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American Sable Rabbit Care Sheet

American Sable Rabbit Care Sheet

Scientific Facts

Common Name:American Sable
Scientific Name:Oryctolagus cuniculus
Life Span:Around 5 to 8 years
Size:Medium
Weight:8 to 10 pounds
Body Shape:Commercial
Country of Origin:United States of America

Fast Facts

Best Suited For: All rabbit owners with different types of experiences in care

Temperament: Active, playful, and sweet

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What Are The Different Types of Rabbits?

Comparable Breeds:  Silver Marten rabbit and American Chinchilla rabbit

Physical Description

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The American Sable rabbit has a commercial body type and is very suitable for meat production, which is the purpose of some breeders for acquiring them. Generally, their size is classified as medium, but there are quite smaller than other commercial breeds of rabbit, such as the Californian and the Satin.

The primary color of American Sable rabbits is a sepia-like brown, but it has darker sepia brown patches over their face, feet, ears, back, and tail. Their medium body also has a good muscle cover and a well-rounded overall shape. The American Sable rabbit also has graduated coloring all over its body, meaning that their coloring darkens on their face, ears, back, and tail. The eyes of these rabbits are also dark, but they have a deep ruby red coloring.

The coating of this rabbit is fine and soft to the touch, but these hairs can be quite dense, and it blows over quite a long period. Basically, this means that the coat of these rabbits requires more grooming compared to other short-haired rabbits. Also, because their coats are very thick, these American Sable rabbits will definitely shed during their molting periods. Because of this, the owners must be willing to spend time preparing for regular brushings during their shedding periods, especially if your American Sable rabbit resides indoors. You just have to use a slicker brush and bring your rabbit outdoors. This must be done 1 to 2 times per week, or as necessary during the shedding season. During the off-season, brushing must be done once every two weeks.

The head of the American Sable rabbit is also rounded, and their ears are also held upright. The average body weight of American Sable rabbits ranges from about 3.1 to 4 kilograms for the males and 3.6 to 4.5 kilograms for the females.  

Origin of the Breed

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The American Sable rabbit was first discovered by Otto Brock in California during the early 20th century. This breed was the result of crossing the Chinchilla rabbit with other different rabbit breeds until the desired look was achieved. In 1929, the American Sable Rabbit Association was founded, and in 1931, the breed was accepted and accredited by the American Rabbit Breeders Association.

Behavior

American Sable rabbits are very energetic, and they enjoy running around whether they are inside or outside. Once these rabbits have been tuckered out, they will enjoy the company of their human. These bunnies also enjoy gentle petting on their backs and between their ears, although they are so active that these rabbits might not even give their owners a chance for a petting.

American Sable rabbits can be great pets for single people or senior citizens that are in need of a company. They are also great for couples and families with young children, and they are able to live in homes and apartments, whether they have or they don’t have backyards. 

American Sable rabbits enjoy having some toys to sink their teeth into and play with. Some individuals also would rather have simple toys like plastic balls. Some individuals are satisfied even with just playing with cardboard, but other American Sable rabbits would rather have more complex and mentally stimulating toys.

Compared to common home animals like cats and dogs, American Sable rabbits are a little harder to train. But this is still possible. For safety, rabbits must have a few litter boxes spread out across the house.

Common Health Problems

The moment that you acquire your rabbit from a reputable animal shelter, breeder, or rescue group, you should have the American Sables checked for signs of illness. For instance, if the American sable rabbit has a runny nose, it might have a respiratory infection. If the American sable rabbit is tilting its head, it might have an inner ear infection.

These are the common illnesses that American sable rabbits might acquire:

Overgrown Teeth

Cause

American sable rabbits have teeth that continuously grow all throughout their lives. If your rabbit does not grind their teeth down constantly through eating fiber-rich foods, owners will see their molar teeth forming spikes that can also damage their tongue and cheeks. This situation will only cause them much pain, which can also lead to them being unable to eat properly. Their incisors that are located at the top of their mouths can also grow into a curl, which will lead to rabbits not being able to eat at all. Once a rabbit quits eating, their gut will also stop working, and they will die.

Prevention

You should provide your American sable rabbits to be 80 to 90 percent made up of fiber in the form of hay or grass.

Treatment

The veterinarian will use a general anesthetic and will burr the teeth flat to correct the overgrowth.

