Rabbit Foot Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Rabbit Foot Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

A rabbit foot is a cute and quirky tattoo which has rapidly increased in popularity over the past few years. But what does it mean?

The basic premise is that a rabbit foot is lucky, and can bring great fortune to the wearer. This is because of many different reasons.

Rabbit foot tattoos are quirky and cute with an intriguing backstory; frankly, they’re one of the coolest tattoos out there.

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What is the History of Rabbit Foot Tattoos?  

The history of rabbit foot tattoos is especially interesting, with many different theories and legends from endless cultures around the world.

The most common, and potentially most likely, comes from many thousands of years ago when humans and other living beings shared a special spiritual connection. 

There were certain tribes which had descended from hares or rabbits – or so the tribe members believed – and as such, they would worship the animals and carry parts of them for luck (although perhaps it wasn’t so lucky for the animals).

Not only did the hare foot represent good fortune, but it was also a phallic symbol which promoted fertility, along with bountiful harvest.

However, whilst the tribes originally considered just hares’ feet lucky, rabbits were soon also added to the mix – mainly because once the feet were cut off, it was difficult to differentiate between the original host animal. 

Many tribes believed that these animals could also communicate with the Gods due to the sheer amount of time that they spent underground, and as such, it was also a privilege to carry around one of their feet.

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What Do Rabbit Foot Tattoos Symbolize?  

However, there are many other legends than just the one mentioned above.

One of the most popular of these legends is that the left hind foot of the rabbit was considered especially lucky during Celtic practices around 600BC.

However, in order for it to be lucky, the rabbit had to have been shot or captured in a cemetery. Bonus points if it had been shot with a silver bullet beneath a full moon on Friday 13th!

Alternative stories suggest that the rabbits’ foot comes from the Hand of Glory: the hand cut from a handed man. This comes from medieval Europe when people would often cut off the hand – usually the left one – of a hanged criminal and pickle it for luck. The worst their deeds, the better.

From there, rabbits’ feet were considered lucky because they were associated with the body of a bad person. In 1884, Grover Cleveland received the foot of a rabbit which had been captured and killed on top of the grave of Jesse James – and he was then elected president. So surely, it must work?

Another story is that rabbits’ feet were popular in the combination of European tradition and African folk legend referred to as African American an hoodoo. It was considered to ward off aches and pains, and could be utilized for any event or scenario in life.

One of the lesser known legends is that in the early 1800’s, witches were said to be able to take the form of a rabbit. As such, rabbits were killed because the people believed that there might just be a witch in there, and by wearing their foot they could utilize all of their magical powers.

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What Do Rabbit Foot Tattoos Mean? 

Of course, the meaning of a rabbit foot tattoo depends entirely on the person getting it tattooed. 

Perhaps the meaning of this tattoo comes from one of the legends mentioned above, or perhaps it could be completely different. It could symbolize bravery, honour, luck… or it could just be appreciated as a nice tattoo.

One of the best parts of getting a tattoo is being able to permanently ink yourself with an image that means a lot to you, or perhaps simply brings you a little joy.

As such, a rabbit foot is a great tattoo due to its associations with luck, and the way that people have appreciated it as a talisman for many centuries.

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Characteristics and Styles of Rabbit Foot Tattoos 

Rabbit foot tattoos always, of course, show imagery of the foot of a rabbit. Usually it is encased in some sort of patterned holder, such as silver or gold embossed with gems, but can also be entirely plain. 

It usually has a chain dangling from it, and sometimes shows the claws of the rabbit.

Usually, you will see rabbit foot tattoos in the traditional tattoo style. This is the most popular style, and can be done in both color and black-and-white. The style of shading is especially suited to this type of tattoo.

However, you can also find blackwork, fine line, realism, line-and-dot, or cartoon.

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Where Do Rabbit Foot Tattoos Usually Go? 

A rabbit foot tattoo can go anywhere on the body, but larger, fleshy areas are great for ensuring that it ages well. 

For example, you could have it tattooed:

  • On your thigh
  • On your calf
  • On your chest
  • On your upper-arm

But of course, small rabbit foot tattoos are also great and super cute!

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Final Thoughts 

Rabbit foot tattoos are fun and quirky, and oftentimes have an interesting legend or backstory tied to them. However, you can also get this tattoo just because you like the way it looks, with no reason necessary.

From Celts to witches to medieval Europeans, there are many cultures around the world that believe in using a rabbit foot as a talisman, and tattoos of this charm look great on any place on the body.

One thing’s for sure: with a rabbit’s foot tattoo, you will never be down on luck!

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