We got our rabbits from a zoo, and they told us two things that ended up not being true at all. Firstly, they told us we were getting all girls. So we started with three and then they all started multiplying, so someone made a mistake somewhere along the way. We’ve separated them all out now, so all the girls are still here and all the boys found new homes across town. They also told us we were getting Flemish Giant Rabbits. That’s the third largest rabbit breed in the world and they get up to about 3 feet long. Our rabbits aren’t nearly there, so they’re not Flemish Giant Rabbits, they’re actually Rex Rabbits.
Rex Rabbits were bred out of the 1900’s in France specifically for their fur. They wanted to get it as close to plush or velvet as possible and they did a really good job, so these are very soft rabbits. The gene responsible for the texture of the fur is the rex gene, so that’s how they got their name.
They are a medium to large size rabbit breed, so sometimes the girls get what looks like a double chin on their neck. It’s called a dewlap, it’s just a flap of skin with fur around it. Only some of the girls get it, and they develop over time, so it doesn’t really have too much of a purpose, kind of just a good neck pillow.
Unfortunately rabbits don’t live too long. The trade-off there is how fast they can reproduce. In general, rabbits can have a litter every sixty days! They cycle every thirty, but take one off before having more. The Rex Rabbit lives about 7-8 years but has litters of 2-3 bunnies.
Rabbits are lagomorphs, not rodents. So they do not have the orange teeth that you see on the porcupines. They have a nice set of pearly whites in there. Lagomorphs are pretty much as close to a rodent as you can get without being one, so you can think of them as cousins to rodents on the family tree of life. It’s a very small group of animals, consisting of the rabbits, hares, and this little animal called a pika, but pretty much all lagomorphs look like some variation of a rabbit.
Rabbits eat a whole lot of grass and hay, and there’s not a lot of natural nutritional value in it. Their digestive tracks are also not set up to get too much out of their food, so they only get a very small percentage of their food’s caloric value. To make up for this, rabbits eat a lot… and they poop a lot. It only takes a rabbit about 5-6 hours for something to go through their entire system.