How Many Toes Do Rabbits Have
How Many Toes Do Rabbits Have

A concerned rabbit owner brought their rabbit into my clinic. The rabbit, a spunky little brown-and-white bunny named Thumper. Was hopping around on three legs and seemed to be in a lot of pain. I realized that Thumper had broken one of his hind legs and would need surgery to repair it.

As I prepped Thumper for surgery, I asked his parent’s sensitive questions about its feet. And discovered that the owner did not know anything about her rabbit toes! All she knows is that her rabbit walks on its toes rather than like humans. You might be like this parent and scouting to know how many toes your rabbit has. You’re on the right site! 

In this article, you will enter the world of rabbit toes and explore some interesting facts about them. In the end, you will discover everything you need to know about your rabbit’s toes.


Rabbits are adorable and fluffy animals that have unique features, one of which is their toes. 

To start with, rabbits have four toes on their front feet and five toes on their hind feet. This may seem like a small detail, but it is an adaptation that has helped rabbits survive in the wild.


Rabbits toes
Rabbits toes

The toes on a rabbit’s foot are long and slender, with sharp claws that help the rabbit grip and dig. They also live in burrows, as they need to be able to dig and create their homes and escape from predators. The sharp claws also help rabbits over rough landscapes and navigate uneven ground.

One of the most unique features of a rabbit’s foot is the fifth toe on its hind foot, which is the dewclaw. This toe is small and located higher up on the foot than the other toes. It is often used to groom and scratch the rabbit’s face and ears, but it is not as functional as the other toes.

Rabbits also have a special toe on their front feet, known as the “thumb.” This toe is not a true thumb like humans have, but it is opposable, meaning it can hold onto objects. They use their “thumb” to hold food while they eat.

Another interesting fact about rabbit toes is that the bottoms of their feet are covered in fur. This helps to insulate their feet from cold surfaces.  They are known to withstand cold temperatures, and the fur on their feet helps to keep them warm in winter.

Rabbits are also digitigrade animals, which means they walk on their toes rather than their entire foot. This allows them to move quickly and quietly through their environment. Walking on their toes allows wild rabbits to be nimble and agile, which helps them escape from predators and hunt for food.

In addition to their toes, rabbits also have powerful hind legs that are necessary for their survival. Rabbits are known for their ability to jump high and far, and their toes play an important role in this. The long, slender toes on their hind feet provide a powerful spring that allows them to launch themselves into the air and cover great distances.

The shape and size of a rabbit’s toes can vary depending on the species of rabbit. For example, the jackrabbit has very long toes that help it run quickly over rough surfaces. The European rabbit, which is the most common pet rabbit, has shorter toes that are better suited for living in burrows and navigating tight spaces.


 A rabbit’s toes are incredibly crucial to its overall health and well-being. Like all animals, rabbits need to keep their nails trimmed to prevent them from growing too long and causing pain or other problems. If a rabbit’s nails are allowed to grow too long, they can become ingrown or curl under their foot, which can be very painful and even lead to infection.


Yes! Some diseases can damage your rabbit toes if they are properly taken care of. Some of these toe diseases are explained below.

  •  Pododermatitis: this is also known as sore hocks. This condition occurs when a rabbit’s feet are constantly in contact with hard or abrasive surfaces. Which can cause inflammation and sores on the bottoms of their feet. This can be very painful for rabbits, and it can lead to infection if left untreated.

How To Prevent Sore Hacks 

To prevent pododermatitis, it is important to provide rabbits with soft bedding that cushions their feet and reduces pressure on their toes. Rabbits should also have access to a large enough living space that allows them to move and exercise freely without being constantly in contact with hard surfaces.


Everything you need to know

One common wound in rabbits is a toe injury, which can occur due to various reasons like getting stuck in a wire cage, accidental falls, or even fighting with other rabbits. If your pet rabbit has an injured toe, it is important to address the injury promptly to prevent further complications.

Here are some steps to take when treating an injured toe of a rabbit:

  • Assess the Extent of the Injury

The first step is to assess the severity of the injury. Is the toe swollen or bleeding? Is it dislocated or broken? If the injury is severe, it is best to take your rabbit to a veterinarian for immediate medical attention.

  • Provide First Aid

If the injury is minor, you can provide first aid at home. Start by cleaning the wound with warm water and mild soap. You can use a cotton ball or a soft cloth to clean the area gently. Avoid using alcohol or hydrogen peroxide as they can be harmful to the rabbit’s skin.

  • Apply a Disinfectant

After cleaning the wound, apply a disinfectant like Betadine to prevent infection. You can use a cotton ball or a sterile gauze pad to apply the disinfectant. Make sure to cover the entire wound area.

  • Apply Pressure

If the toe is bleeding, apply gentle pressure using a clean cloth or gauze pad. This will help stop the bleeding. You can hold the cloth or pad against the wound for a few minutes until the bleeding stops.

