Ah, the flea. The bane of every pet owner. These crafty little creatures will worm their way through the fur of many animals to get to the skin underneath, only to clamp down and suck the blood from them.
As you can imagine, this is incredibly irritating and itchy, with many an unknowing pet bringing them into the house. This is particularly problematic, as once they are in the home, they spread like wildfire and will start biting people as well as other animals.
With that said, though, there are some animals out there that don’t have a problem with fleas. Chinchillas, for example, Their fur is too thick for fleas, and it suffocates them before they can get to the skin.
Table of contents
With this in mind, what about rabbits? Can they get fleas, or are they immune as well? In this article, we are going to find this out.
Can Rabbits Get Fleas?
Unfortunately, rabbits are not immune to fleas. Fleas can leap a great distance from where they are – up to 50 times their body length – whether that be a close by host animal or a piece of grass that they have found themselves on.
Since wild rabbits spend most of their time in social groups or in open meadows, they are highly susceptible to fleas, and they do not have any defense against them like Chinchillas do.
While bunnies do groom themselves, this might not be enough to rid them of the parasites, and so they can spread. Even if your rabbit can get fleas easily.
All it takes is one trip into the grass or being in close proximity to a flea that might have made its way into the house, and they can become infested.
However, due to a rabbit’s fairly active lifestyle, propensity for living underground (where fleas don’t live), and their consistent grooming of themselves, they don’t actually tend to get fleas as much as other animals do.
Rabbits intentionally – with their grooming – and unintentionally – with everything else – make their body a less habitable place for fleas to live, which is a bonus for the rabbit and you, the pet owner.
How Do I Know That My Rabbit Has Fleas?
When fleas are about, there are some tell-tell signs of their presence. If you look through your bunny’s fur, running your hand back and forth, you will probably be able to spot one or two. They are very small, but not invisible to the human eye.
If you spot a black dot that begins to move through the fur or jumps away, your rabbit has fleas and if you can only see one, there’s a guarantee that there are a few more that you haven’t seen yet.
This can be a bit more tricky in a rabbit with black fur, but their skin will still be lighter, and so you should try and see if there are any dots next to the skin.
If your bunny itches often and it appears restless, it might have fleas. Their bites are painful and very itchy, so a rabbit will try to itch the affected area with very little relief, which leads to more itching. Once you notice this behavior, check them over.
If you find raised red bumps on your rabbit’s skin, then those are probably flea bites. You should be able to feel them when you pet your rabbit.
This will coincide with a later development where they start to lose fur in certain areas with dandruff, as the body can’t circulate blood as well thanks to the fleas. Eventually, this can also lead to anemia.
Finally, flea dirt. This is the name for the excrement and leavings that fleas leave behind once they have finished feeding. Since rabbits are very clean creatures who regularly groom themselves, this is a very big sign, as this dirt is made up of flea poop and dried blood.
To see whether this is flea dirt or regular dirt, get a paper towel, wet it and run it over the area of the dirt. If it turns red or reddish, then that’s flea dirt and a clear sign of fleas.
Treating A Rabbit For Fleas
If your rabbit has fleas, you should treat it immediately. Fleas carry lots of diseases, and one of them is a disease called Myxomatosis.
This disease is absolutely terrible and is transmitted by fleas and mosquitos, when caught by rabbits it is fatal almost 100% of the time. Luckily, there is a vaccine for the disease which you should get, but it is better safe than sorry.
If you notice fleas, then you should start by using a flea comb on your rabbit. Fleas are very slim bodied and jump a lot, this makes them hard to grab or kill. With the comb, they get caught in the teeth and can be removed easily.
Once removed, you need to dip the comb in warm, soapy water or alcohol to kill them outright. Although a comb will probably not get all the fleas in one go, consistent combing will reduce their number significantly and eventually make the rabbit’s fur too hostile for them to live in.
Then, you should get a rabbit flea treatment for your rabbit’s fur. It is normally applied on the neck, so the rabbit can’t lick it off, and is soaked into the skin. This treatment makes the blood that fleas ingest toxic to them and will kill them or drive them off your rabbit.
Finally, clean the hutch and any surrounding areas. Fleas get on your rabbit from other sources and can live in carpets, sawdust, or anywhere they can hide. If you clean the hutch and your house or the surroundings, you will greatly reduce the chance of fleas returning.
Video: How To Get Rid Of Rabbit Fleas
This short video covers rabbit safe ways to rid your beloved rabbit of fleas.
Rabbits can get fleas, but they don’t get them as bad as other animals a lot of the time. Even when they do, there are lots of ways to easily, quickly, and effectively get rid of fleas to help your bunny live a happy life.