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Gotland Rabbit Care Sheet

Gotland Rabbit Care Sheet

Scientific Facts

Common Name: Gotland rabbit
Scientific Name: Oryctolagus cuniculus
Life Span: 9 years
Size: Medium
Habitat: Burrows in the forests
Country of Origin: Sweden

Fast Facts

Best Suited For: Experienced rabbit owners
Temperament: Curious, energetic, friendly, lively, social, and active
Comparable Breeds: Mellerud rabbit

Physical Description

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The Gotland rabbit is the Swedish type of rabbit. It is a medium-sized rabbit that comes in different colors. This species goes with an official landrace status in the country. Moreover, it’s considered an endangered variety. However, it’s also been developed as a formal breed that carries a similar name. The landrace is somewhat associated with the exotic Mellerud rabbit.

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What Are The Different Types of Rabbits?

The fur of this rabbit is short and shiny with a thick undercoat. Their color differs significantly, and litters could have more patterns and colors while they are young. The eyes of these rabbits are brown. In rarer instances, those eyes are blue.

The rabbit is also fine-boned and nimble with the muscular abdomen. Its nose is narrow, and the males have rounded cheeks. The ears of a Gotland rabbit are erect, pointed, and slender. The animal itself is inquisitive and lively. It shows a strong interest in its surroundings, so don’t be surprised by your pet’s behavior whenever you take it out of the cage. 

Moreover, the Gotland rabbit’s body depends on the animal’s gender. As the doe has an elongated body and a fine head, the buck seems more compact and has a dense muzzle and a rounded head. However, the weight will be in the same range regardless of gender. 

The ears of a Gotland rabbit are both relatively thin and average in length. It must be pointed not rounded. The eyes look alert, and they would be slightly big as they mature. Moreover, this rabbit has a lovely coat that looks short and fine. Though it is usually straight, there were some specimens with red fur. 

The eyes of a Gotland rabbit may differ from each individual. The same is the case for the patterns and fur colors. 

The Gotland Rabbit as a Formal Breed

The modern Gotland rabbits were from the populations found in the Gotland island. The studbook was closed since the start of breeding animal inventory in 1993. Regardless of the landrace’s name, the kind that has been represented by Gotland rabbits seems not different from the populations originating in Gotland. Instead, they are representing the old kind of farm rabbits that used to be found in Sweden.

The Gotland Rabbit Society is accountable for the preservation of this breed. Though a lot of rabbits from unknown heritage might look like the Gotland rabbits, only the babies born from the parents included in the list of the mentioned society will be recognized as purebred Gotland rabbits and may be added to the list. The registered Gotland rabbits will be kept in the official gene bank office. 

History/Origin

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The Gotland rabbit is somewhat similar to the Mellerud rabbit. It’s an indigenous breed of rabbit that originated in Sweden. It is currently listed as an endangered species, so it is indeed rare. Compared to other breeds, the Gotland rabbit was not developed as part of the breeding program. 

This rabbit developed naturally within the forest for centuries. However, today’s breeding programs were established to preserve the remaining populations of Gotland rabbits. 

Since the 1500s, the rabbits have been in captivity in the farms located in Sweden. Most of them were reserved for their meat and pelts. In the long run, show breeds rose to fame, and the farm rabbits began to become rarer, but some species were discovered on Gotland Island in the 1970s. Today’s Gotland rabbits originated from the rabbits. 

These days, the Gotland Rabbit Society is responsible for preserving the breed. Only these animals born from the parents licensed by the society are recognized purebred.

Behavior or Temperament

The Gotland rabbit is known for having a pleasing temperament, making it a good pet. This breed has been found lively and friendly. It enjoys exploring the environment. Also, you need to give your pet ample room to stay active as the Gotland rabbit tends to be energetic and inquisitive. This breed also prefers being with another rabbit. At the same time, it loves to spend time with its favorite human. 

Breeding

Gotland rabbits are medium producers. On average, a female Gotland rabbit has 6 to 8 bunnies per litter. She tends to be a great mother and becomes extremely protective of her babies. The babies will take time to grow, unlike other rabbit breeds. However, the baby Gotland rabbits require less food, but access to sufficient fresh water will be so important. 

Diet

Gotland rabbit is an herbivore. Its diet will consist of pellets, hay, and veggies. Hay is extremely important for the rabbit’s dental and digestive health. Grass hays like an orchard, timothy, and oat could be introduced in large quantities. However, keep in mind that alfalfa is rich in calories and must be provided infrequently. 

Fresh pellets must be available daily. Pick a pellet that is richer in fiber and avoid those mixes with other foods such as seeds, corn, and dried fruit. Fresh foods are a crucial part of your rabbit’s diet. Dark and leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, kale, spring greens, and spinach must make up around 75 percent of the fresh food provided to your pet every day with veggies such as cauliflower, broccoli, bell pepper, or summer squash for the remaining 25 percent. 

Starchy veggies and fruits must be limited in the diet but can make great rabbits. Be sure that the fresh foods are completely washed. Uneaten fresh foods must be taken out of the cage as they spoiled food items that will make your pet sick. Freshwater must be available at all times. Give it to the rabbit either through a sipper bottle or a shallow water bowl. 

