Maybe you’ve spotted a wild rabbit before in a field. One minute they’re standing perfectly motionless and the next, they suddenly vanish. Have you ever thought about how fast can a rabbit run?

Rabbits can run at speeds ranging from 25 to 35 miles per hour.

In this article, we look at how quickly wild and domestic rabbits can run. We’ll also investigate how they’re able to run so fast. In addition, we explore the top five quickest rabbit breeds and go over how to keep your pet rabbit active.

How Fast Can a Rabbit Run

 

How Fast Can Rabbits Run?

To survive in the wild, rabbits need to be fast. A fraction of a second can mean the difference between death and burrow safety. Rabbits can evade and avoid deadly attacks in the wild by outwitting and most importantly, outrunning predators. 

The average speed of wild rabbits is between 35 and 45 miles per hour. Some breeds of a wild hare can run even faster—the jackrabbit can reach speeds of 45 miles per hour. In addition to being remarkably fast, rabbits can accelerate quickly and make sharp turns without losing momentum.

Domestic rabbits are not nearly as fast as wild rabbits. Domestic rabbits lack muscle tone and are indifferent regarding predators due to their environment. Despite this, domestic rabbits can reach considerable speeds between 25 miles per hour and 35 miles per hour.

Do Rabbits Run or Hop?

Rabbits do not run; they hop. This hopping motion is performed by simultaneously lifting both feet off the ground and propelling the rabbit forward. The front paws of a rabbit will land one after the other, creating velocity. 

A rabbit’s hop is similar to how cheetahs and other fast animals move. Rabbits are capable of walking; however, they prefer to hop. 

How Do Rabbits Run So Fast?

Rabbits are built to move quickly with their long, powerful hind legs. 

They have the ability to leap long distances with just a single push of their back legs. Rabbits often land on their front legs, which helps maintain balance, while their back legs spring forward into position to push off and do another jump ahead.

To keep their toes from spreading apart as they jump, rabbits have four long and webbed toes on their hindfoot. Each of their front paws has five toes. 

The strength in a rabbit’s legs allows them to leap into the air and propel themselves forward over the ground. In a single bound, rabbits can leap about 3 feet into the air and nearly 10 feet forward. Rabbits are prey and need to flee from predators quickly, and their distinctive rear legs help them accomplish this.

A rabbit’s back legs aren’t just for hopping; they can also be used as a weapon for self-defense. If a predator threatens a rabbit, it will often get a swift and painful kick from the rabbit’s hind legs as a warning to back away. Rabbits also thump their hind legs to warn other rabbits that danger is approaching or is close by.

3 rabbits running in snow

 

Rabbit Movement

There are two different types of movement in animals. When animals move with the soles of their feet touching the ground, this is known as a plantigrade movement. Digitigrade movement, on the other hand, occurs when an animal moves only with its toes. Digitigrade movement is said to be faster and more stealthy than plantigrade movement.

Rabbits, unsurprisingly, are digitigrades, which allows them to move quickly and efficiently. Rabbits can focus all of their efforts on being fast rather than being strong or heavy. Other animals, such as dogs, cats, and lions, use digitigrade movement as well.

Rabbit Muscle Fiber

Rabbits’ skeletal muscles have both slow and fast-twitch muscle fibers. Fast-twitch fibers aid in a rabbit’s quick reactions, such as avoiding a predator. Slow-twitch muscles are used for longer-term activities. Depending on the frequency, length, intensity, and kind of activity, a rabbit’s muscle fibers can flip from slow to rapid twitch quickly.

Rabbit muscle fibers are even more powerful than those of the cheetah, the world’s fastest land animal. Researchers isolated fast-twitch muscle fibers from a cheetah and matched their findings to those of rabbit muscle fibers. 

The muscle fibers of the cheetah could generate 92.5 watts per kilo (W/kg). Muscle fibers from rabbits could generate 119.7 W/kg, which is nearly 29% more powerful. A pretty impressive feat for your pet rabbit.

Effective Acceleration

Rabbits have a rapid acceleration time in addition to being fast. This implies they’re not only built to be quick, but they’re also capable of reaching high speeds in a short amount of time. 

Although the size of a rabbit may not help its speed, it does help its agility. A rabbit’s small size makes it far more difficult to catch or capture. The rabbit’s body size allows it to hide in the wild, ducking into burrows or bushes where predators cannot reach it.

A rabbit’s weight and size matter when it comes to speed and agility. When a rabbit is lighter in weight, it uses less energy, and its muscles don’t have to work as hard to move it. As a result, acceleration takes less time.

brown and white rabbit sat on grass

 

Speeds Between Breeds

Some rabbits move more quickly than others. The speed of a rabbit is mostly determined by its breed. These are the top rabbit breeds in terms of speed.

Cottontail rabbits are a popular breed of rabbit, and there are approximately 20 distinct species that go by that name. Cottontails are built to elude predators, as seen by their size and speed. Cottontails can reach speeds of up to 18 miles per hour. This is because they sprint in a zig-zag pattern to evade predators. 

