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Rex Rabbit Care Sheet

Rex Rabbit Care Sheet

Scientific Facts

Common Name: Rex rabbit
Scientific Name: Oryctolagus cuniculus
Life Span: 5 to 6 years
Size (Adult): Large
Weight (Adult) 7.5 to 10.5 pounds
Habitat: Human homes, gardens, fields, and farms
Body Shape: Commercial
Country of Origin: France

Physical Description

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The Rex rabbit is not just one breed of rabbit. The name refers to one of the nine breeds of rabbits which are domesticated The Rex is recognized by the ARBA or American Rabbit Breeders Association but is not recognized by the BRC or British Rabbit Council.

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What Are The Different Types of Rabbits? video

The Rex rabbit recognized by the ARBA is a medium-sized rabbit with a commercial body type and can weigh from 7.5 to 10.5 pounds. This rabbit has a slightly larger head compared to other rabbits. It has large upright ears and smaller feet. The female has a dewlap, which is a flap of skin found under the rabbit’s chin.

Many genes contribute to the development of the standard Rex. The standards or definition of the breed is being maintained by the ARBA, and this is based on the rabbit’s phenotype. The external appearance that identifies a Rex rabbit includes its weight, color, coat texture, and the length of the fur. Of these, rabbit fanciers and groups involved in the fur industry regard coat properties as the most important of all.

The Rex rabbit is not a very active breed, but when provoked, it can be energetic and may even jump as high as three or more feet.

Coat, colors, and breeds

The term rex with a small letter r refers to the rabbit’s rexed fur. This coat is the result of a genetic mutation that is now prized among Rex rabbit varieties. Rex fur does not have the long guard hairs, which are common in short-haired rabbit breeds. Each strand of hair is short, and hence, the coat is thick and dense to touch. This kind of fur is also referred to as a plush fur or a velvety kind of fur which is loved by many fur lovers.

There are three varieties of plush rex fur: standard, short curly like the Astrex, and long and curly. There are 16 colors of the Rex rabbit recognized by the ARBA, while the BRC recognizes 32 colors. 

There are nine Rex rabbit breeds recognized by experts: the Astrex, Canadian Plush Lop, Mini Rex (USA), Miniature Rex (UK), Opossum, Plush Lop (miniature), Plush Lop (standard), Rex (US) and the Velveteen Lop.

History of the Breed

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The Rex rabbit breed started in France, in the quaint village of Louche’-Pringe in 1919. Local breeders were impressed with the fur of a litter of wild gray rabbits and thus developed a new breed from it. These lovely gray rabbits were selectively bred to a domesticated rabbit breed. In 1924, the new breed was presented in an international show in Paris. Breeders from the show were very interested in the new rabbits, and this was because these had the recessive rex gene.

In the same year, the breed was presented to the ARBA by John C. Fehr and Alfred Zimmerman, who were both American rabbit breeders. The Rex rabbit was accepted in different parts of Europe in 1925.

Fast Facts

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The Rex breed is known as one of the plushiest rabbit breeds, but despite its soft, velvety fur, this rabbit is very easy to groom. It even requires less grooming compared to other long-haired rabbit breeds. Over-Grooming can even damage its fur. All that breeders and pet owners have to do is to use a damp towel to clean the cloth and use a  soft brush at least twice a week.

Reproduction

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Rex rabbits reproduce like any other rabbit breeds. Since this breed is a domesticated breed, it is forced to breed in captivity to get baby Rex rabbits. Rabbits can breed all year round, and usually, breeding starts as early as 5 to 8 weeks.

First, the male is placed in an enclosure, and then after a few days, the female is introduced. Experts say that doing so can increase the chances of breeding and bearing an offspring. As with most breeds, the Rex female will initially remain still as the male sniffs her from head to tail. She might resist, escape, and run inside the cage. The male will try to catch her and pin her. If she persists, for about an hour or so, remove her. Re-introduce the doe after an hour.

