Are Rabbit Noses Supposed to Be Wet?

It is a common question that can pop up in almost every pet owner’s mind, whether it is normal that your pet has a wet nose or not. It can mean anything, it can be normal to have a wet nose, or it can even mean that your pet needs some medical attention. So today, let’s discuss why or why not your rabbit’s nose should be wet.

In case of rabbits, their nose is usually wet when they try to cool their body down. A damp nose even helps them to smell better. So, a wet nose is kind of a natural phenomenon when it comes to rabbits. But, a continuously runny nose or discharge can be the indicator of some illness. Hence, we need to understand and learn the behavior of our rabbits. It is also necessary to know the reasons behind the rabbit’s nose getting wet, under various circumstances, to stay informed about the bunny’s situation.

So, let’s discuss a bit about why your rabbit has a wet nose and what potential dangers it can mean.

What Causes Your Rabbit’s Nose To Get Wet?

Having a wet nose is very common in the case of rabbits. Whenever they feel that their body is overheated, they use their tongue to wet their nose, which helps them cool down. This process is similar to what dogs do for cooling themselves, in addition to panting.

Additionally, instead of licking their noses with tongue, rabbits even dip their nose in water for keeping it moist. This process not only helps them to cool down but also assists in improving their sense of smell. Sense of smell is beneficial for rabbits as they rely on it to know about their surroundings. Knowing all this, we can think how essential it is for rabbits to have a wet nose.

However, we should understand that a wet nose is not always a good indicator. If your rabbit has a runny nose, then it can be an indicator of potential future disease. Rabbits usually suffer from respiratory illness, and a runny nose could indicate that, which makes this a cause of concern.

After learning all this, you must have understood how important it is for a rabbit owner to know the difference between a wet nose, runny nose, and discharge. Understanding all this will help you be informed about your rabbit’s situation, and you can help it in the best way possible.

Cooling Down

Rabbits come amongst those animals which are very sensitive to heat and can overheat quickly. Overheating can be detrimental to the health of the rabbits. Hence, it becomes essential for them to maintain their right body temperature.

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The average body temperature of a rabbit ranges between 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Overheating usually occurs in their body when the temperature of their surroundings crosses 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In general, the temperature of a living space can easily go above 80 degrees. So, in such a situation, be thoughtful about your rabbit and notice the signs, if any, of overheating.

Some of the signs which indicate overheating in rabbits are:

  • Wet nose.
  • Fast and shallow breathing
  • Hot ears.
  • Lack of enthusiasm or low energy.
  • Heavy breathing with an open mouth and tossing their head back.

With the information that we have discussed, we now know that it is essential to keep your rabbit’s environment below 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping the environment controlled as per the rabbit’s comfort level should be your priority so that your little pet doesn’t face any overheating.

With all we have discussed, we can assume it is okay for a rabbit to have a wet nose when it is trying to cool down.

Improving The Sense Of Smell

A rabbit is a prey animal, and therefore, its sense of smell is arguably a vital thing. In addition to hearing and sight, the sense of smell also helps the rabbits stay safe from predators. We, as humans, usually rely on our ability to hear and see. But, this is not the case with rabbits. Their sight and hearing ability is fine, but the sense of smell helps them know what is going on in their surrounding environment.

Some of the reasons why the sense of smell is so important for rabbits are as follows:

  • No doubt that rabbits have good eyesight, but it is not perfect for making them aware of the hidden predators around them. Their vision usually helps them just to acknowledge movements. As they are far-sighted, they typically rely on their vision once they have sensed any potential danger using their hearing and smelling power. It is because their hearing and smelling capability can make them aware of risk far before seeing it.
  • Rabbit’s hearing, smelling, and seeing capabilities work in coordination. They have an excellent hearing capability which makes them startled by hearing even regular loud noises. Once they hear a noise, they use their sense of smell to connect the scent with the sound they heard. By establishing such a connection, they confirm whether they need to be afraid of the sound or not.
  • Rabbits are curious and territorial animals who like to explore new terrains and claim them for themselves. With the help of their smelling capability, they ensure whether the terrain is safe or not.
  • When the baby rabbits are born, their eyes remain closed for around 10 days. Until then, they rely on their sense of smell to locate their mother and feed.
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That all being said, we now know that how important it is for a rabbit to improve its sense of smell constantly. This makes it okay for a rabbit to have a wet nose if strengthening its smelling capability.