Snuffles or Pasteurellosis

Cause

This disease is transmitted by being in close contact with another infected rabbit. These bacteria can bring harm to the eyes and is exhibited by an eye and nasal discharge, redness, squinting, and constant sneezing. This disease can also infect other areas of the body, including the ears, which will result in a head tilt, as well as uterine infections.

Prevention

Some strains of the bacteria remain latent in a rabbit’s nasal tract and will awaken when the American sable rabbit is feeling stressed. Reducing the stress in their life as well as a quarantine for infected rabbits are both great ways of preventing the introduction of the disease and the recurrence of signs.

Treatment

The treatment involves a long and sometimes repeated course of antibiotics. Occasionally, if an abscess develops, surgery will be required.

Hairballs or Trichobezoars

Cause

American sable rabbits may have a tendency to self-groom, which will lead to hair being found in their stomachs. However, rabbits cannot vomit, and hair must be able to pass through the gut. If it will not pass through, it will form an obstruction and will lead to serious complications. These problems are very common, so this must be seen as a problem in any lethargic rabbit.

Prevention

A high fiber diet is a great preventive measure because this will improve their gastrointestinal tract.

Treatment

Sometimes, surgery will be the only treatment, especially if the hairball causes a blockage in the gut.

Uterine Tumors

Cause

This is a disease that can be developed in female American sable rabbits. It should be suspected anytime an unneutered or unsprayed female becomes sick. Some of the most common signs are aggressive behavior, vaginal discharge, lethargy, and mammary gland cysts.

Prevention

The major way to prevent this is desexing at 4 to 6 months of age.

Treatment

The main treatment is desexing, as well.

Myxomatosis

Cause

This disease comes from a virus that can be spread through flies, mosquitoes, fleas, or being in the presence of a rabbit who has or is suspected of having contracted Myxomatosis. The disease is recognized by discharge and swelling and discharge from the eyes, nose, and anogenital region.

Prevention

There is a vaccination that is available to be free from this disease. Plus, people can invest in a mosquito-proof rabbit hutch, or you can bring your rabbit inside the house at dawn and dusk when the number of mosquito levels is higher. Doing some flea control can help, as well, by introducing new rabbits to keep them isolated for about 2 weeks.

Treatment

This disease is fatal with no available treatments.

Rabbit Calicivirus and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus

Cause

This disease is spread by flies, mosquitoes, and through direct or indirect contact with an infected rabbit. There are currently four strains that are available. The clinical signs include fever, lethargy, poor appetite, and restlessness. This disease causes acute liver damage with resulting in blood clotting abnormalities. This can also be fatal due to the obstruction of blood supply in vital organs and internal hemorrhage. RHDV has a mortality of 70 percent to 90 percent in susceptible rabbits.

Prevention

Vaccination of your rabbit, will help them avoid these diseases. The vaccines are given every 6 months for matured rabbits. For rabbits who have not been previously vaccinated or overdue for the next dose of vaccination will need to be given two vaccinations that are one month apart. On the other hand, for juvenile bunnies, they must be vaccinated from four weeks old until 12 weeks of age at least once a month. Then, every 6 months, once they grow older. Aside from vaccination, direct and indirect contact with infected rabbits must be prevented. Avoid cutting grass and feeding it to the American sable rabbit because there is no way to identify whether they are contaminated from the wild. You should also wash your hands with soap and water before you handle your American sable rabbits.

Treatment

There is no treatment available, and the disease is fatal. Often times, there are subtle changes in your rabbit’s behavior that may be a clue to a disease process occurring. If there are noticeable changes that make you feel concerned about the behavior of your bunny, the best option you must do is to bring them to the veterinarian and have them checked up. Remember, the earlier the health problems are detected from your pet, the better your rabbit’s chances are of living a healthy life.

Feeding

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Here are important things to know about American Sable rabbits and their diet.