The female will soon give in to the male’s advances, and she will show this by lying down on her side and by allowing the male to sniff and mount her. Mating happens quickly, and then you’ll know that it is successful when the male leaves the female alone.

Remove the female from the cage and placed inside a separate cage where she can rest. The rabbit gestation period is usually around 38 days long. When you see the female looking for a suitable area to build a nest, this means that she will give birth soon. The female will also refuse to eat and drink and may not be interested in socializing. This is the best time to offer a birthing box with soft hay. The female may also use other materials like her fur to line her nest and keep it warm and comfortable.

The female will give birth to three to five babies. Usually, a female can become pregnant three to four times a year. She will also nurse her babies and clean them up but will soon leave her nest. Rex babies are born blind, deaf, and naked and are very vulnerable to predators.

The mother will cover her nest before she leaves and will only come back every night to nurse them for only a few minutes. The baby rabbits will open their eyes from 5 to 7 days and then wean from their mother from 10 to 12 days.

Personality and Behavior

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Rex rabbits are docile and won’t mind being picked up and petted, especially by their owners. Similar to other domesticated rabbits, this will become attached to its owner and his family but may also be unafraid of strangers who pick them up and treat them with care.

This is a patient breed and can be petted and played with by children. These won’t become aggressive and will remain friendly with other rabbits, pets, and people. It is a good breed for people who live in apartments and small homes because it’s not too energetic.

Comparable Breeds

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The Rex rabbit breed is comparable with the Mini Rex, a small or miniature rabbit breed with compact body shape and size. This small rabbit will weigh only 3.5 to 4.5 pounds and can live up to 10 years. It is calm, docile, and friendly rabbits. They also have a curious nature and will be appropriate for people who live in small spaces like apartments.

Care of Rex rabbits

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Caring for a Rex rabbit is the same as caring for other breeds. The basic points of caring for a rabbit include the correct diet, housing, proper medical treatment, and companionship.

A very important part of a rabbit’s diet is hay. This is the bulk of its diet aside from commercially-prepared pellets, which has vitamins and minerals for your rabbit’s health. Give your rabbit vegetables and fruits for a healthy, well-rounded diet.

Don’t forget to provide unlimited fresh water inside the enclosure. You may also use an inverted water bottle with a spout at the end so water won’t spill as your rabbit moves inside its cage. Hay is needed because this is an important part of a rabbit’s diet. It’s rough and can help keep their digestive systems regular.

Your rabbit should be eating the right kind and the safest kind of food. Avoid foods with pesticides, toxins, and herbicides; feed it organic fruits and vegetables. Younger rabbits should be fed alfalfa hay because it’s rich in calcium, which is important for growing bones. On the other hand, adult Rex rabbits should eat legume hay.

Captive-bred Rex rabbits are naturally calm and docile and can become friendly pets if you invest time and effort to train them. One way to do train your rabbit is to constantly interact with it. You must also consider that rabbits are social animals and will need companions. Rabbits that grow up with constant companions and regular interactions with their owners are happier, healthier, and well-rounded individuals. 

Rex rabbits are just like most domesticated rabbits that they are meticulous when it comes to grooming. This behavior is a way to bond with other individuals inside its enclosure. Mother rabbits also groom her kits when she is still in her nest, but this won’t last because she will leave the nest as soon as she delivers her litter. She will return to the nest only in the evening to nurse her babies for a short time.

Rex rabbits are active in the daytime and sleep in the evenings. Captive rabbits will also sleep 8 hours a day, and may sleep together to keep themselves warm.

Supplies and Cages

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Captive Rex rabbits are very energetic, and therefore, it needs a big cage where it can play, sleep, interact, and run. A rabbit’s cage should be made of wire and must have a very strong frame. The bottom of the cage should be removable, and this is where the rabbit’s droppings will fall. The removable pan makes it easier to dispose of the poop. The floor must have a soft lining with good quality cage bedding.

Install a rabbit hay feeder on the side of the enclosure. Fill this with hay so your rabbit can eat when it is hungry or when it’s boring. For the bedding, use hay, wood pellets, or horse bedding.

