If you’re a bunny owner or are considering getting a rabbit, you may be wondering: do bunnies smell bad? The short answer is: not usually. When properly cared for, domestic rabbits tend to have little to no odor.

However, there are some exceptions, so let’s take a deeper look at rabbit smells and how to keep your bunny smelling fresh.

In this approximately 3000 word article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about bunny odors. We’ll discuss the factors that influence rabbit scent, look at which breeds tend to be more smelly, provide tips for reducing odor, and explain when you should be concerned about strange smells coming from your rabbit.

Do Wild Rabbits Smell?

Wild rabbits, like any other animal, have a distinct scent, but whether or not they smell bad is subjective. Some people may find the natural odor of wild rabbits unpleasant, while others may not notice it at all.

It’s important to understand that rabbits have a unique musky smell, which is a combination of their diet, hormones, and natural body odor.

Wild Rabbit Odor

The odor emitted by wild rabbits is primarily caused by a substance called “urine marking.” Rabbits have a strong instinct to mark their territory by urinating on objects around them. This behavior helps them establish their presence and communicate with other rabbits.

While the smell of urine marking is more noticeable in confined spaces, such as indoor cages or hutches, wild rabbits also have a distinct scent in their natural habitat. This odor can be intensified during breeding season when rabbits release pheromones to attract mates.

It’s worth noting that the intensity of the rabbit odor can vary depending on factors such as diet, cleanliness, and overall health. A healthy rabbit that is well-groomed and provided with a balanced diet may have a milder scent compared to a rabbit with poor hygiene or health issues.

Regular cleaning of their living space and litter box can also help minimize any unpleasant smells.

Wild Rabbit Scent Glands

Wild rabbits, like domestic ones, have scent glands that can contribute to their overall odor. These scent glands are located under the chin, on the cheeks, and around the anus. They secrete a substance that helps rabbits mark their territory and communicate with other rabbits.

The scent produced by these glands is usually not overpowering, but it can add to the overall musky smell of a wild rabbit.

It’s important to remember that wild rabbits have evolved this unique scent for survival purposes. The odor helps them navigate their environment, establish social hierarchies, and communicate with other rabbits.

While it may not be the most pleasant smell for humans, it serves a vital purpose in the rabbit’s natural behavior.

If you are considering keeping a wild rabbit as a pet, it’s important to be prepared for their natural odor. Regular grooming, proper diet, and maintaining a clean living environment can help manage any potential smell.

Additionally, seeking advice from a veterinarian or a rabbit expert can provide further guidance on how to best care for a wild rabbit in captivity.

Do Domestic Rabbits Smell?

Domestic rabbits are generally clean animals and do not have a strong odor. However, there are certain factors that can contribute to a rabbit emitting an unpleasant smell. It is important to understand the causes of rabbit odor and how to prevent it.

Domestic Rabbit Odor

While rabbits themselves do not have a natural odor, their urine and feces can produce a strong smell if not properly managed. Rabbit urine contains ammonia, which can become concentrated and create an unpleasant scent.

Additionally, if a rabbit’s litter box or living area is not cleaned regularly, bacteria can grow and contribute to the odor.

It is worth noting that intact male rabbits, or bucks, may have a stronger smell due to their hormonal changes. Neutering bucks can help reduce this odor.

Reasons for Smelly Domestic Rabbits

There are several reasons why a domestic rabbit may develop a strong odor:

  • Poor hygiene: If a rabbit’s living area is not regularly cleaned, urine and feces can accumulate, leading to an unpleasant smell. It is important to clean their litter box daily and provide fresh bedding.
  • Diet: The type of food a rabbit consumes can affect its odor. A diet high in carbohydrates and low in fiber can lead to softer and smellier feces. It is recommended to provide rabbits with a balanced diet consisting of fresh hay, vegetables, and a limited amount of pellets.
  • Health issues: Certain health conditions, such as gastrointestinal problems or urinary tract infections, can cause a rabbit to have a stronger odor. If you notice a persistent and unusual smell, it is important to consult a veterinarian.

To prevent domestic rabbits from developing a strong odor, regular cleaning and proper hygiene practices are essential. Providing them with a healthy diet and ensuring their living area is well-ventilated can also help minimize any potential smells.

For more information on rabbit care and odor control, you can visit reputable websites such as rabbit.org or pets4homes.co.uk.

Bunny Breeds Prone to Smelliness

While rabbits in general are known for being clean animals, some bunny breeds are more prone to developing a strong odor. This can be due to several factors, including their fur type, size, and grooming habits.

If you’re considering getting a rabbit as a pet, it’s important to be aware of these smellier breeds so you can make an informed decision.

Rex Rabbits

Rex rabbits, with their soft and dense fur, are one of the bunny breeds that can be prone to a stronger odor. The unique texture of their fur makes it easier for them to trap and retain odors. Regular grooming is crucial for Rex rabbits to prevent matting and to keep their fur clean.

Additionally, providing a clean living environment with proper bedding and regular cage cleaning can help minimize any potential smelliness.


