to the nest at least till they permanently leave the nest.

Then they leave the nest permanently when they are about four to eight weeks old. They become completely independent and stop weaning when they are two months old. This is because they have become mature with their immune system is fully developed and strong so they do not need their mother’s milk for nutrients again. But this is only exclusive to pet rabbits.

Wild rabbits permanently leave their nest much younger at a maximum of four weeks old. It is instinctive and also a survival habit. It doesn’t necessarily mean that their immune system has been fully developed. In fact, many of wild bunnies from the same nest die after they permanently leave the nest; only the few strongest ones survive on their own. 

This is because they could easily get sick and their immune system might not be strong enough to protect them. They might also become victims of the many rabbit predators because they might not have completely learned how to hide from and avoid predators.

How Long Do Baby Bunnies Stay With Their Mother?

Although pet baby rabbits might start leaving their nest when they are 5 weeks old, they still hang around their mother till they are 8 weeks old. This is because they still wean and are dependent on their mother’s milk even though they can munch on hay and veggies from time to time.

Baby bunnies staying with their mother for 8 weeks is essential because they need to feed on their mother’s milk for that period to build a strong immune system. If they don’t build a strong immune system, their growth will be stunted; they will be extremely prone to diseases and they may end up dying.

Pet baby bunnies stay with their mother after the eight weaning weeks if you do not separate them; not necessarily because they need their mother for survival but because that is the only available home for them. 

Although, it is more advisable to build their own hutch for them; living with their mother after is not an issue because they can coexist peacefully with mother in the same hutch. However, it is important to note that, if there are not enough food and space for grown rabbits and their mother to stay in, there might be issues and competition for survival between the rabbits.

Apart from this, the mother rabbit might also get pregnant again from the male rabbits and you might have another litter of baby rabbits!

Will a mother Rabbit Return To a Disturbed Nest?

While wild mother rabbits abandon their nest at the first sign of a disturbance, pet mother rabbits do not mind a disturbed nest at all. Wild mother rabbits do not return to a disturbed nest majorly because it might indicate the first sign of the presence of a predator.

Most pet mother rabbits will trust you enough to clean their babies’ nests and fill them up with hay and they wouldn’t even mind if you take the baby rabbits out to play for a while. They can only stop you by biting you if the baby rabbits are too young (like a week old) to be carried out or if you don’t handle them carefully.

How Many Bunnies Can Stay In a Nest?

As many baby bunnies that a mother rabbit delivers in a litter can stay in a nest. A rabbit litter consist of 1 baby bunny at the least, 6 at an average and 15 baby bunnies at a maximum.

The mother rabbit does not stay in the nest often but the nest can also accommodate her. This makes a total of 26. So 16 rabbits can stay in a nest at a maximum.

How Deep Is a Rabbit Nest?

A rabbit’s nest is usually about three inches deep. This is because the nest should be wild enough to fit the mother rabbit so as not to stomp on the baby rabbits and kill them by mistake.

It is also small enough not to allow insects to breed in there or to tempt the mother rabbit to make the nest her potty.

Do Bunnies Return To Their Nest?

Bunnies will return to their nest if they are still young and dependent on their mother. But once they are fully mature and independent, they do their nest completely and do not return to them.

Where Do Rabbits Go When They Leave The Nest?

When wild rabbits leave the nest completely, they go anywhere in the wild. Depending on their personal preferences, they might decide to travel far or just stay nearby.

When your pet rabbit leaves its nest, it does not have to go anywhere if you don’t want it to. It can stay with its mother and siblings if there are enough resources to take care of them all. But it will be better to make a separate hutch for them.


Motherhood is a beautiful thing for all creatures including rabbits. Whether they are wild or your pet rabbits, try as much to not disrupt their mother-kits experience. It is safer this way, most times their instinct knows best.

Only interfere when necessary or in times of danger. In cases like this, watching is not only fun both also beneficial.

Written by Justin Michaels

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