|Common Name:||Silver Marten|
|Scientific Name:||Oryctolagus cuniculus|
|Life Span:||5 to 8 years|
|Weight (Adult)||6.5 to 9 pounds|
|Habitat:||Human homes, fields, gardens, and farms|
|Country of Origin:||USA|
The Silver Marten is a domesticated rabbit breed that was developed to compete in shows and agricultural contests. This rabbit is also regarded as charming pets.
The Silver Marten is medium-sized and may weigh from 6.5 to 8.5 pounds when it reaches its adult size. This rabbit is described as a species with hardly any fur because its coat is soft with a lovely polished look. The Silver Marten is known as a timid and calm pet. It may also be playful and enjoys playing with its cage-mates and its owner.
There are four Silver Marten varieties: the Black Silver Marten, the Blue Silver Marten, Chocolate Silver Marten, and the Sable Silver Marten.
The Black is the most popular variety and comes in jet black color with the fur being black, and the color can be as far down the hair. It has silver markings that have defined shapes. This variety should have dark-brown eyes and a slate blue underside.
Blue is another popular Silver Marten breed, and the color must be dark blue all over. The eyes must be blue-gray with sharp markings. The Chocolate has a rich, dark –brown coat color and brown eyes. The rabbit’s belly has the same color but is lighter with darker pigments on the tip of the fur. Some breeders recommend avoiding too much sun when caring for Chocolate Silver Martens because their lovely brown fur color can fade over time.
Meanwhile, the Sable Silver Martene is the final variety of Silver Marten, which has been approved very recently. The rabbit must be medium-sepia along with the saddle. The ears, face, tail, lower legs, and outside the rabbit’s feet should be dark sepia or nearly black. This creates a distinct contrast to the body’s overall color. Colored rabbits should be silvery at birth, but as this age, their coat develops a blotchy appearance. The coat gradually becomes darker over time, and each molt reduces the contrast of the coat.
History of the Breed
The Silver Marten was used to improve a breed known as the Chinchilla. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy Conservation Priority List has tried to improve the Chinchilla’s color by using black and tan rabbit bloodlines. These dark genes manifested as sports and were also known as strange rabbits. These were similar to silver rabbits from standard Chinchilla litters. It became a success and was soon known as the Silver Marten in 1924.
The American Rabbit Breeders Association finally established a standard for the black and chocolate Silver Martens. After this, the first Silver Marten Club became chartered. The blue variety was registered in 1933, while the sable was the last to be approved in 1993.
The Silver Marten has a glossy flyback coat. It is soft with a shiny dark appearance on top and a silver color at the bottom. And even with this luxurious coat, the Silver Marten does not require much grooming to keep its fur looking perfect. It only needs bi-weekly grooming with a small brush or just use a damp towel. Increase grooming during the molting season to prevent wool blocks.
Silver Martens reproduce like a domesticated breed; it is forced breed in captivity to get a litter of Silver Martens. Rabbits can breed all year round and can start at 5 to 8 weeks old. To improve the success of breeding, the male is placed in an enclosure, and then after a few days, the female rabbit is introduced.
The two will perform the common rabbit behavior during the breeding season. The female will initially be unresponsive as she is new to the surroundings. The male sniffs her from head to tail, but the female will resist and will run around inside the cage. The male will try to catch and pin her. If she still resists, for about an hour or so, remove this inside the cage and re-introduce her after an hour or so.
The female will soon submit to the male and will show this by lying down on her side and by allowing the male to sniff and mount her. Mating happens very quickly, and you’ll know that it is done when the male leaves the female alone. The male may also thump his hind legs, which is a sign that he is happy and satisfied.
Remove the female from the cage and place this inside a separate cage where she can rest. The gestation period is 38 days long. The female will look for a good area to build a nest, and this means that she will give birth very soon. The female will also refuse to eat and drink and may look very anxious. This is the best time to place a birthing box. Fill this box with hay to make the kittens comfortable. The female may also use other materials to line her nest and her fur as well.
The female Silver Marten will soon give birth to three to five babies. A female can become pregnant three to four times a year. She will feed her babies and clean them right after birth, but soon, she will leave her nest. The babies are very small and are born blind, deaf, and naked. The mother will leave her vulnerable infants and covers her nest before she leaves.
Female rabbits are not too caring for her kittens. She will only come back every night to nurse them for only a few minutes. The babies will open their eyes in 5 to 7 days and then wean from their mother’s milk and eat food in their surroundings in 10 to 12 days.