  1. The diet of an American Sable rabbit should be made up of good quality pellets, hay, water, and fresh vegetables. Anything beyond that must only be considered as a treat and should be given in limited quantities only.
  2. For pellets, you should make sure that they are fresh, and they should be relatively high in fiber content, about 18 percent at the minimum. You should also not purchase more than 6 weeks’ worth of feed at a time, because the feed might spoil.
  3. Pellets should also make up less of an American Sable rabbit’s diet as they grow older, but hay must be available for about 24 hours in a day.
  4. Alfalfa pellets can be provided to younger rabbits, but older rabbits must be provided with timothy pellets.
  5. When you are looking for a selection of vegetables, you should consider dark leafy vegetables first. You should also stay away from rhubarb and beans.
  6. For young ones, you should follow this schedule:
    1. Birth to three weeks : Mother’s milk
    2. 3 to 4 weeks: mother’s milk, nibbles of alfalfa and pellets
    3. 4 to 7 weeks: mother’s milk, more alfalfa, and pellets
    4. 7 weeks to 7 months: unlimited hay and unlimited pellets
    5. 12 weeks: introducing vegetables one at a time, ½ oz per serving
    6. 7 months to 1 year old: introduce grass, oat, timothy, and other hays; decrease pellets and alfalfa to 1/2 cup per 6 lbs. body weight, increase daily vegetables gradually, but the number of fruit to be no more than 1 oz. to 2 oz. per 6 lbs. body weight
    7. 1 year old to 5 years old: introduce grass, oat, timothy, and other hays; decrease pellets and alfalfa to 1/2 cup per 6 lbs. body weight, increase daily vegetables gradually, but the number of fruit to be no more than 1 oz. to 2 oz. per 6 lbs. body weight
    8. 6 years old and up Just continue offering an adult diet, if the weight is at normal levels. For those in need of keeping weight up, they must be given unrestricted amounts of levels. Geriatric rabbits should also have annual blood workups so that their nutritional needs.

Environment and Housing

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The keynotes to know about the rabbit environment and housing are these important things.

  1. American Sable rabbits do not need a cage in order to survive. However, if you are starting with an untrained rabbit, you should keep them in an enclosure of some sort. You can go with an exercise pen, a large cage, a puppy pen, or just some form of protective housing where they can stay in a while their owner sleeps.
  2. Be sure to let out American Sable rabbits during the evenings once you come home and in the early mornings while you are preparing for work.
  3. If you notice that your rabbit is already familiar with the ins and outs of your home and if your entire house is already rabbit-friendly, you can leave them in free rein even when you are not there.
  4. American Sable rabbits are not designed to live on floors with wire lining. Wires are hard on their feet because their feet have no pads that are similar to cats and dogs.
  5. Owners can find cages with slatted plastic floors, which are more comfortable, or you can use a solid floor. As long as you provide the rabbit with a litter box that they can use as a bathroom, there should not be a mess that you have to clean up.
  6. For the size of the housing, the bigger you can provide, the better. A home for American Sable rabbits must be at least 4 to 6 times the size of your bunny when they are entirely stretched out and much more if you leave them confined inside for most of the day.
  7. Enclosure sizes must be decided in conjunction with the amount of exercise time and the space the rabbit has. The guideline is at least 24 square feet of exercise space for 1 to 2 rabbits that play about 5 hours a day.
  8. Owners can also provide a two-story condominium with the floors connected by a ramp.
  9. In making sure that the rabbit enclosure is more enjoyable, keep them stocked with baby toys, a synthetic sheepskin rug, a piece of wood like a baseboard on the inside, and A nice vegetable or fruit snack. There are also fun wooden and cardboard playhouses that are available today for you to climb and hide in to make their time at home much more enjoyable.
  10. Even when a rabbit has free rein to roam around the house, it might still get boring. Owners should provide them with entertainment sources like baskets, boxes, magazines, sticks, pouches, phone books, mats, and other similar things.
  11. When the American Sable rabbits are outside, owners must supervise them so they are safe from bigger animals that might attack or frighten the rabbit. Make sure that the grass outside has not been sprayed with fertilizers and pesticides. Owners should also check out the yard for holes in the fence and the presence of poisonous plants.
  12. Never allow your rabbit to be left outside after the dark. Predators are opossums, skunks, raccoons, dogs, foxes, coyotes, and some cats.

Fun Facts about the American Sable

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  1. The American Sable rabbits are made as a result of Chinchilla rabbit crosses.
  2. American Sable rabbits are identical to Chinchilla rabbits in body conformation, but their coats are different in colors, which resembles the color point pattern of the Siamese cat.
  3. According to the American Rabbit Breeders Association report in 2005, there are about 500 to 800 American Sable rabbits in the United States.
  4. Typically, the weight of an American sable rabbit ranges from 7 pounds, but it can be as high as 15 pounds.
  5. When distressed, American sable rabbits make grunting noises and will thump their foot back on the ground to scare whatever is bothering them.

Where Can You Get a Pet American Sable?

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There are three main reasons to get an American Sable rabbit.

