Why Do Rabbits' Ears Go Down?

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Some rabbits' ears go down.
Some rabbits' ears go down. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Rabbit Bite's Buns and Chou Chou)

Rabbit ears go down for a variety of reasons. They may go down as a way of communicating. They may go down due to a medical condition, a sign of aging or simply genetics.

Purpose of Rabbit Ears

The rabbits’ long ears are its most prominent features. They aid in regulating body temperature and detecting sound. The ears are also a good indicator of how a rabbit is feeling and provide an excellent means of communication.

Rabbits' long ears are very prominent features.
Rabbits' long ears are very prominent features. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jannes Pockele)

Communication

Ears held flat against the head indicate an unhappy rabbit while ears that go down indicate a relaxed rabbit.

This is a relaxed rabbit falling asleep.
This is a relaxed rabbit falling asleep. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jannes Pockele)

Medical Problem

Another reason rabbit ears may droop down may be a medical condition. A drooping ear may be an indication of disease within the ear such as a bacterial infection. Drooping ears may be associated with other signs of illness such as head shaking, waxy ears and loss of balance.

Sign of Aging

Rabbit ears tend to droop down as the animals get older. Rabbit ears may collapse due to weakness in the cartilage and bones structure, causing arthritis with age.

Genetics

Finally, due to genetics, certain breeds have ears that naturally go down. Lop eared breeds such as the Holland Lop or Lionhead tend to have characteristically long droopy ears.

Holland Lop bunny
Holland Lop bunny (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Mark Fosh)

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