Floppy Ears in Angora Rabbits
Always consult a Veterinarian for medical questions about your bunny!
As you can see from the photos, floppy ears are exactly what it sounds like. A bunny who has an ear drop that will not stay up. They have no ear control and one or both ears will not stand like they are supposed to.
What causes a floppy ear on a bunny? For the angora rabbit breed, they are supposed to stand erect with just the end of the ear tipping over from the weight of the ear furnishings. Other breeds like Lops will have ears that lay flat against the sides of the face. This is a genetically bred rabbit with ears that are supposed to be like this. For rabbits that are not supposed to have floppy or lopped rabbit ears, there are reasons that this can happen.
Summer ear is what they call floppy ears that happen in the warmer months of the year. Heat can seem to cause rabbits to not want to hold their ears correct. Sometimes the rabbits can be moved into air conditioning and it will correct itself. Not all rabbits will drop an ear because of heat though. Also, when heat is the culprit, moving them into a cooler climate will not always fix it either.
There is such a thing as bad genetics in any animal or human being. Sometimes a rabbit will have weak ear cartilage. This will cause the ear(s) to drop at a certain age. Most people remove rabbits from their breeding program that they see floppy ears come from. However, there is a way to correct this in a breeding program. You need to look at the length of the ears. If the ears are too long and not proportionate for the type (body), you will want to implement a breeding pair with a shorter ear bunny in the program.
How do you correct a floppy ear on a rabbit? If an ear drops and you catch it at the right age. You can tape the ears together and hope the bunny leaves it alone. You will see the bunny fight and try to remove the tape and it will pull the fibers. However, it can really work. Some people just get the rabbit moved into a cooler climate and it will come back up on its own. It’s a 50/50 chance that the ear will correct itself with or without intervention. The two best things to do is to tape ears and move the bunny to a cooler climate building/room.
If the ear does not correct itself by 14 – 16 weeks of age, it will most likely never correct itself. The ear must have some sort of control even when it is starting to flop. If you lift the ear or tap it and it acts like it is broken and has zero control or strength in it from the base, it will not lift and correct itself ever.
If you find that temperatures do not play a role in the cause for a floppy ear, it is best to use that bunny for fiber, therapy and pet only. It should be removed from any breeding program and it is a very good idea to work on figuring out where this genetic problem is coming from. Look at all the rabbits in mom and dad’s lines and who has had this happen before. Remove the problem and correct it with better rabbits. It can pop up in the best lines just by adding something that you think is nice but carries genetics that you did not see before. There is no reason to be ashamed of this problem. The problem is when you continue to breed it into a program knowingly.
It is possible that a bunny can have a lopped ear from an injury. There is no way of telling but erect ears are the way rabbits were meant to look. Lop-ears in rabbits did not naturally exist until they were created by artificial selection from floppy ears and breeding them over time.
As you can see from the bunny below, it is completely cosmetic. The floppy ear does not have any effect on its health. These floppy ear bunnies are just as happy and healthy as any other rabbit with erect ears or naturally bred floppy/lopped ear bunnies. Keep in mind, both ears can drop as well.