Reason #1

American Sable rabbits can be bought from a pet store, but this method is not really recommended. This is because rabbits in pet stores likely come from mass-breeding facilities, which tend to focus more on earning a profit instead of providing them with a healthy environment where they can breed and raise animals.

Additionally, young American Sable rabbits may be prone to acquiring digestive problems, mainly due to the stress of living in a pet store and their current dietary changes.

When you visit a pet store, ask the staff about where the rabbits came from. People should reconsider buying an American Sable rabbit from a pet store if you cannot verify whether these rabbits came from a rabbit rescue, animal shelter, or a reputable breeder.

Reason #2

It would, in fact, be better to acquire your rabbit from a local animal shelter or a rescue group. First off, this is because staff in organizations like this are better acquainted and trained in practicing rabbit care. In addition, the situation and environment of animal shelters and rescue groups are much healthier and more socialized, if you compare them to a pet store situation.

Before you purchase your rabbit, you should visit the rescue group or the shelter first. You should ask them about how they care for their rabbits, what the process for adoption is, and what post-adoption care programs are made available.

Moreover, rabbits that are taken from animal shelters are usually much cheaper from pet shops and breeders. Mainly, this is because they were already desexed, vaccinated, dewormed, and microchipped before they reach the animal shelter.

Reason #3

Lastly, you can purchase a rabbit from a reputable breeder. You must be aware, though, that not all breeders provide American Sable rabbits with the care that they deserve, so you should be very careful about the one that you chose.

To identify a good breeder, you should ask for recommendations from an exotic veterinarian or a trusted friend who already owns rabbits. If you want, you can also visit rabbit shows and expositions and ask from there.

How to Care for a Pet American Sable?

These are the things to consider for taking care of your pet American Sable rabbit:

  1. Like any other rabbit, the diet of an American Sable rabbit should consist of 70 percent of hay, while the remaining 30 percent must be a healthy mixture of fruit, leafy greens, and vegetables.
  2. Owners should limit the amount of the fruits that they give to the rabbits because fruits are generally high in sugar.
  3. Owners should stay clear of iceberg lettuce because iceberg lettuce contains too much water and too little fiber to be considered as a good meal.
  4. American Sable rabbits should not be fed with yard clippings because the grass is usually treated with insecticides, pesticides, chemicals, and fertilizer, and other chemicals that can harm your rabbit.
  5. Before you introduce things to your American Sable rabbit’s diet, you should consult your trusted veterinarian about it.
  6. When it comes to a rabbit’s enclosure, the American Sable rabbits can live indoors or outdoors, depending on the owner’s preferences. But, the owner must make sure not to expose these rabbits to extreme weather conditions and too high or too low temperatures.
  7. Outdoor enclosures must be raised off the ground so that the American Sable rabbits will be protected in case coyotes, raccoons, or wolves spot them.
  8. Enclosures of the American Sable rabbit must be made of metal and wood.
  9. The top of the rabbit case must be covered so that external elements won’t get inside. Plus, depending on where you live, the rabbit might need at least 3 of the 4 sides covered so that the rabbit will still be able to enjoy air circulation.
  10. If you choose an indoor enclosure, you should ensure that it must be made of wire and must have a metal or plastic bottom to allow some bedding to be laid.
  11. Refrain from using wire bottoms because they are not comfortable to use for long periods of time, and it can be taxing for the feet of American Sable rabbits.
  12. The bedding of a rabbit enclosure must be spot-cleaned every day and completely replaced at least once a week.
  13. Lastly, in order for an American Sable rabbit to flourish, they must be provided with plenty of time outside of their enclosures.

Frequently Asked Questions

How big is an American Sable?

The American Sable is medium in size, and they weigh about 7 pounds to 10 pounds on average.

Do American Sables make good pets?

American Sables are great pets for all kinds of interested rabbit owners, regardless of caring experience, or a lack thereof.

How was the American Sable created?

The American Sable was created by combining different types of Chinchilla rabbits.

What do American Sables eat?

The diet of American Sables usually consists of high-quality pellets, along with vegetables, fruits, and other leafy greens.

How long do American Sables live?

It is said that American Sables can live up to 8 years in captivity.

When do American Sable rabbits sleep?

American Sable Rabbits are crepuscular, which means that they are generally awake early in the morning and at twilight, and they sleep during the day and during the night.

American Rabbit Care Sheet

American Rabbit Care Sheet