Do Rabbits Really Lay Eggs, or Is It an Easter Myth?

Here's a look into how bunnies, well, multiply like bunnies.

Jamie Bichelman - Author

Mar. 13 2024, Published 12:46 p.m. ET

A white rabbit walks forward on the green grass of a park with trees in the background.
Source: iStock

Rabbits are excellent options for families looking to adopt a cuddly companion. They're also known for being prolific at producing offspring. But do their babies come from eggs?

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Whether it's Easter and you're curious if the Easter eggs you're hiding around the yard are holding tiny bunny fetuses, or you're curious if the beloved bunny you share a home with lays eggs, keep reading to learn more about this floppy-eared animal and how the species reproduces.

Four rabbits of different colors walk together in pairs in an open grassy field.
Source: iStock
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Do rabbits and bunnies lay eggs?

According to FOX 35 Orlando, no, rabbits do not lay eggs, as they are what's known as placental mammals — just like humans, cows, horses, dogs, sheep, cats, and elephants.

Therefore, the fetuses of unborn rabbits are carried in the mother rabbit's uterus.

Why do people think rabbits lay eggs?

It is likely that the misconception of rabbits laying eggs comes from their status as symbols associated with Easter, an egg-heavy holiday.

From a mythical Easter Bunny hiding eggs from children, to the prize for finding said eggs being chocolate eggs or candy eggs, it's no wonder that an erroneous connection between rabbits and eggs has become so widespread.

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Per, the Bible does not reference an Easter Bunny, but it is thought that German immigrants in the 18th century brought the notion of children partaking in a colorful egg-based tradition for a fabled rabbit with them to the U.S. Over time, the mythical Easter Bunny — aka the Easter Hare, Easter Rabbit, and Osterhase — for whom children back then made nests, developed into the Easter customs we know today.

Five rabbits sit on the grass beside flowers and colored eggs.
Source: iStock
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Every month, thousands of people ask Google if rabbits lay eggs, according to Semrush data.

It seems, as Sacramento's KCRA-TV notes, that the misconception of rabbits laying eggs goes hand-in-hand, unfortunately, with the false belief that chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

And while we're on the subject of misconceptions and misnomers, it seems that rabbits of any age can be called "bunnies."

To clarify, per The Dodo, baby rabbits are officially called "kits," and "bunny" is just a nickname. Senior rabbits, too, are colloquially and affectionately referred to as "bunnies" by pet parents and rabbit aficionados alike.

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A female veterinarian smiles at a rabbit under her care, whom she is holding with purple gloves.
Source: iStock

How do rabbits reproduce?

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, pregnancy in a female rabbits (aka a doe) typically lasts between 31 and 33 days. The eggs within a sexually mature female rabbit are released through intercourse (as opposed to the hormonal cycle a human with a uterus experiences).

Per FOX 35 Orlando, rabbits can birth a litter of 12 or more babies.

If you're a rabbit parent and you suspect your bunny may have gotten pregnant, it is important to consult with a veterinarian to ensure the pregnancy is monitored safely.

Per the Merck Veterinary Manual, if the female rabbit has gone 32 days without giving birth, labor may be induced by the veterinarian, lest they run the risk of the unborn rabbits dying before being delivered, or the fetuses being aborted or reabsorbed sooner.

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