It is almost the end of winter, and most people like to adopt a pet from this month onwards. When it comes to bringing a pet into your home, your first choice is often either a cat or a dog (if you are not allergic to either).
But you don’t have to be a common pet person. Take a leap of confidence and go for something else.
You can also go for a feathered heart breaker, but if you still want to stick with a furry mammal option, think of a rabbit.
Who doesn’t like a big fat chubby Bunny? Your girls would love it and it is so easy to manage.
What is a Rex Rabbit?
This small chubby animal has the scientific name of Oryctolagus Cuniculus. This specific breed originated in France in 1919. This family of rabbits consists of 9 breeds, and all of them are recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA).
This docile animal has short, soft fur that points out instead of against their body. This makes them super plushy.
How Large Do They Grow?
An average Rex rabbit (in all 9 breeds) is a medium-sized rabbit. It has a round and chubby body. They can grow up to a foot in length. They weigh from 7 to 11 pounds (3.2 to 5 kg) depending on the breed.
The maleGiant Chinchilla can weigh from 12 to 15 pounds and the females can vary from 13 to 16 pounds. You don’t need them bigger than that, do you?
They have a slightly broader face than other breeds of rabbits – with proportionate upright ears and smaller feet, in that same proportion.
As it is with most large breeds of rabbits, the female has a large flap of skin under its chin known as dewlap.
When they stand on their hind legs to check if the environment is safe, they can be as tall as 3 feet.
What Colors Do They Have?
ARBA recognizes 16 color varieties for the Rex Rabbit breed, but the British Rabbit Council recognizes 32 color variants.
These animals can be of a single color fur or may have spots of different shades of the same or different colors. For example, a tri-color Rex Doe is a common house breed.
But special clubs provide you with fancier particulars in all 9 breeds.
How Long Is Their Fur?
They don’t have long and guff fur. Its fur lacks the long guard hairs typical of the more common short furred animals.
Each hair in its coat is short but dense. Because of this feature, they are described as plush or velvety.
They have a thick under fur and an even upper fur.
On the fur size and texture, there are three types; the standard Rex fur, Short, and curly Rex fur and long curly Rex fur as of the opossum.
How Long Do They Live?
Like many mammals, Rex Rabbits have a long life expectancy.
Unlike other mammals, the Rex is born with fur-on, so they are easy to take care of when babies. They are more resistant to cold when infants.
If they are well taken care of, they are expected to live a healthy happy life from 9 to 12 years. The small breeds of the Rex have a shorter life, from 5-6 years, but neutering these pets can increase their life spans by up to 3 years.
How Do They Behave?
The Rex is a gentle, playful and intelligent breed of rabbits. So, if you are looking for a lovable and low maintenance pet, you should try them.
The Rex has a relatively calm temperament and is generally good-natured. They are one of the most affectionate rabbits and enjoy company a lot. They can be very boisterous and playful and get along very well with kids and other pets.
Almost all rabbits love to be cuddled and stroked when approached in the right way. The Rex rabbit is not different either. Some rabbits may even like to be held or carried around, but most feel insecure from heights as they are ground dwellers.
What Is Their Nature?
These rabbits have a low to moderate activity level and mostly love to jump when setting free in vast lush green fields.
In all their life span, the most aggressive they get is at the age of 4 or 5 months. They need your attention the most at this stage or they may develop these habits forever. No one likes an aggressive and scratchy bunny!
They will love to sit on your lap or snuggle next to you to be cuddled. They are attention seekers. These rabbits always need some company, either that of their caretaker or some other animal (better if it’s another rabbit).
You don’t want to disturb it when it is sleeping as they may get startled and may get aggressive.
How to Take Care of Them?
The Rex is surely a low maintenance pet, but it does need great care. You need to give them a proper indoor or outdoor space to live and carry out their daily activities.
Rex Rabbits can be kept outside all year round if you want to keep them out in your yard.
Ideally, their resting place should be in a shed or in an unused garage with natural light and ventilation for hot weather. Rabbits stand on their hind legs to check if their environment is safe. So, your rabbit’s cage or shelter should be tall enough to allow it to stand without being hunched over or folding its ears against the roof. An average height of 3 feet (~90 cm) is enough for most rabbit breeds.
The minimum run/exercise space recommended is 32 square ft (8’ x 4’).
If you aim to keep them indoors, it is important to give them a cool environment.
Rex Rabbits are more sensitive to heat than to cold. Also, the sudden change in environmental temperature is bad for it. Rex Rabbits tolerate heat less than cold.
