satin angora rabbit shedding

Is My Rabbit Shedding Excessively? (Causes and Solutions)

Posted by Rita on 12 August 2023

Why is my rabbit shedding so much? This is a question most rabbit owners ask at some point during their first year of bunny ownership. Most bunny owners panic when they see large clumps of rabbit fur all over the place. A rabbit shedding a lot can be a sign of an underlying health problem or a lack of proper grooming, but it can also be completely normal.

Rabbits go through heavy sheds twice a year, normally in spring and autumn (fall). During this time, they will shed most of their fur coats in a matter of days to weeks. These sheds happen to prepare them for the next season, either by growing a thick winter coat to cope with the drop in temperature or a short summer coat to cope with hot weather.

In this blog, we will explore normal rabbit shedding cycles, the causes of excessive fur loss in rabbits, how to identify it, and what to do to keep your rabbits fur healthy.

rabbit shedding winter coat

Understanding Rabbit Shedding Cycles

Typically, rabbits go through two periods of heavy fur loss per year, usually in the spring and fall. During these times, bunnies shed their summer or winter coats to prepare for the upcoming season. The hair loss cycle can last for several days to weeks, and rabbits may molt excessively during this time.

The amount of shedding depends on various factors, including the time of year, breed, age, stress levels, if they are outdoor or indoor rabbits and the health of the rabbit. Some rabbits may molt more than others, and monitoring their shedding patterns is essential to ensure they are healthy.

When a rabbit sheds, it usually sheds its undercoat first, followed by the guard hairs. The undercoat is a soft and fluffy layer of fur that helps insulate the rabbit's body. The guard hairs are longer and coarser hairs that form the outer layer of the rabbit's coat. Together, they protect the rabbit's skin from dirt, moisture, and parasites.

Keep in mind that you will not see the undercoat just lying around. It is kept in place by the guard hairs and will only be shed when the guard hairs eventually fall out. This process gives the new coat time to grow underneath the current coat before the hair is lost. For this very reason, it is unlikely that you'll see any hairless patches on your rabbit during the molting season.

rabbit with thick winter coat

It's crucial to note that shedding is a natural process, and there's no way to stop it entirely. However, there are ways to manage molting and reduce the amount of hair loss.

Healthy rabbits usually molt their fur in a cyclical pattern. This seasonal process is triggered every three months and is influenced by the amount of daylight, temperature, and humidity in the air.

Does this mean they shed four times a year? But we just said they shed twice a year?

Bunnies shed four times a year but only go through two heavy sheds. The two lighter sheds in summer and winter might not even be noticeable at all.

It's also important to note that heavy molting can cause problems such as GI stasis. You can help prevent such issues by regularly grooming your bunny to help remove loose fur and prevent hairballs from forming in the rabbit's digestive system.

Providing a healthy diet with plenty of fiber (hay is best) and hydration can also help reduce hair loss. Stress can also contribute to why your bunny is losing so much fur, so providing a calm and comfortable environment for the rabbit is essential.

Understanding a rabbit's shedding cycle is crucial for its health, well-being, and longevity. Owners can ensure their rabbits remain healthy and happy by monitoring their shedding patterns and providing proper care.

bunny rabbit with grey coat moulting

Why Is My Rabbit Shedding So Much?

Rabbits shed their fur for various reasons, some of which are completely normal, natural behaviors and some may indicate health or environmental issues. Understanding why bunnies shed can help pet owners identify when shedding is normal and when it may require veterinary attention.

Here are a few reasons your rabbit may be losing fur:

  • Seasonal Molting

Rabbits shed their fur four times a year, with heavy sheds in spring and fall. This is a natural process that helps them adapt to changes in temperature and light and get rid of old, damaged fur to keep their skin healthy.

Bunnies shed their thick winter coats in the spring to prepare for warmer weather. They also shed their lighter summer coats in the autumn to grow thicker winter coats.

Changes in daylight and temperature control this molting process.

  • Excessive Shedding

If a rabbit is losing excessive fur outside of the two heavy shed periods, it may be a sign of stress or illness. Stressful situations such as moving to a new home, changes in diet, or loud noises can trigger this type of molting.

Illnesses such as mites, infections, or hormonal imbalances can also trigger excessive shedding in bunnies. If a bunny is losing excessive fur without any known cause, it is important to consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

Curious rabbit on a lawn
  • Behavioral Changes

In addition to external signs of molting, rabbits may exhibit other behavioral changes during molting periods. It is common for bunnies to become more irritable, grumpy, or lethargic during molting. It is also common for them to spend more time grooming themselves.

