You probably haven't ever seen a rabbit carrying a baby bunny in her mouth. While the image of a cat carrying a kitten by the scruff of the baby's neck is a familiar one, rabbits are entirely different in their care and treatment of their offspring. Although carrying a baby in the mouth seems the logical way a mother rabbit would relocate her babies, moving the kits isn't typically an issue.
Rabbits don't carry their babies by picking them up in their mouths to move them from place to place or to keep them from crawling outside the nest. Unfortunately if a baby wiggles himself away from his siblings and the nest, he may be a lost cause. The most a mother bunny might do to move a baby is to nudge him back to his brothers and sisters or prod him into place when it's mealtime.
A Difficult Task
You'll rarely, if ever, see a rabbit carrying her young in her mouth mostly because rabbits' mouths aren't very large. Although not impossible, it would be difficult for a mama rabbit to grasp onto a baby bunny and pack him around. Also, she'd never do it by the scruff of his neck. That particular technique would be painful because, unlike a puppy or a kitten, a baby rabbit's skin is connected to the muscles beneath it. If a bunny of any age were to be picked up by the scruff of her neck, it would tear the skin on her neck loose from the muscles, causing discomfort and pain.
An Occasional Exception
There's always an exception to the rule, and in the rabbit world wild European rabbits have the honor of infrequently breaking the "no-carry" rule. The House Rabbit Society reports that on rare occasions, wild European rabbits move their young. Although it's not revealed exactly how they accomplish this, very young bunnies would have to be carried in the mouth.
How Rabbits Protect Their Young
If rabbits don't keep their babies safe by occasionally moving their nest to different locations, you might wonder how they protect their young. Mother rabbits keep the nest site secret by staying away from it most of the time. They only visit the babies once a day, early in the morning. Mama Rabbit uses this daily visit to feed and clean the babies, then leaves them to sleep until the following morning.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.