With this design, cleaning the cage is going to be easy. First, remove your pets and place them in a safe and clean container or cage. Use a safe cleaner or cleaning product such as white vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice. Never use household cleaners because these may contain dangerous ingredients that can affect your pet’s health.

Use a separate or extra cage if you want to take care of baby Rex rabbits. Baby Rex rabbits are born naked, deaf, and blind, and therefore, these should have a warm enclosure to keep their bodies at the best temperatures. A smaller cage with a cage lamp or lighting will suffice to keep the kits dry, warm, and safe from predators.

And like other breeds, Rex rabbits love chewing on anything around him. If these rabbits are kept indoors, these will chew on anything made of wood and other light materials. Rabbits may also chew on electrical wiring, and this can lead to electrocution! So, to avoid accidents, provide hay or chew toys inside their cage. And if you plan to set your pets free inside your home or even your yard, rabbit-proof everything first.

Health Concerns

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A Rex rabbit is a healthy breed and is not usually affected by any particular disease. You can thank extensive breeding as a show rabbit for this characteristic. Just like other domesticated rabbits, the most common condition that the Tan may be affected with is pests such as mites, ticks, and fleas. These are usually found in their environment, such as a garden, field, yard, or inside their outdoor enclosure. Parasites can be found on the rabbit’s fur, ears, feet, and tail, which is similar to dogs and cats. Your vet can help remove these parasites using safe flea or tick-removal products.

Meanwhile, Rex rabbits are not safe from common rabbit diseases. This is why you must monitor your rabbit’s health and temperament. Any change could be due to an illness, so as early as your pet opens its eyes and gets out of its nest to wean from its mother, then take it to the vet for vaccinations and tests.

The vet may recommend tests to assess the overall health and development of your rabbit. Take note that small and younger rabbits have sensitive digestive systems and could be prone to enteritis, bloat, and stasis. Usually, rabbits that are less than two months of age are affected by these conditions.

Always check your rabbit for any signs of illness like poor appetite, nasal and eye discharges, constipation, loose stools, and vomiting. Be wary of an unsteady gait, restlessness, teeth grating, and sleeping for extended periods because these may be due to a serious condition.

Another very important part of caring for pet rabbits is deworming. Your Rex must be treated for worms at least once or twice a year and must be done during springtime and fall. Don’t overlook this because this is a major concern, especially with rabbits that are from wild parents.

All rabbit breeds should be dewormed as soon as these get home or as young as they are weaned from their mothers. Use a pea-sized deworming paste and just place this in the rabbit’s mouth. This is better than a deworming tablet or pill, and the rabbit will simply lick and swallow the medication until it’s consumed. You should follow the dose according to your vet’s prescription.

Dental Care

A rabbit’s teeth will grow continuously, and sometimes, these can grow to extreme lengths that can pierce their mouth and gums. This causes pain and discomfort. As an owner, be sure that the rabbit’s teeth don’t overgrow to avoid causing too much pain and stress.

Help by offering hay because this can grind the rabbit’s teeth in the ideal size and length as it chews. You may also leave pieces of wood, baskets, or other toys and accessories inside the cage to file its teeth. You must monitor your rabbit’s dental health to save on expensive dental bills.

Spaying or Neutering

All rabbits are very promiscuous, and so, you must control your pets by spaying or neutering them. Spaying and neutering should be done at a young age, but some vets prefer to wait until the rabbits are six months old. Rex bucks are also neutered very young because this can reduce aggression. Some vets will neuter bucks at three months, which might be too early because the male rabbit may not be ready to mate yet. And if you have questions about spaying and neutering, consult your vet.

Grooming

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Rex rabbits have short furs and different colors for their coat. But no matter what coat your rabbit has, it needs regular grooming. Use a sturdy brush to keep the rabbit fur clean, shiny, and free from pests. Groom the fur with a small brush once or twice a week.