Personality and Behavior
The Silver Marten is a rabbit that’s bred and cared for show. But it can also be a wonderful pet rabbit if it is socialized very early. Rabbits must be exposed to people, especially children, and other pets to develop a well-rounded personality. Silver Marten is naturally calm, friendly, and quiet. It has an active and well-rounded personality, which makes it a good pet for children and young adults.
You can train this rabbit to come to your command and to eat from your hand, but it may need time to completely follow the trick. The technique of training almost all rabbits is to gain their trust. This is a gradual process that can be enhanced using toys, treats, and food.
For rabbits like the Silver Marten, companionship is essential and will help improve its personality. Have at least three or more rabbits inside the cage. Take note that a well-rounded and healthy rabbit begins with companionship and training it receives from its owner.
The Silver Marten is comparable with the Standard Chinchilla Rabbit, which is also a medium-sized breed with a compact size. It can weigh up to 7 pounds and live up to 8 years. It is a rabbit for singles, indoor or outdoor cages, and also for seniors because of its docile, curious, and intelligent behavior and temperament.
Care of Silver Martens
Silver Marten is a unique rabbit breed. This is friendly, calm, and is easiest to take care of. Caring for this breed is like other rabbit breeds. You must make sure that your pet eats the right diet, stays and sleeps in a good enclosure, receives proper medical treatment, and lives with some companions.
An important part of a rabbit’s daily diet is hay and is usually considered the bulk of a rabbit’s diet. Your pet will also eat rabbit pellets, vegetables, and fruits. Place fresh water and hay inside the enclosure. Hay is rough and can help keep their digestive tracts regular.
You should provide safe food such as organic produce. Avoid food such as produce with pesticides, toxins, and herbicides. Younger rabbits may eat alfalfa hay because it’s rich in calcium for growing bones.
Captive-bred Silver Martens can become calm and friendly when you invest time and effort to train it well. A way to do it is to interact with your pet rabbit through play. Rabbits are social animals and thus will need companions aside from playing with their owners. Remember that rabbits that grow up having loving owners and constant companions are healthier, happier, and well-rounded rabbits.
Silver Martens are also meticulous groomers and will groom themselves thoroughly from head to toe. You must assist in grooming by brushing it twice a week but more during the molting season.
Silver Martens are very active in the daytime and sleep in the evenings. Feed your pet Silver Marten in the morning when they are most active. Captive rabbits can sleep 8 hours a day and may sleep together to keep themselves warm and safe.
Supplies and Cages
Young Silver Martens is very energetic and requires a big enclosure where these rabbits can play and run. This cage should be made of wire and a very strong frame. The floor of the enclosure should have soft bedding and lined with quality cage bedding. For the bedding, use hay, wood pellets, or horse bedding.
To maintain the cage, remove your pets and place them in a safe and clean container, box, or cage. Use a safe cleaner or cleaning product such as baking soda or lemon juice and never use household cleaners because these may have dangerous ingredients that can affect your pet’s health.
To take care of baby Silver Martens use a separate small cage. Baby Silver Marten rabbits are born naked, deaf, and blind. These must-have a warm enclosure to keep these warm. A smaller cage with a cage lamp or lighting is a good fit for a safe and warm enclosure for babies.
Silver Martens are known to be healthy but are not immune to common rabbit diseases. This is why baby rabbits should be vaccinated against common rabbit diseases as early as possible.
The vet will also perform tests to assess the overall health and development of your pet. Take note of ear or fur parasites with the most common are mites, fleas, and ticks. Rabbits with these parasites usually have poor hygiene and placed in dirty surroundings or cages.
Check your rabbit for signs of illness such as lack of appetite, nasal and eye discharges, loose stools, constipation, and vomiting. Watch out for an unsteady gait, restlessness, teeth grating, and sleeping for long periods because these may be a serious condition.
Another part of caring for rabbits is deworming. Use a pea-sized deworming paste and just put this in the rabbit’s mouth. It will lick and swallow the medication until it’s gone. Follow the dose according to your vet’s prescription.
A rabbit’s teeth will grow even in their adult life, and sometimes, their teeth can grow so long that it can pierce their mouth and gums. This can cause tremendous pain and discomfort. You must make sure that the rabbit’s teeth don’t overgrow to avoid stress. Help your rabbit by offering hay to grind the rabbit’s teeth naturally as it chews. Use pieces of wood, wooden baskets, or other toys to file the rabbit’s teeth.
Spaying or Neutering
Rabbits are promiscuous, and you must control this unwanted behavior by spaying or neutering them. Spaying and neutering must be done at a young age. However, some vets prefer to wait until the rabbits are six months old. Consult your vet for the ideal time to spay or neuter your pet rabbit.
Silver Martens have short furs depending on the color of the coat, but it will need regular grooming. Use a sturdy brush to keep the fur clean and shiny. Use a small brush and groom it at least once or twice a week.