Lop-eared rabbits, such as Holland Lops and Mini Lops, are beloved for their adorable floppy ears. However, these breeds can sometimes have a slightly stronger odor compared to other bunnies. The shape of their ears can make it harder for air to circulate, leading to a buildup of earwax and potential odor.

Regular ear cleaning and grooming can help prevent any unpleasant smells from developing.


Angora rabbits are known for their long and luxurious wool, which requires regular grooming and maintenance. If not properly cared for, their fur can become matted and trap odors. Additionally, since their fur is prone to shedding, it’s important to keep their living area clean to prevent a buildup of fur and potential smells.

Regular brushing, along with proper diet and hygiene, can help keep Angora rabbits smelling fresh.

Remember, while these breeds may have a slightly stronger odor compared to others, with proper care and maintenance, you can ensure that your bunny remains clean and odor-free. It’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian for specific grooming tips and advice tailored to your bunny’s breed.

Tips to Keep Your Bunny Smelling Fresh

While bunnies are generally clean animals, they can develop a slight odor if proper care is not taken. Here are some tips to help keep your bunny smelling fresh:

Regular Grooming

Regular grooming is essential to maintaining your bunny’s cleanliness. Brushing your bunny’s fur not only removes loose hair and prevents matting, but it also helps distribute natural oils that keep their coat soft and odor-free.

Use a soft brush or comb specifically designed for rabbits, and make sure to be gentle and avoid pulling on their fur. Regular grooming sessions also provide an opportunity to bond with your bunny and monitor their overall health.

Litter Box Cleaning

Keeping your bunny’s litter box clean is crucial in preventing any unpleasant odors. Rabbits are naturally clean animals and can be litter trained. Make sure to scoop out any soiled litter daily and replace it with fresh litter.

Using a litter that is specifically made for rabbits is recommended as it helps control odor better. Additionally, placing a layer of hay on top of the litter can help absorb any odors and provide a comfortable and natural environment for your bunny.


While rabbits generally do not require frequent baths, there may be certain situations where a bath is necessary, such as if your bunny gets into something sticky or dirty. When bathing your bunny, it’s important to use a rabbit-safe shampoo specifically formulated for their delicate skin.

Ensure the water is lukewarm and avoid getting water in their ears or eyes. After the bath, thoroughly dry your bunny to prevent them from catching a chill. Remember, excessive bathing can strip their fur of essential oils and cause dryness, so it’s best to consult with a veterinarian before deciding to bathe your bunny.

Odor Control Sprays

If you find that your bunny’s odor persists even with regular grooming and litter box cleaning, you may consider using odor control sprays. These sprays are specifically designed to neutralize odors and can be safely used on your bunny’s fur.

However, it’s important to choose sprays that are specifically formulated for rabbits and avoid using products that contain harsh chemicals or fragrances that could be harmful to them. Always follow the instructions on the product and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns.

By following these tips and regularly maintaining your bunny’s hygiene, you can help keep your furry friend smelling fresh and clean.

When to Worry About Bunny Odors

Rabbits are generally clean animals that groom themselves regularly, but there are instances when bunny odors can become a cause for concern. It is important to be aware of the different types of odors that can indicate potential health issues in your pet rabbit.

By being vigilant and understanding what to look for, you can ensure the well-being of your furry friend. Here are some key bunny odors to pay attention to:

Ammonia Smell

One common odor associated with rabbits is the smell of ammonia. This smell is usually caused by the accumulation of rabbit urine, which contains high levels of ammonia. If you notice a strong ammonia smell in your bunny’s cage or litter box, it may indicate that the area needs to be cleaned more frequently.

Ammonia can be irritating to your rabbit’s respiratory system, so it’s important to address this issue promptly to prevent any potential health problems.

Musky Scent

Another type of odor that rabbits can emit is a musky scent. This smell is usually more noticeable in unneutered males, as it is a result of their natural hormonal secretions. Neutering your male rabbit can help reduce this musky odor.

However, if you notice a strong, unpleasant musky smell in both male and female rabbits, it could be a sign of a health issue such as a urinary tract infection or a buildup of bacteria in the fur. In such cases, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Other Unusual Odors

Apart from ammonia and musky smells, there are other unusual odors that can indicate potential health problems in rabbits. For example, a strong, foul odor from your rabbit’s ears could be a sign of an ear infection.

Similarly, a pungent smell from your rabbit’s breath could indicate dental issues or an infection in the mouth. It is important to remember that any significant change in odor should not be ignored, as it could be a symptom of an underlying health condition.

Seeking veterinary advice is always recommended in such cases.

Remember, while some bunny odors are normal and can be managed through proper hygiene and care, others may require medical attention. By paying attention to the specific odors your rabbit emits, you can ensure their overall health and well-being.

Regular veterinary check-ups and maintaining a clean living environment for your bunny are crucial to prevent any potential health issues.


To summarize, the majority of domestic rabbits don’t have a strong odor when properly cared for. But certain breeds, poor hygiene, and medical issues can cause them to smell. By grooming your bunny, cleaning the litter box, and using odor control sprays, you can keep bad smells at bay.

And be alert for any unusual odors from your rabbit, as this could indicate a health problem needing veterinary attention. With proper rabbit care, your bunny can continue being a sweet-smelling companion.

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