The jackrabbit or hares are widely regarded as the fastest rabbit species. Hares are closely related to rabbits, even though they are officially not rabbits. Hares are substantially larger than rabbits, having exceptionally strong hind legs. While their big stature slows them down, their massive legs compensate for it.

The top speed of a jackrabbit has been recorded at 45 mph. Jackrabbits can also leap up to 10 feet in a single leap, which is only 4 feet shorter than the typical building floor height.

Domestic rabbits of various sizes, coat colors, weight classes, and forms have been bred over the years. Originally kept as a pure farm animal, it has since found its way into homes, apartments, and gardens, where it can safely live as a family member.

The domestic rabbit has a top speed of 35 miles per hour. However, due to its domesticated nature, it frequently falls short of achieving these speeds. Instead, most domesticated rabbits like to lounge around in their cages, only becoming active when it’s time to play.

 

How Long Can a Rabbit Run fast?

A rabbit’s ability to run at full speed is moderately limited. It has an excellent acceleration time and quick motions that are designed for sprinting. This, however, comes at the expense of endurance.

Keep in mind that a rabbit has a lot of fast-twitch muscle fibers. It also means that there is relatively little room for slow-twitch fibers. The fast-twitch fibers in rabbits are also glycolytic, which means they burn energy quickly. A rabbit can only sprint fast for a short amount of time because it has few slow-twitch fibers, which are important for endurance and stamina.

Wild rabbits usually compensate for this shortcoming by hiding. In addition to outrunning a predator, they take advantage of their small size, the ability to camouflage and to hold still to hide in the foliage.

 

Exercise for Domestic Rabbits

In the wild, rabbits run around 3 miles each day. Pet rabbits, on the other hand, would benefit from the same amount of activity. Rabbits require at least 3 hours of free-range time per day to move around, stretch their legs, and socialize with one another and you.

Exercise time and play can be a great way for you to bond with your rabbit. Selecting a play area is beneficial to help curb boredom and mischievous behavior. Selecting an indoor or outdoor space is important. 

If you decide on an indoor space for your pet rabbit to play and exercise, make sure the room is bunny-proofed. Keep electrical cables out of reach and make sure there are no little objects that your rabbit could eat or swallow.

Ramps to run on, buckets of hay to jump in, and boxes to climb on are all excellent exercise options for rabbits. Rabbit tunnels can be made out of cardboard tubes that are large enough for your rabbit to run through. Toys can be added to this setting, including chew toys and toss/nudge toys. 

It’s also a good idea to have something extra to gnaw on and dig with. Make sure your pet rabbit has access to a litter box and clean water in their play area at all times, just in case.

Choosing an outdoor area like your backyard is also quite enjoyable for pet rabbits. However, it necessitates extra planning and caution on your part. Please keep in mind that time spent outside must always be supervised.

Your rabbit could be in danger from neighborhood dogs, toxic plants, pesticides, or moving cars. If you’re planning to enjoy some outdoor fun, make sure you plan ahead. Straw tossed on the ground can be used to create a large covered playpen. A covered porch or balcony can also be used as an outdoor space. 

You should provide your rabbits the largest possible run; as a rule of thumb, the minimum size is 8 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet.

 

FAQs

How Fast Can My Pet Rabbit Run?

Domestic rabbits may reach speeds of 25 to 35 mph. Even if they are restricted to your house, they can benefit from frequent exercise and playtime.

Can a Rabbit Run Faster Than a Human?

Domestic rabbits can run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, which is quicker than humans. Usain Bolt holds the world record for the 100-meter sprint with a time of 27.78 seconds. It’s safe to believe that if given the chance, your pet rabbit would outrun a professional athlete.

 

Final Word

Rabbits can run very quickly and can easily avoid predators with their zig-zag running and speed. They are one of the fastest animals for their size due to the tremendous muscles in their legs and small bodies. Your pet rabbit may be capable of hopping at rates of up to 35 miles per hour in just a few yards. 

Unlike wild rabbits that have the freedom to roam, your beloved pet rabbit needs a lot of stimulation and playtime. They should be able to zoom around to their hearts’ delight if you set up a play space for them, either indoors or outside. Your pet rabbit will be happy and healthy as a result of this.

 

 

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Sarah Logan

Sarah Logan is the Editor here at The Bunny Hub. Sarah is a long-time bunny lover having kept pet rabbits since early childhood. With over 35 years of experience caring for fluffy-tailed, lop-eared friends, Sarah wanted to create a space dedicated to providing expert advice on not only general care, but proper nutrition, and, the best products and accessories every serious owner needs. Here you will find everything you need to make informed decisions in all aspects of becoming a proud rabbit owner. We do all the hard work for you. We research and test out the latest products, then we tell you about our discoveries. From choosing the right breed of bunny for your family, to making purchases you won’t regret for the important things like a hutch for your fur baby to live in. We’re here to make sure you have all the information you need to give your bunny and happy and healthy life.

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