Grooming must also be done more frequently during their molting period when the rabbit loses its old fur to make room for new fur to grow. And to prevent wool blocks, keep the rabbit from ingesting their own by grooming your pet.
If your rabbit is dirty, don’t ever give it a bath because this can severely stress. Use a damp towel to spot clean the dirt. You must also trim your rabbit’s nails and clean its ears.
Availability – Where to Get One
A Silver Marten may be purchased from a breeder or a retailer locally or online. The price will depend on whether you are getting a rabbit as a pet or for show. Also, expect the price to change according to the gender, size, coat quality, coat color, and appearance.
If you are searching for a good breeder, look for one that breeds healthy rabbits without any genetic disorders. Purchase Silver Martens only from reliable breeders. You can also find Silver Martens in farm events, trade shows, and in ARBA-sponsored shows.
How to Care for a Silver Marten
This is how to care for a Silver Marten breed. Caring for this breed is just like caring for other rabbits. Remember the four basic components: a correct diet, housing, companionship, and vet care, and you ‘re all set to care for your own Silver Marten.
Captive-bred rabbits like the Silver Marten can become a calm, friendly, and docile pet when you take time to train and bond with it. You must train and interact with your pet daily. Captive rabbits are also social animals and will need a companion or companions.
Also, don’t forget to take your pet to the vet as early as possible because it needs vaccinations and tests done. Your rabbit must be healthy before it is allowed to play and socialize with other rabbits and pets. You must also understand the different signs of illness so you can take your pet to the vet for immediate care.
Will Silver Martens eat their droppings?
Yes, like all rabbit breeds, the Silver Marten will eat its droppings because these still have nutrients in them. But after eating this once, it won’t be eaten the second time.
Can you keep two or more Silver Martens inside one cage?
You can keep two or more Silver Martens in one cage as long as you have a large cage to keep all your pets in. The cage must be large, comfortable, and safe so your rabbits can remain safe and comfortable even in captivity.
How do you take care of baby Silver Martens?
If you want to care for baby Silver Martens, put the babies in a comfortable and warm cage. Feed this soft, pureed food, and keep them safe and warm. Protect from predators.
Can you leave a Silver Martens indoors or in your home?
You may let a rabbit-like the Silver Marten indoors but only under your constant supervision. Use a portable fence to keep it off areas that you don’t want it to enter. You must rabbit-proof your home before allowing your rabbit out of its cage.
Will a mother Silver Marten eat its young?
There are rabbit breeds that can eat their young. And if you spot a female eating her young, remove it from her babies and don’t allow it to breed.
Do Silver Martens have good hearing?
The Silver Marten rabbit has large ears and has good hearing. It can hear its predators even from far away, and this gives it time to escape the threat.
Can rabbits see well in the dark?
Yes, rabbits have good vision even at night. This is why some rabbits prefer to forage for food at nighttime. Rabbits like the Silver Marten also have a good sense of smell and hearing, which also allows them to feel for predators near their area.
How large should a Silver Marten’s cage be?
A Silver Marten may be placed in a very large enclosure because it is active and will love to run and play inside its cage. For two large rabbits, you must double this area. Don’t overlook the cage size and always make sure that your rabbits have adequate space and consider the number of rabbits inside the enclosure.
How often does your pet rabbit should visit the vet?
Rabbits should visit the vet at least twice a year. Young rabbits should be vaccinated against diseases as early as possible and must have an initial visit to a vet when they are just a few days or weeks old.
Can rabbit diseases affect humans?
Some rabbit diseases will only affect rabbits, while some are fatal to humans. If your rabbit is sick, take it to the vet ASAP. You must also learn different signs of illnesses. Take your pet to the vet as soon as you notice any of these.
Can pet rabbits be patient with young children?
Some rabbits don’t want to be held most, especially by young children. Meanwhile, some rabbits are naturally calm, docile, and friendly and won’t mind being held and petted even by young children.
Will your pet rabbit survive the cold?
Some pet rabbits can survive the cold and will even find it fun to play even in the snow. Some rabbits may also change their fur color to adapt to the climate while some rabbits may not survive the cold, such as desert rabbits breeds.
Are all rabbits cannibals?
Eating their young are observed in some female rabbits, and breeders say that this happens because the female is hungry or thirsty after she has given birth. Female rabbits may also do this in the wild to remove any traces of tissue, blood, and smell in the nest to protect kittens when one of the babies is stillborn.
How many rabbits can you keep as a pet?
You can keep three or more rabbits as a pet as long as you have a large cage to keep these happy and contented. Keeping only one rabbit will only make it lonely.