Brushing must be done frequently during the molting period, which is a time when the rabbit sheds its old fur to make room for new fur. Prevent wool blocks and keep the rabbit from ingesting fur by grooming your pet.

If your rabbit is dirty, never bath it because this causes stress. Instead, use a damp towel to spot clean your pet. Wipe the rabbit down with the towel and use a dry one to finish. Also, don’t forget to trim your rabbit’s nails regularly and check its mouth for overgrown teeth. Its large ears also need cleaning.

Availability – Where to Get One?

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A Rex rabbit is available from a breeder or a retailer. The price will vary whether you are getting a rabbit as a pet or for show. The price of a Rex rabbit will vary depending on gender, size, coat quality, coat color, and appearance.

You need a reliable breeder, so look for one that breeds healthy Rex rabbits with no genetic disorders. Buy your Rex rabbits from reliable breeders. Another way to find Rex rabbits is at local trade fairs and farm events. There are also pet shows and contests sponsored by ARBA and are mostly conducted in key cities.

How to Care for a Rex rabbit

This is a summary of how to care for a Rex rabbit breed. Looking after a Rex is just like caring for other rabbits. Remember the four components of care: a correct diet, housing, companionship, and vet or medical care.

Start with the rabbit’s correct diet, the main food of captive-bred rabbits is hay. It must be at least 70 to 80% of your pet’s diet. Hay will grind their growing teeth, keep their digestive system healthy, and maintain regular bowel movements. Provide rabbit pellets because this contains added nutrients, vegetables, and fruits for a well-rounded diet.

Keep water and hay inside the rabbit’s cage. Water should be in a large, heavy, and shallow dish so that your rabbit can drink from it without spilling.

Captive-bred rabbits such as the Rex can only become a friendly and good-natured pet when you take time to train with it. You must train and interact with your pet daily and must provide rabbit companions as well.

Don’t forget to take your pet to the vet because it needs vaccinations, tests and must have a clean bill of health before it is allowed to be with other rabbits, pets, and its owner and his family. You must also get to know the different signs of illness in rabbits so you’ll know when to take it to the vet.

FAQs

Should you just get a wild rabbit from the forest?

Don’t just get a wild animal like a rabbit from the forest. You will never be able to tame it, and you make it your pet because it will still be wild. Therefore, if you see an injured rabbit, call animal services right away.

Are Rex rabbits endangered rabbit species?

No, Rex rabbits are not endangered and in fact, are domesticated rabbits and hence are only available from local and international breeders as in pet shops and in human homes as pets.

Can Rex rabbits eat fruits and vegetables?

Rex rabbits can eat fruits and vegetables, and you may also feed your Rex rabbits pellets or rabbit food, which contain nutrients for good health.

What do Rex rabbits usually eat?

Rex rabbits are herbivorous animals, and it will eat only plants. These will eat all the parts of the plant, such as the roots, bark, seeds, flowers, weeds, and leaves. It can also eat commercially-made rabbit pellets, vegetables, and fruits.

Will Rex rabbits eat their poop?

Yes, like all breeds, the Rex will consume its poop because these know that this still has nutrients in them. After eating their poop once, they won’t do it the second time. Almost all rabbits do this, and you can prevent this by removing their droppings as you see them.

Can you keep a Rex rabbit as a pet?

Yes, you can keep the Rex rabbit as a pet because it is sweet, calm, and docile. This is also a good pet for families and also those with children, but don’t forget that Rex rabbits are very active, so it’s not for seniors and very young children.

Can Rex rabbits swim?

Yes, Rex rabbits may be able to swim like other rabbit breeds but will not swim as good as other animals that are used to the water. However, most rabbits are not happy about water and will not like a bath since this is stressful for them.

How do you tame a wild rabbit?

A wild rabbit will not be tamed because it can bite you and get you hurt. You may train a captive-bred rabbit because most of these rabbits are docile and friendlier compared to wild rabbits.

Are Rex rabbits carnivorous?

