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Pregnancy Rabbit Test

Pregnancy Rabbit Test: A Comprehensive Guide


Pregnancy rabbit test, also known as pseudopregnancy test, is a diagnostic procedure used to determine whether a female rabbit is pregnant. It involves the introduction of a male rabbit to the female and observing her behavior. The test is based on the principle that a pregnant female rabbit will exhibit a characteristic response to the presence of a male, known as the "buck jump" or "mating stance."

Physiological Basis of Pregnancy Rabbit Test

During pregnancy, the hormonal profile of a female rabbit undergoes significant changes. The levels of progesterone, a hormone that maintains pregnancy, rise steadily throughout gestation. Progesterone has a calming effect on the female and reduces her receptivity to mating.

When a male rabbit is introduced to a pregnant female, the presence of his pheromones triggers a release of luteinizing hormone (LH) from the female’s pituitary gland. LH stimulates ovulation and the release of eggs from the ovaries. However, since the female is already pregnant, the eggs are not fertilized.

The unfertilized eggs trigger the release of prostaglandins, which cause the uterine lining to contract and expel the eggs. This process is known as pseudopregnancy or false pregnancy.

Procedure for Pregnancy Rabbit Test

The pregnancy rabbit test is a simple and straightforward procedure. Here are the steps involved:

  1. Prepare the female rabbit: The female rabbit should be placed in a clean and quiet environment. She should be given access to food and water.
  2. Introduce the male rabbit: A sexually mature male rabbit is introduced to the female. The male should be healthy and experienced in breeding.
  3. Observe the female’s behavior: The female’s behavior is closely observed for the next 10-15 minutes. A pregnant female will typically exhibit the following responses:
    • Buck jump: The female will raise her hindquarters and arch her back, forming a "U" shape.
    • Mating stance: The female will remain in the buck jump position for several seconds, allowing the male to mount her.
    • Refusal to mate: If the female is not pregnant, she will not allow the male to mount her. She may run away, kick at him, or growl.

Interpretation of Results

The interpretation of the pregnancy rabbit test is based on the female’s behavior. Here is how the results are interpreted:

  • Positive test: If the female exhibits the buck jump and mating stance, it is highly likely that she is pregnant.
  • Negative test: If the female refuses to mate or does not exhibit the characteristic behaviors, it is likely that she is not pregnant.

Accuracy of Pregnancy Rabbit Test

The pregnancy rabbit test is a highly accurate diagnostic tool. It has a sensitivity of over 90%, meaning that it can correctly identify over 90% of pregnant rabbits. However, it is important to note that the test is not 100% accurate. False negatives can occur if the female is in early pregnancy or if the male rabbit is not experienced in breeding.

Limitations of Pregnancy Rabbit Test

The pregnancy rabbit test has some limitations. These include:

  • Stressful for the animals: The test can be stressful for both the male and female rabbits.
  • Not suitable for all rabbits: The test is not suitable for rabbits that are aggressive or have health problems.
  • Can be inconclusive: In some cases, the female may not exhibit a clear response, making the test inconclusive.

Alternative Pregnancy Tests

In cases where the pregnancy rabbit test is not suitable or inconclusive, alternative pregnancy tests can be used. These include:

  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound can be used to visualize the developing fetuses in the uterus.
  • Blood test: A blood test can measure the levels of progesterone in the female’s blood. Elevated progesterone levels indicate pregnancy.
  • Palpation: A veterinarian can manually palpate the female’s abdomen to feel for the presence of fetuses.


The pregnancy rabbit test is a simple, accurate, and cost-effective method for diagnosing pregnancy in female rabbits. It is based on the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy and involves observing the female’s behavior when introduced to a male rabbit. While the test has some limitations, it remains a valuable tool for rabbit breeders and veterinarians.

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