These changes are normal and can be managed by providing a comfortable and stress-free environment for the bunny. You can also help them out by gently removing large clumps of loose fur with your hands or a pet brush.

If your rabbit stops eating, drinking, or moving, it might be a sign of more serious issues, and a veterinarian should be consulted immediately.

Identifying Excessive Shedding In Bunnies

One of the most noticeable signs of excessive shedding is the appearance of bald patches on your rabbit's coat. These patches may be small or large and can occur anywhere on the body.

If you notice hairless patches, it is important to investigate further and determine the cause of the hair loss.

Another way to identify excessive shedding is to monitor how often your rabbit is molting. Rabbits naturally molt roughly every three months, so shedding outside of this schedule may be a sign of a problem. If your bunny is shedding constantly, it may be a sign of excessive molting.

It is also important to pay attention to how your rabbit's coat looks and feels. If your rabbit's coat looks dull or feels rough, it may be a sign of too much fur loss. Additionally, if your rabbit's coat looks patchy or uneven, it may be a sign of bald patches or other shedding issues.

Overall, it is important to notice any changes in your rabbit's shedding patterns and investigate further if you notice any signs of excessive fur loss. You can help keep your rabbit healthy and happy by identifying and addressing shedding issues early on.

Bunny shedding on neck and back

Common Causes Of Excessive Shedding

A variety of factors, including genetics, diet, environment, and health conditions, can cause excessive molting in rabbits. Here are some of the most common causes of excessive shedding in rabbits:


Some rabbit breeds are more prone to excessive shedding than others.

For example, rabbits with thicker fur, such as Rexes, Angoras, Jersey Woolies, and Belgian Hares, are more likely to shed excessively than breeds with naturally thinner fur coats, such as Lops, Netherland Dwarfs and Himalayan Rabbits.

However, excessive shedding can also be a sign of other underlying health issues, so it is important to monitor your bunny's molting patterns and consult with a veterinarian if you are concerned.


A rabbit's diet can also play a role in their shedding patterns. A diet that is lacking in essential nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, and minerals, can lead to poor coat quality and excessive shedding. Additionally, a diet high in carbohydrates or sugar can cause skin irritation and inflammation, leading to patchy coats and rashes.

bynny grooming itself


The environment in which a rabbit lives can also affect their molting patterns. Rabbits that are kept in dirty or dusty environments are more likely to shed excessively, as their skin and fur can become irritated and inflamed.

Additionally, rabbits exposed to extreme temperatures or humidity levels may also shed more than usual.

Health Conditions

Several health conditions can cause rabbits to shed excessively. Skin infections, mites, and other parasites can all lead to patchy coats and excessive molting. Additionally, rabbits with sensitive skin may be more prone to shedding due to allergies or other skin conditions.

Impact On Bunny's Health

Excessive shedding in rabbits can be a sign of underlying health issues. Monitoring your rabbit's molting patterns and seeking veterinary care if you notice any abnormal changes is important.

One potential health issue that can arise from excessive shedding is gastrointestinal (GI) stasis. This is a condition where the digestive system slows down or stops working altogether, which can lead to serious health problems and even death. Rabbits that shed excessively may ingest more fur than usual, which can cause blockages in the digestive system and lead to stasis.

In addition to GI stasis, excessive molting can also impact a rabbit's overall digestive health. When rabbits ingest large amounts of fur, it can lead to the formation of hairballs in the digestive tract. Hairballs can cause discomfort, pain and even lead to blockages in the digestive system.

Unlike cats, it's important to note that a rabbit cannot vomit up a hairball. Rabbits, just like horses, are not capable of vomiting at all.

In some cases, excessive shedding may be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as a skin infection or hormonal imbalance.

If you notice abnormal changes in your rabbit's molting and unusual behavioral changes, seek veterinary care to determine the underlying cause and ensure your bunny's health and well-being.

rabbit shedding in spring

Grooming Your Rabbit

Grooming is an essential part of keeping a rabbit's coat healthy and preventing fur-related health conditions. Regular grooming helps remove loose hair, dirt, and debris from the bunny's coat, preventing hairballs and other digestive issues. Grooming also helps distribute natural oils throughout the fur, keeping it soft, shiny, and healthy.

