The domestic rabbit is capable of hearing both high and low frequencies and possesses a broad range of best frequencies. Their range of hearing at 60 dB SPL extends from 96 Hz to about 49 kHz.
In low-frequency hearing ability, rabbits are significantly more sensitive than most other mammals. They are far superior in this regard to such animals as bats, but in addition they are also superior to a wide variety of rodents. Rabbits have a broad range of best frequencies extending from 1 to 16 kHz. Over this range, the average threshold varies by only ±3 dB making the selection of one particular best frequency all but impossible. While rabbits are not the only animal to display such a broad range of best hearing, the lack of a well-defined best frequency is sufficiently unusual to merit notice.
At the upper frequencies, rabbits exhibit the relatively steep decrease in high-frequency sensitivity (as compared to the more shallow low-frequency decrease) commonly found in mammals. With regard to their high-frequency limit, rabbits are about average among mammals with an upper limit less than ¼ octave below the average.
Can I determine the body temperature of my rabbit by their ears?
Rabbits are unable to sweat or pant effectively to dissipate body heat, and their main thermoregulatory mechanism is heat exchange by the ears, which have a large set of blood vessels
Due to rabbits using their ears as their main thermoregulatory device, ears are not a good or accurate method to determine a rabbit's internal body temperature. The blood vessels in the ears can contract or expand minute by minute. Their ears may be cool when they are trying to conserve heat, and their ears be warm when they are trying to dissipate heat. Normal rabbit body temperature is about 101-103°F, which can feel warm to a human's touch even if a rabbit is relaxed and just passing normal blood flow through their ears.
Using a rectal thermometer is the proper method of reading a rabbit's body temperature.
- The Royal Veterinary College, Johnson, Burn, June 2019. Lop-eared rabbits have more aural and dental problems than erect-eared rabbits: a rescue population study. Currently the paper has not been peer-reviewed.
- House Rabbit Society, Jana Rickel of Sound Diagnostics, Rabbit Ears: A Structural Look: ...injury or disease, can send your rabbit into a spin
- House Rabbit Society, Amy Espie, The Eloquent Ear: An Aural Celebration
- NetVet.co.uk, Rabbit Ears
Below are anecdotes about rabbit ears.
- House Rabbit Society, Diane K. Gosnell, The Trouble with Ears
- Heffner, H., & Masterton, B. (1980). Hearing in Glires: Domestic rabbit, cotton rat, feral house mouse, and kangaroo rat. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 68(6), 1584–1599.
- Krempels, D. (2009). Do Rabbit Ears reflect their internal temperature?. Retrieved 12 Oct 2016 from http://en.allexperts.com/q/Rabbits-703/2009/10/Rabbit-Ears-reflect-internal.htm
- Krempels, D. (2012). my rabbit has very hot ears: is it a fever?. Retrieved 12 Oct 2016 from http://en.allexperts.com/q/Rabbits-703/2012/2/rabbit-hot-ears-fever.htm