No, these rabbits are not carnivorous and are herbivores, which means that these won’t eat meat. This rabbit will consume plants or plant parts like roots, bark, leaves, flowers, twigs, stems, seeds, and many more.

Can you keep two or more Rex rabbits in a cage?

You can keep two or more rabbits in a single cage as long as you have a large cage for all your pets. The cage should be large and safe so that your rabbits can remain secure and comfortable in captivity.

How do you take care of baby rabbits?

If you want to take care of baby Rexes, put the babies in a comfortable and warm cage. Give your baby rabbits soft, pureed food, and keep these warm and safe. You must also protect from predators like your house cat or pet dog. If you find wild-caught rabbits, don’t take them and immediately call animal services to have these rescued right away.

Do you take in abandoned baby rabbits?

If wild baby rabbits are abandoned in their nests, call animal service to care for them. You must never get a wild baby rabbit from the wild to take care of as pets.

Can rabbits live in a cold climate?

Yes, rabbits will be able to live in the cold and survive by looking for food under the snow. Rabbits will dig out snow using their legs and eat roots, shrubs, berries, and other food that they find.

Can you leave a Rex rabbit in your home?

You may let a rabbit stay indoors but only under constant supervision. Use a portable fence to keep it from areas that you don’t want it to go. Rabbit-proof your home before you let your pet out of their cages.

Are Rex rabbits territorial?

Experts say that rabbits like the Rex can show territorial behaviors when kept in small enclosures. Males can develop aggressive behavior and become dangerous to other males during the breeding season. The aggressive males can hurt other males in the cage to secure hierarchy.

Do you need to use a heater in a Rex rabbit’s cage?

Rather than a heater, you may use a cage lamp to provide heat inside the cage. But in places where there is a cold climate, you must use a small portable heater and put this near the cage to warm up the cage and create a comfortable place for your pets.

How do you clean and maintain a Rex rabbit’s cage?

Before you start cleaning, remove the rabbit inside the cage and place it inside another clean cage. Remove the pan under the cage and clean it. Hose the cage and use a brush and cleaning product to clean the cage walls, bottom, accessories, and any rabbit toys. Replace the cage bedding and ensure that everything is dry before putting your pet inside its cage.

Where do Rex rabbits live?

Rex rabbits are not seen in the wild because these are domesticated rabbits. Rex rabbits are in human areas and commercial areas. You’ll find these in homes as pets, in breeding kennels, pet stores, and in farms. Rex rabbits live in cages with companions instead of living alone.

Will a mother Rex rabbit eat her babies?

Some rabbits can eat their young. And if you see a female Rex rabbit eating her young, take it from the litter or nest and never let it breed anymore.

Where do you place a Rex rabbit’s cage?

Whether you place the cage indoors or outdoors may depend on your overall preference. You may place the cage indoors to protect it from the elements; however, your pet will have a limited space to play and may not be large enough to accommodate an adult Rex rabbit. But when you place the cage outdoors, the rabbits may need to deal with the cold, but at least they will have a large area to move.

Does it hurt when a Rex rabbit scratches you?

Yes, it will hurt because Rex rabbits have sharp claws, especially on its hind feet. The rabbit can kick hard with its hind feet, which can cause damage. A rabbit will only do this when it feels threatened, so if you handle it safely, then it will not scratch or hurt you.

Can Rex rabbits escape their cage?

Yes, Rex rabbits can escape by kicking their cages down or by destroying the cage altogether. These can also jump over and escape, so it’s best to construct a taller cage for this large rabbit.

Can you prevent a Rex rabbit from eating his poop?

You can prevent a Rex rabbit from eating his poop by removing the droppings right after these defecate, but you can’t watch your pets all day just to check if it has pooped, right? So, no matter what, these animals will still eat their droppings because they know that this still has nutrients.

What happens when the teeth of a rabbit become longer?

When the teeth become longer, this can pierce the gums and injure its mouth. and this can cause a lot of pain and may also ruin its appetite. This is the main reason why you must take your rabbit to the dentist and the vet regularly. You can help your rabbit by feeding it hay since this can grind teeth short as it chews.