To groom a rabbit, one can use a soft-bristled brush or a comb. A slicker brush can also be used to remove tangles and mats. In some cases, you might find damp hands work the best for safe fur removal. If you do go for a brush, it's important to choose the right type of brush or comb based on the rabbit's coat type. A short-haired rabbit may require a different type of brush than a long-haired rabbit.

When grooming a rabbit, it is important to be gentle and avoid pulling or tugging on the fur. Start by brushing the rabbit's neck and back, moving on to the sides, then move on to the legs, tail, and head. Be sure to pay attention to areas where mats and tangles may form, such as behind the ears, under the chin, and under the tail. This is especially important in large-breed bunnies. Due to their size, they don't always manage to groom properly, which can cause skin and coat problems.

In addition to brushing, one can also help keep a rabbit's coat healthy by providing a balanced diet with plenty of fresh hay and water. A healthy diet helps promote healthy fur growth and reduces the risk of skin issues that can lead to excessive shedding.

hair of a bunny after a brush

When To Consult A Vet

If a bunny is shedding excessively, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue. While some molting is normal, excessive shedding can be a cause for concern.

Here are some signs that may indicate a rabbit needs to see a vet:

A vet can perform a physical examination to determine if there is an underlying health issue causing the excessive fur loss. They may also recommend blood tests or other diagnostic tests to rule out any underlying health problems.

In some cases, a rabbit may be losing fur due to stress. If this is the case, a vet can advise on reducing stress in the rabbit's environment.

It is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible if a bunny loses abnormal amounts of fur. Delaying treatment can lead to further health problems and may make the underlying issue harder to treat.

pet lop bunny coat after grooming

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, excessive fur loss in rabbits can be caused by a variety of factors. While shedding is a natural process for all rabbits, it is important to monitor your pet's coat and behavior for any signs of abnormal fur loss.

Some common causes of excessive shedding include stress, boredom, ill health, and changes in the environment. Rabbits may also shed excessively due to hormonal changes or underlying medical conditions such as fur mites or allergies.

To prevent excessive molting, it is important to provide your rabbit with a healthy diet, a clean living environment, and plenty of opportunities for exercise and play. Regular grooming can also help promotes a healthy and shiny coat.

If you notice any signs of abnormal fur loss or changes in your rabbit's behavior, it is important to consult with a veterinarian. With proper care and attention, you can help keep your rabbit healthy and happy for years.

Key Takeaways

  • Excessive shedding in rabbits can be a sign of an underlying health problem or a lack of proper grooming.

  • Understanding rabbit molting and why rabbits shed is crucial to identifying when your rabbit is shedding excessively.

  • Regular grooming and proper nutrition can help prevent excessive fur loss in bunnies and promote healthy coats.

Frequently Asked Questions

rabbit in a grass field eating flowers

When do rabbits shed the most?

Rabbits typically shed the most during the spring and fall seasons. This is when they go through their major molting periods. During these times, rabbits will shed large amounts of fur, which can be alarming for some owners. However, this is a normal and healthy process for rabbits.

What months do rabbits shed the most?

Rabbits go through heavy shedding periods two times a year, usually in the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November). However, some rabbits may shed more frequently, especially if they are kept indoors or have health issues.

What are some common causes of excessive rabbit shedding?

Excessive shedding in rabbits can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, and health issues such as parasites and infections. It is important to identify the underlying cause of excessive shedding in rabbits and address it appropriately.

How do you help a molting rabbit?

During shedding season, it is important to brush your rabbit regularly to help remove loose fur and prevent matting. Use a soft-bristled brush or a grooming mitt to gently brush your rabbit's fur in the direction of growth. Be sure to avoid pulling or tugging on any mats or tangles.

How can stress affect a rabbit's shedding?

Stress can have a significant impact on a rabbit's shedding patterns. When rabbits are stressed, they may shed more frequently or excessively. It is important to provide a calm and comfortable environment for your rabbit to help reduce stress and minimize shedding.

What are some signs that excessive shedding may be a health concern for a rabbit?

Excessive shedding can be a sign of an underlying health issue in rabbits. If your bunny is shedding excessively and you notice patches of missing fur, scabs, or signs of irritation, it is important to consult with a veterinarian. Other signs of a health concern may include lethargy, loss of appetite, and changes in behavior.

Why is my rabbit's fur coming out in clumps?

Rabbit fur can come out in clumps due to molting, stress, poor nutrition, or an underlying health problem. Identifying the underlying cause is important to ensure that your rabbit is healthy.


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