Health

Due to its history, this breed of rabbit can hold genetic diversity. It can also keep its health in good condition. Therefore, the Gotland rabbit is susceptible only to a few genetic health problems. 

In general, this rabbit is hardy and rarely affected by any genetic diseases or defects. The key here is preventing your pet from getting stressed and keeping it away from abrupt changes in the temperature and drafts, which may reduce its body’s ability to combat infections. 

The Gotland Rabbit as a Pet

This rabbit is typically a curious and lively breed. It is often well-adapted and hardy to living outdoors across the year. The Gotland rabbit is extremely curious and interested in its environment. As a hardy breed, it rarely incurs diseases or disorders. 

Availability – Where to Get One?

The Gotland rabbit is considered an endangered species. Therefore, it is impossible to find even one for sale. You may look instead for adoption programs intended for Gotland rabbits. If these programs are available in your area, then find out first how you can register as a caretaker. If you got a chance to care for a Gotland rabbit, you would surely enjoy having this animal in your loving arms. 

Cost

In taking care of a Gotland rabbit, you also need to consider the other expenses. You must have a complete set of supplies for the animal. The rabbit will need a cage, a water dish, healthy food choices, and toys. Considering these items, you may end up spending more than $200 on all these items. Do your homework. Look for pet supply stores that offer good prices for these items. 

How to Care for a Gotland Rabbit

The Gotland rabbits are often well-adapted and hardy to live outdoors throughout the year if you keep them protected from harsh sunlight and drafts. Those people who breed Gotland rabbits aim to produce offspring that will consist of the natural kinds of feed, preferably high-quality hay that can be substituted with non-toxic plants like fresh grass during summer.

The ordinary rabbit pellets might be extremely rich in calories for the landrace rabbits. Therefore, they should be given in smaller quantities as occasional treats. Don’t make them staple food for your pets. Also, your pets should have instant access to freshwater for drinking. 

Feeding your pet with a natural diet helps ensure its long-term health and alertness. Look for quality hay and non-toxic plants plus fresh grasses which have been cultivated organically. You may also feed your Gotland rabbit with pellets designed for the rabbits. But do provide them to your rabbit occasionally, perhaps as a treat. Give them in small quantities as they may be high in calories, which is not good for the animal.

You may also provide your pet with fresh foods like dark and leafy green vegetables and starchy veggies plus fruits given as treats. Like other pet rabbits, you must provide your pet with fresh and clean water. When it comes to the enclosure, your pet’s housing must be big and comfortable. 

Your Gotland rabbit must be allowed to move around, stretch, and stand up while in the cage. However, the animal will benefit as well from exercising out of the cage. Interaction with humans will also be good for your pet. If you want to keep your pet out of the cage, just provide it with protection against the harsh sunlight, predators, and drafts. Overall, this breed has been adapted to live outdoors throughout the year. 

Housing

The Gotland rabbit is best kept indoors that will protect it from predators, extreme temperatures, and other external dangers. They must be allowed to exercise and wander, preferably where it can get fresh air and sunlight. Lawn enclosures, exercise pens, and extension hutches are suggested for secure outdoor exposure. 

When kept inside the cage, then it must be 5x the dimensions of the animal with more room for stretching and standing upright. Wire mesh flooring must be avoided as it can trigger injury and pain to your pet’s feet. A hide-away box must be available as a safe and noise-free place for resting and sleeping. Interesting items and baby toys must be offered for entertainment. Another choice is housing the rabbit in the puppy-pen or playpen. 

Most rabbits could be trained to use the litter box. The best litters are free toxic materials. They should be as that because rabbits might attempt to nibble on the litters and dust-free. Recycled pellets or paper litters, compressed wooden pellets, citrus-based litters, newspapers, aspen shavings, and hay. 

Avoid clumping litters while they clump in the digestive tract when eaten. Don’t use wood shavings from cedar or pine. Rabbits might be permitted to roam within the house for as long as the regions where they can freely explore are bunny-proofed for safety. Rabbits that can roam must have a hutch where they can go back to sleep and feel safe. 

Grooming

Grooming your Gotland rabbit includes brushing and trimming the fur, mat removal, and even debris removal. Also, grooming includes cleaning the areas around the eyes, ears, bottom side, and nail trimming. Keeping your pet well-groomed is one way of keeping it happier and healthier. 

Fun Facts 

Gotland rabbits are among the very few breeds that come in different colors. Some of them come in the combination of white and brown. Others are grey while some are brown and black. 

They originated in Sweden. Gotland rabbits are now considered endangered species. They are rare and so hard to find. 

Gotland rabbits are fun pets to have. They are energetic and curious, so expect them to run and hop from here to there whenever you take them out of the cage. 

Gotland rabbits are great pets because they love to be with humans. So, interacting with them will be a rewarding experience for both you and the rabbits.

FAQs

Are Gotland Rabbits classified as European rabbits?

Yes, Gotland rabbits are European rabbits. They originated in Sweden.

Do Gotland rabbits love being handled?

Gotland rabbits are loveable pets. They love to be with humans, and petting is one of the most enjoyable activities for them. 

Are Gotland rabbits aggressive?

Gotland rabbits are docile and friendly. Perhaps, they may become aggressive only during the breeding season. 

How long do Gotland rabbits live?

Gotland rabbits have a shorter lifespan compared to other rabbits. Many of them live for up to 9 years. 

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