Rex rabbits are ideal as pets, as they are hardy and intelligent. The name is derived from the Rex gene, which is responsible for its straight hair that grows perpendicular to the body, and curly whiskers and eyebrows. The emergence of this breed was a result of the recessive mutation of the Rex gene.
These rabbits come in standard and mini versions. They are medium-sized rabbits that are very popular as pets. Rex rabbits are also raised for their meat and fur. However, the practice is not common; as they are smaller, as compared to certain other rabbit breeds. They are also frequently seen as show rabbits.
Standard Rex rabbits are medium-sized, with a body weight of around seven to eleven pounds. The females are found to be on higher side, as far as the body weight is concerned. In case of mini versions, the body weight is around four to six pounds. Rex rabbits have round bodies with broad heads, and erect and short ears. Females may also have a skin flap under their chin, and this is called dewlap.
The fur of this rabbit is dense, with the hair growing at right angle to the body surface. In other words, the hair grows straight, instead of lying flat. Even the guard hair is short, and have the same length of the undercoat. Rex rabbit fur can have a length that ranges between 1.3 to 2 centimeters.
They are also found in different fur colors. You may even find albino versions. In the U.S., the recognized standard Rex rabbit colors are Californian, black, opal, otters (in 4 different colors), ruby-eyed white, red, chinchilla, blue, broken, castor, chocolate, lilac, lynx, sable, and seal. Even mini versions are available in different fur colors.
Personality and Temperament
One of the factors behind the popularity of Rex rabbits as pets, is its friendly nature. Even though, personality and temperament are based on genetics to a certain degree and the extent of socialization of the animal; in general, it can be said that, these rabbits gel well with humans and other pets. Rex rabbits have a motherly nature, and are often found to be used as foster mothers for raising young ones of other rabbits. Their activity level can be rated as low to moderate.
These rabbits rest during the daytime, and get active in the evening and early morning hours. They are playful, and are also easy to handle. They like holding, cuddling and patting too. It is said that, they are the most intelligent among the different rabbit breeds. They can also be potty trained with much ease. They are so gentle in nature, that Rex rabbits are considered as ideal pets for families with kids.
However, make sure that the kids know about proper handling of these animals. They can also be nippy at times. Males may get aggressive, as they get sexually mature. So they are sterilized before five months of age.
Rex Rabbit Care
Housing and feeding are among the most important aspects of Rex rabbit care. As far as housing is concerned, Rex rabbits can be kept indoors or outdoors. If you opt for outdoor housing; then, make sure that the rabbits are not subjected to extreme heat or cold. Avoid placing the hutch in locations with direct sunlight.
Outdoor hutches are mostly made of timber or metal with mesh enclosures. If the floor is made of wire mesh, cover it with soft straw, so as to prevent their bald feet from developing cracks. You must make sure to provide an insect screen, so that mosquitoes and rabbit fleas do not enter the hutch. These insects may cause a disease called myxomatosis in rabbits. The hutch must be located in such an area, which is not prone to attack from other animals.
An ideal rabbit hutch must have a minimum 120 x 60 x 50 cm space per rabbit. Even the wire mesh must have a thickness of 25 x 25 mm, so that the rabbits cannot chew and cut the mesh. The hutch must be properly ventilated with thermostat fans. Once a week, the hutch must be cleaned thoroughly.
A diet of timothy hay and commercial rabbit food is sufficient for these rabbits. You may also feed adult Rex rabbits with alfalfa (lucerne) hay occasionally. Even fresh green leafy vegetables can be included in their diet; but, make sure to introduce new foods gradually. You may also feed them with small amounts of vegetables, like corn, cauliflower and carrots; once in a week or fortnight.
However, avoid cabbage and lettuce. In case of commercial rabbit pellets, ¼ cup a day is said to be sufficient for a rabbit, for every two kilograms of its body weight. Soft watery foods have to be provided to the kits that are below the age of five months. Hay has to be provided daily, along with a regular supply of fresh water.
In short, Rex rabbits are excellent pets with a lifespan of five to six years. Proper care, including a balanced diet, good hygiene and an ideal housing may help you in raising healthy Rex rabbits. If you are interested in raising them as pets, it will be better to have a thorough knowledge about their requirements. Approach authentic breeders for buying this rabbit.