While it certainly isn’t the most commonly asked question, you wouldn’t be the first person to ask about the belly button status of a rabbit, and you won’t be the last. Do these adorably furry creatures sport a quirky outie, a more common innie, or are they all completely belly buttonless?
Don’t worry. I fully intended to answer these burning questions and more here, starting with “do rabbits have belly buttons?”
All Rabbits have belly buttons. Rabbits are placental mammals with a placenta and umbilical cord connecting the offspring to the mother in the womb to transfer nutrients, oxygen, and waste. Once a rabbit is born and the umbilical cord is removed, the offspring’s naval will become apparent on the belly.
As is common with questions, knowing the answer to a rabbit having a belly button might have opened the floodgates to even more questions, such as why this happens and perhaps even what a rabbit’s belly button looks like. To satiate your curiosity, I’ll answer all of these questions as well, both in terms of rabbits and mammals as a class.
Why Do Rabbits Have Belly Buttons?
Now that you know rabbits do indeed have belly buttons, you might be wondering why this is. Although I am focusing primarily on rabbits as a species for this question, it does pertain to most mammal species, particularly any found with belly buttons as well.
Rabbits, being placental mammals, have placentas that allow offspring to be connected to their mother while they are carried in the womb. It is essential to the development of baby rabbits as placentas help offspring receive vital nutrients and oxygen from the mother while also removing excess waste.
The placenta is a large organ that develops during pregnancy and is attached to the top or side of the uterine wall.
Attached to the placenta is the umbilical cord that assists in carrying these life-sustaining necessities up until the mother gives birth. The umbilical cord is connected to the offspring’s belly through what will become their naval to efficiently transfer necessities directly into the offspring.
Once the baby rabbits are born, the mother will typically chew off the umbilical cord, leaving the babies with their newly exposed naval or belly button.
What Does a Rabbit’s Belly Button Look Like?
If you’re inspecting your pet rabbit for his belly button under the assumption it will somewhat resemble a human’s, then you’ll be disappointed to hear that they look nothing alike.
Very few placental mammals have belly buttons similar to humans, which is a reason why they are commonly referred to as navels instead because they rarely have that circular button-like appearance.
A rabbit’s navel looks more like a long thin scar you can faintly make out traveling down the length of their lower abdomen. Usually, a baby rabbit’s navel will heal quite smoothly after birth, so it isn’t uncommon for their belly button to be almost entirely invisible.
Not to mention, their fur makes the search increasingly difficult.
However, if you see an oddly colored patch of fur on their lower belly, this is a common tell-tale sign that the rabbit’s belly button might be found here. But, don’t be discouraged if you can’t find it, as the excellent healing of most mammal navels leaves their mark nearly invisible on the animal, rabbits included.
Why Dosen’t a rabbit’s Navel Look Like a Human’s Belly Button?
Apart from great apes, such as Chimpanzees and Gorillas, very few mammals have belly buttons that even closely resemble a human’s.
There are a few reasons for this. First, your belly button is actually your first scar, and every animal heals from this differently. In most cases, after the umbilical cord has been removed, the offspring will heal quite well and have a nearly invisible scar as their navel.
The navel will heal differently based on an animal’s environment or biology, but this is usually the case for placental mammals.
The second reason why humans have such unique belly buttons actually goes hand-in-hand with the healing process.
No animal in the wild is born and has its umbilical cord removed the same way as humans. Where most offspring have their mothers chew off the umbilical cord, or it is left to fall off naturally, human babies will have their umbilical cords cut and tied.
Afterward, the small stalk of the umbilical that is left will shrivel up, and you will either be left with the classic innie or outie belly button. But, in the end, human belly buttons are also just a baby’s first scar and are merely a much more noticeable example than other mammals.
Do All Mammals Have Belly Buttons?
It would be easy to say that rabbits have belly buttons or navels because they’re mammals and all mammals have them, but this isn’t actually the case.
All mammals do not have belly buttons. While the vast majority of mammals are placental mammals, and therefore have belly buttons, mammals like marsupials and monotremes do not. Marsupials nourish their offspring through a yolk sac in the mother’s womb while monotremes are the only mammals to lay eggs.
Mammal Belly Button Exceptions: Marsupials
A marsupial is a type of mammal that does not develop a true placenta but instead nourishes its offspring through a short-lived placenta connected to a yolk sac in the mother’s womb.
This lasts for a very brief gestation period until the offspring is born (usually underdeveloped). It is then carried in a pouch on the mother’s lower abdomen until the offspring is fully developed.
While in their mother’s pouch, the short-term umbilical cord connected to the offspring will eventually fall off rather than being chewed off by its mother, which is the case with rabbits. Once it falls off, there is no mark or scar left behind to indicate it was there in the first place, meaning they don’t have a navel or belly button.
Common examples of marsupials include:
Each of these has the indicative pouch for carrying young, and none will have any sign of belly buttons or navels.
Mammal Belly Button Exceptions: Monotremes
While there are many similarities between marsupials and placental mammals in regard to carrying and birthing young, monotremes are quite different.
Monotremes are a rare and uncommon group of mammals that are quite primitive in origin and don’t birth live young. Instead, they are the only egg-laying mammals, which means the offspring develop within large yolky eggs until they hatch.
As a result, they don’t have belly buttons because it is unnecessary to their development within the egg as there is no placenta or umbilical cord present. Currently, there are only five living monotreme species in existence: the duck-billed platypus and four species of echidna.
So, there you have it. All of your rabbit belly button questions are laid to rest. As placental mammals, rabbits have a belly button or navel, albeit a very faint one.
Rest assured if your pet rabbit has a highly noticeable belly button. It is perfectly healthy and no more cause for concern than if you couldn’t find their navel at all. But next time you get a glimpse of your own childbirth scar, know that this mark is not unique to humans alone.