The ideal indoor temperature for them is 35 to 40 degrees. Above this is very bad for them, so you need to give them a nice cool snugly environment.
Rabbits are herbivores; that means they only feed on plant/vegan products.
It doesn’t mean they feed on carrots only (like bugs bunny). Rex Rabbits need a diet mostly composed of pellets and hay/grass (about 70 percent). Adults weighing under 5 pounds need about ¼ cups of high-fiber pellets every day. Most Rex Rabbit breeds are small, so they only need a quarter cup every day.
Rexes, like all pets, need specific medical attention.
Veterinary hospitals have vaccine shots to avoid Rabies, Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD). These shots are needed at the early age of 5 weeks. After that you are required to give them boosters on an annual basis.
The biggest behavior change happens at the age of 4 months. This is the time to visit your veterinarian to get information about a spay or neuter.
If you delay this process, then this aggressive behavior may become permanent and there is very little chance you will have a non-scratchy and calm sweet bunny. These animals are just like a teenager. Teenage is the right age to do character and behavior building. After 5 months you cannot change or train them to be calm natured.
Litter and Potty-training
Rabbits like all mammals eat a lot and yes, they are messy, but you can potty train them very easily.
After 3 months, they really start to familiarize their environment and remember their bedding or play areas.
At first, you need to restrict his roaming area. Show him his litter tray and try to keep that near his feeding bowl.
You can tell just by looking at the animal when it is in distress. At this time, you just need to show them a proper litter area. After 5 or 6 times they would always go there to relieve themselves.
Once they are trained this way, they may leave the odd poop around some corner to show everyone that this is their territory.
How Good of a Pet Do They Become?
Just like cats and dogs, Rex Rabbits can learn their name and can respond to other words.
Most big and fat rabbits, who are brought up in a house are very friendly and can respond to your call. They will sit on your lap and might sleep when cuddled or stroked gently behind the ears and around the neck and back.
Rex Rabbits are a very intelligent breed and they can remember their owner. They respond to familiar voices. They even get attracted by a familiar smell. Keeping all these parameters, the Rex is less likely to get in an unknown hand and avoid such unfamiliar company and smell.
How to Read Their Nature?
The Rex Rabbit is a very moody animal. They can get angry or sad at anything or act in a way that is against their calm nature. They can be vengeful, destructive, bratty and willful at certain times. So, they need a caring and thoughtful owner who can read its complex, yet easy nature to coexist and make both their lives happy.
So, how to read its nature? It’s simple! When you see it approach you, it might start licking your leg. It's not because it likes your salty sweat. It means that it trusts you!
It also means that it is looking for affection and attention. If you approach it and it starts to lunge, it means disapproval. So, he might not want to be held or touched, etc.
To build your trust, find its favorite food or anything that it loves to play or cuddle with.
Give him carrots or celery or even an apple if he likes it. Some bunnies like timothy hay while others like alfalfa. Train him by giving them their favorite treats while they are still young. Once a grumpy rabbit, it stays that all its life.
Give them a nice hiding place and play hide and seek. They like to be excited - but in a calm and non-aggressive manner.
If you are keeping a rabbit, try to give him a companion as well. As they become 8 months old, they need a mate. If they don’t get a companion they might get aggressive or sick.
They also like the company of other animals, especially other rabbits.
You also need to give them a nice amount of daily exercise. Most rabbits run or hop around 2 miles a day. They need at least 3 hours a day to be set free in the lawn. This time is good for its health as well – as they stretch their legs and interact with nature.
You can tell when your rabbit is in distress. They tend to scream when they are being held against their will or when they are in pain.
Some people have cat or dog allergies. Such people may also have allergies to rabbits, but most of these people can live with a Rex as they are much cleaner and don't shed a lot of fur.
Compared to most other furry pets, a rabbit bite is much less dangerous and very mild. So, they might be a better option over cats and dogs. They are easy to maintain and get cozier with your good behavior and affection. They don't have a dog-like saliva issue. A Rex needs fewer vaccinations than other rabbits. If your girls like a cute fluffy bear, they might love this one better.
It is low maintenance but surely requires personal attention; otherwise, they get depressed. This feature makes them the most lovable and puts them far above other domestic pets.
You can read further information at the following links:
- House Rabbit Society. Aggression
- Fitzroy Vet Hospital VIC. Rabbit facts that you might not know about your bunny
- PDSA. Rex Breed Information