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Why do Some Rabbits Have Lop Ears?

why do lops lop?

Be honest.  Who doesn’t go all weak-kneed over a lop-eared rabbit?  Of course, all rabbit ears are unique.  But why do some rabbits have lop ears?  Well, it is genetic. Lop ears were produced in particular lines by selective breeding, not part of a natural selection process. That is why lop ears can follow along as breed traits.  Not much is known about where these genetic traits appear in DNA. Still, the gene does not follow a reliable dominant/recessive rule.   When a bun with standy-up ears mates with a lop-eared rabbit, the kits' ears could turn out in any variation.  Up, down, sideways…

Gray and white lop eared rabbit
Brown and white lop eared rabbit
Standing lop eared rabbit

Lop ears fall because of a lack of control of the ear muscles. This is due to how the crown of the head forms.  The head's crown has a cartilage band at the top of the skull, between the ears. The way the ear muscles attach to that crown decides whether the ears will be lop or not.

All rabbits are born with "standy-up" ears.  Lops' ears drop when the bunnies are anywhere from 4-12 weeks old

We're all ears graphic

Some rabbits have “helicopter ears” – with one or both ears being partly lop. 

Bunny with one lop ear

Now that we know why do some rabbits have lop ears, we say cheers for lop ears. Fly your lop flags proudly.  Dare to be lop.  Flaunt your loppedness.  We'll just be over here to the side saying "awwwww” and taking pictures.

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