How Do Rabbits Protect Themselves From Predators?

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how do rabbits protect themselves from predators

Last Updated on August 2, 2021 by Rei

Rabbits protect themselves from predators by running away, using their heightened sense of smell, using their sharp eyes, using their heightened sense of hearing, using their sharp claws, using their teeth, using their hind legs, and hiding underground.

Rabbits being prey animals would always avoid a fight by using their instinct to determine how safe their current environment is. If they sensed any danger from their surroundings, they would immediately sprint at their top speed of up to 30 mph.

But sometimes, a faster predator would go after them and they would be backed against the corner fearing for their lives.

If a rabbit is backed in the corner it won’t go down without a fight. Rabbits that are desperate to survive would use their sharp claws, bite with their strong jaw, and use their hind legs to kick off the predators.

By Running away.

A wild rabbit running fast.
“Run Rabbit, Run!” by smileham is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Rabbit’s first instinct to danger is to run away. Their body is literally built to run at top speed for long periods of time.

But certain predators like foxes, coyotes, and cheetahs can catch up to rabbits easily. That’s why rabbits also have the ability to change direction quickly while running at full speed.

Rabbits would usually run into small holes where the predators won’t be able to follow them.

By using their heightened sense of smell.

A rabbits nose.
“Rabbit nose” by Hillybillie is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Ever wonder why your rabbit’s nose is always twitching? It’s because they are constantly sniffing out if there are predators nearby.

Rabbits have 100,000,000 scent cells, making them one of the most powerful noses in nature.

Even sleeping rabbits have their nose working at all times.

By using their sharp eyes.

A rabbits eyes.
rabbits eye” by is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Rabbits, being prey animals have their eyes on the side of their heads. This evolutionary feature allows them to have a wider peripheral range of vision than other animals.

While their predator counterpart has forward-facing eyes that lets them focus on prey just like a binocular would.

Rabbits would then use their advantage of having a larger range of vision by scanning the area while they eat, watching for any sign of movement and danger.

Rabbits even develop third transparent eyelids that would help them scan the area even while sleeping.

By using their heightened sense of hearing.

rabbit using using their heightened sense of hearing.
“Rabbit ears” by ibm4381 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Those big ears aren’t just used to look cute. Rabbit’s hearing is their most important survival tool in the wild. Those large fluffy ears could hear a predator long before they even spot the rabbit itself.

Another feature of those ears is their ability to move independently making it easier to absorb sounds from every direction.

Rabbits range of hearing is 360 hertz to 42,000 hertz compared to a human whose hearing could only go at 22,000hertz at best.

By using their sharp claws.

Now we’re getting into the “I don’t have any choice but to fight” section of rabbit’s defense against predators.

Rabbits have extremely sharp claws that are designed to digging burrows all day.

While wild rabbits would often have blunt nails due to all the digging they do, it’s still a very effective defense to predators if they hit the right target like the eyes or nose.

By using their teeth.

rabbit angry using its teeth.
“The witch’s rabbit” by -Porsupah- is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Rabbits would also attempt to bite off any predators that came close to them. Rabbits have sharp teeth and strong jaws that can fend off smaller predators.

Because their teeth are not meant to bite off meat, biting a thick-skinned predator would likely not yield any results. But combined with other defenses like biting and kicking, although low rabbits have a chance to break free.

By using their hind legs.

rabbit using hindlegs to attack
“Edward Close Up (Rabbit Feet)” by David Masters is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Rabbit’s hind powerful enough against smaller predators. Not to mention those hind legs have sharp claws in them.

It can cause serious damage to predators if they ever get kicked in the right area like their nose or eyes.

By hiding underground.

rabbit hiding underground
“Rabbit digging” by quimby is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Rabbits would also hide underground as an escape from predators. They also build tunnels to have a place to sleep in without getting killed.

Pregnant rabbits would also build a nest underground to safely deliver their babies.


Rabbit’s first instinct to protect themselves from predators is by running away to safety. They do this by first detecting the danger by using their heightened sense of smell, hearing, and their wide range of vision.

But a rabbit, backed against a corner, fighting for its survival would use every tool at its disposal to fight back. Rabbits have powerful hind legs kick, sharp claws, and teeth that could impend attacks from predators.

But rabbits would mostly avoid the fight by digging and living underground where no predators could get to them.

Cite this article:

Bunny Horde (November 26, 2021) How Do Rabbits Protect Themselves From Predators?. Retrieved from
"How Do Rabbits Protect Themselves From Predators?." Bunny Horde - November 26, 2021,

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