Discharge Vs Wet Nose

Most people usually mistake a rabbit’s discharge and wet nose as one and the same thing. Well, it is not so. It is essential to know the difference between the two. For differentiating, check whether the stuff coming out from your rabbit’s nose is thick or not. If the stuff is a bit thick, then it is a discharge and if it is a bit damp, you can consider it as a wet nose.

The reason why it is important to know the difference between discharge and wet nose is that discharge is an indicator of illness or sickness. If you notice that your rabbit has a discharge, then immediately take it to a vet as it can be aaa sign of infection in the respiratory system.

Noses are the only source of breathing for rabbits, so any kind of sickness related to the respiratory system can prove to be very serious. It can even result in the rabbit’s death in a couple of weeks.

Potential Sickness

Now that we know how sensitive and essential a rabbit’s respiratory system is, it is also crucial for us to know the kind of sickness your rabbit can face. Obviously, this is the case when your rabbit has discharge coming out from its nose.


Snuffles is a type of infection that is specific to rabbits and infects rabbit’s lungs, ears, eyes, as well as mouth. Hence, whenever you see discharge coming out of your rabbit’s nose, ASAP consult a vet.

Another thing to know about this infection is that it is a chronic illness. This means it can spread from one infected rabbit to another one making them sick. So, whenever your rabbit suffers from such an infection, isolate it.

You should know the symptoms of this infection because it can be highly fatal for your rabbit and, if not treated properly, can result in its death. So, some of the symptoms of this infection are:

  • Nasal Discharge.
  • Runny nose.
  • Head tilt.
  • Skin snores.
  • Wet paws.
  • Wet or mated facial fur.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your rabbit, you can do some remedies to control your rabbit’s situation. But, in an urgent condition and to get proper care, it is better to immediately contact a vet to perform appropriate diagnostics and handle the situation properly.


Pneumonia in rabbits can make their situation really worse, and hence, even thinking about it is very scary. Usually, the cause behind pneumonia in rabbits is the inflammation of the lung parenchyma. The general symptoms of this disease are:

  • Discharge coming out of nose and eyes.
  • Sneezing or coughing.
  • Reduction in the usual appetite.
  • Lethargy.
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These symptoms are very general, so it is difficult to identify whether your rabbit is suffering from pneumonia or any other disease. If these symptoms stretch for an extended period, it is better to take your rabbit to a vet.


Myxomatosis is a disease widely spread through wild rabbits and is mainly caused by the myxoma virus. This virus’s primary source of infection is the bites from fleas, mosquitoes, fur mites, and flies. In addition to these, it can also be spread through contaminated thorns, thistles, and when rabbits come in contact with wild rabbits.

The rabbits that we pet at home are usually susceptible and can catch severe infections in comparison to wild rabbits. It is because due to continuous outside exposure and the genetic resistance developed over time, wild rabbits are less affected by this disease but can spread it widely.

Some of the symptoms of this disease are:

  • Discharge from nose and eyes.
  • Conjunctivitis.
  • Puffy eyelids.
  • Production of pus/ purulent.
  • Lethargy.

Also, remember that this disease can cause your rabbit’s death as early as 1-2 weeks. So, take your rabbit to a vet at the earliest.


Summing up, it is normal for a rabbit to have a wet nose. By wetting it, they may be cooling their body and protecting themselves from overheating. Another reason could be, they are trying to improve their sense of smell to sniff their surroundings better to know what is going on around them.

If you notice any thickness to the wetness, it can be discharge. Discharge is not a good indicator and can be the sign of any infection in your rabbit’s body or the development of any kind of potential illness or sickness.

Whenever you discover any sort of discharge, don’t waste your time searching for remedies on the internet. It is better to go and consult a wet for help immediately. Discharge may be a result of a minor infection that can be dealt with using some antibiotics. But, there are also chances that the discharge can be a sign of a severe or fatal disease that can result in the death of your little bunny in just a few weeks.

So, if your rabbit’s nose is just wet, there is no need to worry about it at all. But, if you see some thickness to the wetness, don’t wait and consult a vet as soon as possible.