A rabbit’s erect spoons serve the purpose of a large sound funnel and help the animals perceive even the smallest sounds.
Do rabbits with floppy ears hear worse?
Yes, rabbits with floppy ears hear clearly worse. But not only that. They also have an increased risk of deafness, ear infections and problems around the teeth. Restrictions and pain should therefore be expected.
Altered skull shape as a trigger
In order for rabbits to have floppy ears, animals with an altered skull shape have been specifically selected for breeding. However, because of this shape, several potential problems arise at once.
narrowed ear canals
reduced hearing ability
Restricted mobility of the ears
Rabbits with floppy ears have limited mobility in the area of the ears.
On the one hand, this means that they cannot erect and rotate their ears. It is therefore much more difficult for them to identify the origin of a sound and thus to orient themselves.
The shape of the ears also ensures that tissue and fur lie above the auditory canal. Hearing is therefore limited.
The reduced mobility of floppy ears has another disadvantage: Since the body language of rabbits also extends to the position of the ears, animals with floppy ears can be misunderstood by conspecifics.
If they are afraid or submissive, for example, they cannot pull their ears back and put them on. This in turn can lead to conflicts within a group or pair.
Narrowed ear canals
Drooping ears in your rabbit not only reduce penetrating sound waves and muscle control. There are other negative consequences due to the altered skull shape and floppy ears. This is because often the ear canals or the auditory canals are narrowed.
This can result in poorer hearing.
It is also possible that earwax cannot drain off sufficiently and be transported to the outside. This causes the canals to narrow further and sounds are perceived more poorly.
In addition, regular cleaning becomes necessary and the risk of infections increases.
Since these infections are very painful, you should check your rabbit’s ears frequently and consult a veterinarian early on if necessary. He or she can also show you how to perform a cleaning, flush the ears, or prescribe an appropriate solution to soften and remove debris.
Few studies have been found specifically on the hearing of rabbits with floppy ears.
However, existing studies show that the animals often appear to have poorer hearing or even deafness.
In a study conducted by the Royal Veterinary College in Hatfield, 15 representatives of lop-eared breeds were compared with 15 animals with upright ears. The result: in addition to the increased risk of injury, the long floppy ears often led to painful and chronic diseases of the hearing organs….
However, it is unclear whether these problems are congenital, result from unnoticed infections, or are the consequence of a blockage in the ear canal.
In addition, the number of animals is comparatively small, so that no meaningful results are available.
However, a clear tendency is definitely recognizable!
The altered shape of the skull in floppy-eared rabbits affects not only the ears and the size of the auditory canals.
The jaw is also affected.
This can lead to difficulty in eating because the teeth are often not worn down sufficiently or evenly, so they may have sharp edges and points or be too long. Food intake becomes difficult, shortening of the teeth by the veterinarian, injuries to the gums or jaw and subsequent inflammation are possible.
Even the jaw bones can be affected. In addition, infections can extend to the eye area, cause swelling in the face, and produce significant pain.
Therefore, when choosing a breed with floppy ears, you must also check or have the teeth checked frequently to detect such problems early and begin treatment.
Floppy ears and extreme breeds – What to consider?
Floppy ears do not occur in rabbits living in the wild.
They are special breedings, which have a considerable disadvantage compared to animals with standing ears. The rodents already lack the forewarning of impending danger. In addition, they require much more care and are more susceptible to infections and pain.
If you should nevertheless decide for a rabbit with hanging ears or have already decided, you must carry out more frequent controls and accustom your animal as early as possible to it.
This will reduce stress and make it easier to detect problems early.
Also, keep in mind that extreme breeds, such as rams with very long ears, among others, may even step on them and injure themselves more easily. The ear canals also become less well ventilated.
This factor can also contribute to more frequent infections. Therefore, it is best to perform a daily check.
If there is redness, swelling, soiling, discharge, or an unpleasant odor coming from the ear, you should see a veterinarian immediately. Also, if your pet scratches his ear noticeably or shakes his head frequently, this may indicate a problem within the ears.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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