Scary Numbers: Rabbit Reproduction Rates


Having seen figures on dog and cat reproduction, such as “a single female cat and her offspring can produce 120,000 kittens in 7 years,” we couldn’t help wondering how many babies one rabbit might produce. So, we contacted Dr. Dana Krempels at the University of Miami, who kindly agreed to allow her calculations on rabbit fecundity to be reproduced.  Krempels came up with the following statistics: one female rabbit and her offspring can theoretically produce 50,653 rabbits in three years, 69 million in five years and 64 BILLION in seven years!

Yes, that’s 64 billion bunnies. Thus the expression, “breeding like rabbits.”

Of course, these calculations, like the ones for cats and dogs, assume a zero mortality rate, and the mortality rate for rabbits is in fact quite high. Still, in practical terms, we rabbit rescuers often hear of two rabbits producing a couple of hundred in a year or two, adding up to thousands of unwanted rabbits in the Los Angeles area at any given point in time. We cannot find homes for all these rabbits.

We can, however, help the rabbits by getting them neutered and by educating people about how fast they multiply. Here are a few key facts: A rabbit has a gestation period of just 28-31 days, will give birth to an average of 6-9 kits, and can get pregnant again moments after giving birth. Male rabbits should generally be neutered between 3-5 months of age and females spayed between 4-6 months of age. It’s important to find a veterinarian experienced in performing neuter operations on rabbits—check with your local rabbit rescue group for a referral.

Once neutered, rabbits can be box-trained and live indoors, cage-free in a bunny-proofed home, freed from the constant worries and hormonal surges of their outdoor, intact counterparts. House rabbits enjoy the security and comfort of living indoors, and benefit from the attention of their human companions. Happy rabbits, indeed.

Michelle Kelly is the founder of Los Angeles Rabbit Foundation. For a referral to a veterinarian experienced in rabbit neuter operations, or to adopt a pre-neutered pair of happy house rabbits, please contact her at or visit

Article reprinted with permission from The Pet Gazette