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Can Rabbits Climb Trees?

Last Updated: 02.04.20


If you are in the market looking for large rabbit hutches, you might be interested in one of our recent articles on this topic. Speaking about rabbits, we’re recently stumbled upon a very interesting question that we would like to share: can rabbits climb trees?

You might think this is a silly question, but it will not seem this way after you continue reading. Considering that rabbits are ground-dwelling creatures, when hearing this question, the natural answer would be, no, rabbits cannot climb anything!


Climbing Abilities

If you look at a rabbit’s anatomy, these animals are not built for climbing, like cats, for example. Their front paws are much smaller than the back ones, and they are not strong enough to support the body’s entire weight when climbing. Still, guess what? Rabbits can climb on things, including trees.

Rabbits are equipped with extremely strong back limbs. This allows them to leap for great distances. The exact height of their jump is often debated, but it is somewhere between two and four feet. They can also leap across up to nine feet horizontally.

Normally, rabbits can climb on various things by jumping on them. If the environment allows them, they can use whatever they have available to jump higher and higher from one item to the other. For example, a rabbit can jump on a chair, and from there, on the table. Of course, when it comes to trees, it is a very different story.



Climbing Trees

This is not a rabbit’s normal behavior, and that is why it seems so strange. Most of us have never seen a rabbit on a tree so it might be a little hard to believe. However, there are people who have seen and even taken pictures of these animals up on trees.

It seems that when things get rough on the ground, they can climb on relatively low trees in search of something more palatable. Rabbits can also take a running jump at a tree, if they can reach a stable spot on the branches to support them.


As previously mentioned, they are not naturally equipped for climbing, but if they need food, rabbits might get up to 20 feet after a number of tries and falls.

Sloping trunks can also help a lot especially if the trunk is rough. They can also use small branches that are lower. Usually, their motivation can come from being hungry or from the need to protect themselves from ground predators.


So, Can Rabbits Climb Trees?

If we are to answer this question in a different manner, we would say no, rabbits cannot climb trees because they are more or less burrowing animals that are not equipped to climb trees similarly to their feline and arboreal counterparts.

At the same time, the answer can also be yes, provided that the tree or the branches are hanging low and are also wide enough to support a hopping bunny. Furthermore, since rabbits are great jumpers, it is not difficult for them to get on such trees and shrubs.


Did You Know?

Since we described quite an unusual habit of rabbits, we decided to offer you more information about things you might not know about these cute creatures.

For example, did you know that rabbits are not rodents? This is a common mistake most people make. Although their teeth never stop growing, just like in the case of rodents, these animals are actually lagomorphs. They are quite different from rodents in multiple ways: their teeth are different and their digestive systems work differently. Also, unlike rodents, rabbits are herbivorous.

Furthermore, did you know that rabbits eat their own poop? We might find this behavior disgusting, but there is a logic to it. Their diet is very hard to break down, so they have two types of poops: a hard dry pellet one, and a soft black orb.

Rabbits eat the soft stool every morning and this allows their digestive system another attempt to extract nutrients out of the food. This is similar to the cow’s habit of chewing its cud but instead of half-barfing up partially digested food, a rabbit eats pooped-out food that is partially digested.

Similarly to cats, rabbits indicate emotions by changing their ear position. Anger and agitation are indicated by the ears turned backward or pressed low over their back. Rabbits also express emotions using their body’s position. For example, a rabbit that is turned to face you directly is most likely pretty angry.

Differently from cats, this time, a rabbit’s tail that is pointed up or out also indicates anger. On the other hand, a tail tucked down means peacefulness. Basically, rabbits have their own anger language.

Did you know that rabbits sleep with their eyes open? This is not just a saying as some might think, but they literally sleep with their eyes open. Since they are a target for many types of predators and also get eaten a lot, rabbits have some pretty good abilities that help them avoid becoming a predator’s next meal.

For example, their speed and big powerful clawed back legs are very helpful. The fact that their eyes are open even while they sleep can alert and awaken them when danger is near.



Another interesting fact about these creatures is that rabbits cannot puke. Due to how their digestive system is structured, meaning a block between the stomach and the esophagus, rabbits cannot regurgitate.

Moving on, did you know that rabbit manure is considered to be one of the most efficient types of natural manures on the planet? First, it comes in a dry pellet form which is very convenient. Secondly, rabbit manure has an extremely high nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus content, which is more than cattle or poultry manure, and it is also much easier to handle.

Furthermore, possibly the weirdest rabbit species in the world is the Amami rabbit. It can be found only on two small southern-Japanese islands. This species is an ancient, primitive rabbit that has small ears, eyes, very short legs, but big claws used for climbing. The Amami rabbit is often referred to as a living fossil due to how long it has remained almost unchanged.

Pet bunnies may come in domesticated breeds, but their attitude on the world remains very close to that of their wild relatives. Since rabbits are a prey species, for them, life is all about survival.

For this reason, they are in a continuous state of alert. This explains why many rabbits can’t stand being picked up and may even nip if you try. If you come to think about it, your hands are not too different than the claws of a bird of prey swooping down to catch the bunny.

Rabbits remain one of the most favorite choices when it comes to adopting pets. It is really no wonder, as they are amazing animals. Still, these cute creatures remain one of the most misunderstood types of pets. That is why we have decided to bring you some interesting details about rabbits that you might not know.




Irina Ionescu

As a long-term learner and animal lover, Irina helps her readers find the best products and accessories for their pets, as well as the latest training techniques, tips & tricks on how to handle animals.

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