  • Apply a Bandage

After cleaning and disinfecting the wound, you can apply a bandage to protect the toe and prevent further injury. Use a small piece of gauze or cotton and wrap it around the injured toe. Secure the bandage in place using medical tape or a self-adhesive bandage.

  • Watch Your Rabbit

After treating the injury, check your rabbit closely to ensure that the wound is healing properly. Check the bandage regularly to make sure it is still in place and not too tight. Also, watch for signs of infection like redness, swelling, or discharge.

  • Provide a Comfortable Environment

It is essential to provide a comfortable environment for your rabbit while they recover from the injury. Make sure they have a clean and safe space to rest and avoid placing any objects or toys that could further harm the injured toe. Additionally, provide them with plenty of water and food to support their recovery.

 Treating an injured toe of a rabbit requires prompt attention and care. Assess the extent of the injury, provide first aid, disinfect the wound, and apply pressure and a bandage. Monitor your rabbit closely, and provide a comfortable environment. If the injury is severe or does not improve, consult a veterinarian immediately for further medical attention. With proper care, your rabbit can recover from a toe injury and return to their playful and happy self.


Why do rabbits have more toes on their hind paws than their front paws?

Rabbits have more toes on their hind paws because it helps them maintain their balance while hopping and running. The extra toe provides additional support and stability, which is necessary for quick movements and sudden changes in direction.

 Are all rabbit breeds the same in terms of the number of toes?

No, not all rabbit breeds have the same number of toes. While most domestic rabbits have four toes on their front feet and three toes on their hind feet, some breeds have extra digits, known as dewclaws. 

These dewclaws can appear on the front or hind feet and are typically non-functional, meaning they do not contribute to the rabbit’s movement or agility.

For example, the American Fuzzy Lop breed can have up to six toes on each foot, while the Belgian Hare breed has four toes on the front feet and five toes on the hind feet. Other breeds such as the English Lop and the Havana can also have dewclaws.

However, it is important to note that having extra toes or dewclaws is not a desirable trait in the show ring or breeding standards for most rabbit breeds.

Do rabbits use their toes for anything other than balance?

Yes, rabbits use their toes for a variety of activities, including digging, gripping, and grooming. The claws on their toes help them to dig burrows and tunnels in the ground. They also use their toes to grip objects, such as food or toys, and to groom themselves by licking their paws.

Do rabbits have any special adaptations in their toes that help them survive in the wild?

 Yes, rabbits have several adaptations in their toes that help them survive in the wild. For example, their hind feet are larger and more muscular than their front feet, which helps them run and jump quickly to escape predators. They also have long, sharp claws that are ideal for digging and scratching, which allows them to burrow into the ground and hide from predators.

Can you tell the gender of a rabbit by looking at its toes?

No, you cannot tell the gender of a rabbit by looking at its toes. There are several methods to determine the gender of a rabbit, such as observing their reproductive organs, looking at their behavior and size, or consulting a veterinarian. 

Rabbits, like most mammals, have external reproductive organs that differ between males and females. Male rabbits, or bucks, have a visible scrotum located between their hind legs, while female rabbits, or do, have a small genital opening located below the anus. This is the most reliable method to identify a rabbit’s gender, and it can be done at an early age, as young as two weeks old. 

Do rabbits ever lose their toes?

Yes, rabbits can lose their toes due to injury or disease. If a rabbit loses a toe, it can still function normally. But it may have some difficulty maintaining balance and performing certain activities.

Are there any breeds of rabbits that have fewer or more toes than the average?

No, all breeds of rabbits have the same number of toes. However, some genetic mutations can cause rabbits to be born with extra or missing toes. These mutations are rare and can have health implications for the rabbit.

Can rabbits use their toes to communicate?

 Rabbits use a variety of body language: the position and movement of their ears, tail, and feet. When a rabbit is relaxed, it will often stretch out its hind legs and rest its paws on the ground. When it is scared or agitated, it may thump its hind feet on the ground to warn other rabbits of danger.


Rabbits have 18 toes in total with four toes on each of their hind feet and five toes on each of their front feet. The structure, size, and shape of their toes are unique adaptations that have allowed them to thrive in their environment. 

Always provide good flooring to protect the health of your rabbit toes. I know you have known how many toes your rabbit has and discovered more details about your rabbit toes

About the Author

Dr Jan Pol

Founder & Author

Dr. Pol has written several best-selling books. Namely: Never turn back on an Angus cow—my life as a country vet, tales from his illustrious, a memoir that recruits amusing, incredible 45+ year veterinary career and often poignant. He has also launched several animal food products. Especially for dogs, cats, horses, chickens, goats, and rabbits. He started in December 2019 and has launched more over the years. In 2013, Dr. Pol was awarded an honorary doctorate of public service by Central Michigan University.

View All Articles