Do Rabbits Have Paw Pads or Not?

Overview 

A paw is the soft part of mammal’s foot which has claws and a pad. It has metacarpals for the forelimb and a metatarsal in the case of the rear limb.

Although most animals have four digits on their paws, there are those that have five or six. Various animals have them including bears, raccoons, rodents, rabbits, cats, tigers, dogs, foxes, weasels among others. Whereas most of them are padded, some are not.

On the other hand, the paw pads (sole) refer to the “thin, pigmented, keratinized, hairless epidermis covering subcutaneous collagenous and adipose tissue”[1] It plays a vital role of cushioning limbs which bear the load of the animal’s weight or any other thing it may be carrying.

Rabbit paws
Rabbit paws

Do rabbits have padded paws?

What about bunnies? Do they have them and are they padded. Of course, rabbits have paws. However, they do not have paw pads. Instead, they have sharp nails beneath them.

They are the only mammals that do not complete have them. The below images should help you visualize how they look like

Rabbit paws images

To cushioning themselves against their weight, their feet are completely covered with fur. This is the same reasons why it is recommended to have either a section or the entire part of your rabbit’s hutch covered by a soft solid base.

Putting a layer of straws is a good idea if you have a cage with a wire bottom to avoid sore hocks, especially if you have Mini Rex or Rex rabbits as they are more vulnerable.

Furthermore, the bottom of your hutch should not be very slippery since these pets use their claws to try and grip the surface as they hop from one place to another. They may slip if it is slippery.

The only challenge of a solid base is finding ways to keep it dry. This can be achieved if you litter train your rabbits, place absorbent mats or have absorbent bedding. 

Finally, it is worthwhile mentioning the need to ensure your cage floor, littering trays, or anything beneath these pets is always dry. This will prevent constant wetting of the paw fur pad as this can cause moist dermatitis. In case of urine on the floor, it is possible for urine scald on these parts.

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