How often do you take your pet to the vet?

Rabbits should visit the vet at least two times a year. Baby rabbits should be vaccinated against diseases as early as they can open their eyes. These must also have an initial visit to a vet when they are just a few days or weeks old.

Can diseases of rabbits affect humans?

Some rabbit diseases can affect only rabbits, while some are dangerous to people. If you have a sick rabbit, take it to the vet as soon as possible. You must learn the different signs of illnesses such as poor appetite, loose stools, constipation, sneezing, problems with breathing, and changes in the rabbit’s behavior.

How large should a Rex rabbit’s enclosure be?

A Rex rabbit must be placed in a large enclosure because of the cat’s size. For two Rex rabbits, double the size of your enclosure. You should never overlook the size and always make sure that your rabbits have enough area to play and run. Always consider the number of rabbits that will be placed inside the cage.

Are Rex rabbits bite dangerous to humans?

Rex rabbit bites are dangerous because the rabbit may have rabies. The teeth may be huge, and this can tear off skin and flesh, which can lead to a deep and infected wound.

Do Rex rabbits have good hearing?

The Rex rabbit is like other rabbits that it has good hearing. It can hear its predators even from far away, and this will give it time to escape the threat.

Can rabbits see in the dark?

Rabbits have good vision, especially at night. This is why some species like to forage for food even at night. Rabbits such as the Rex rabbit may have good smell and hearing as well, which allows them to “feel” for predators near their area.

Can you train your rabbit to walk wearing a collar and leash?

Some pet owners can train their pet rabbits to wear a collar and a leash. However, some say that this is not true for all rabbits and may depend on what breed you are training.

How old do you spay or neuter a rabbit?

The age of spaying or neutering rabbits will depend on the vet. Some bucks are neutered at 3 months, while some will wait till these are 5 to 6 months.

How many rabbits can you take in as a pet?

It does not matter how many rabbits you take in as long as you have a large cage to keep your cats comfortable and healthy. Keeping one rabbit will make it lonely, and loneliness will only make the rabbit stressed and sick.

Will Rex rabbits know their owners?

Some owners say that their pets can recognize them. Rabbits can tell if they are being handled by their owners or by a stranger and may become skittish when handled by other people.

Where do rabbits sleep when in the wild?

In the wild, rabbits will sleep in holes or burrows, which are called warrens. Rabbits can dig holes as deep as several inches and will stay inside all day. But in captivity, these are forced to live in an enclosure that can accommodate several individuals, but this enclosure is safe and secure from predators.

Can pet rabbits tolerate very young children?

Some rabbits do not want to be held by young children because children may drop them. However, some rabbits are calm, docile, and friendly and may be held and petted by young children.

Will a rabbit tolerate the cold?

Some rabbits can survive the cold and will even love to play in the snow. Meanwhile, some rabbits can change their coat color to adapt to the winter while some may not survive the cold, such as the desert rabbits breeds.

Can you put the enclosure of Rex rabbits near other breeds?

Yes, you can place the cage of a Rex near the cage of another rabbit, and you have nothing to worry about because this breed is very friendly, docile, and calm.

Can Rex rabbits stay outdoors?

A pet Rex rabbit may be allowed to remain outdoors, but just like allowing your pet indoors, you must rabbit-proof your yard or outdoor area before letting them out. A perimeter fencing is a safe way to limit the area where your pets can remain free. Secure the fence poles to prevent the rabbit from digging it out and escaping.

Are all female rabbits cannibals?

The practice of eating their young can be observed in some female rabbits, and experts say that this happens when the female is hungry or thirsty after giving birth. There is no food or fluids inside the cage. Some experts also say that rabbits do this in the wild to remove traces of tissue, blood, and smell of stillborn kittens in the nest and to surviving kittens in the nest.

Will rabbits eat insects?

Rabbits will not eat insects. This will eat only plant and plant parts, rabbit pellets, fruits, and vegetables.

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