Rabbits make great pets. They’re smart, clean, and they will even come to you when you call their name. The Rex rabbit, in particular, is a popular choice for a pet due to its soft coat that is a result of the rex mutation found in this breed.
Many people get a domesticated rabbit without fully understanding how to care for them. They are similar to cats and dogs in some ways, but owning a rabbit requires a different type of care. Asking the right questions before you purchase a Rex rabbit ensures you will have the best experience and relationship with your pet.
Knowing what food they eat, how often they shed, and how high they can jump will help you make your domestic rabbit as comfortable and safe in your home as possible. If you are considering getting a Rex rabbit as a pet, here the answers to some common questions about them.
How Big Can a Rex Rabbit Get?
A fully developed adult Rex weighs between 7.5 and 10.5 pounds and is considered a medium-sized rabbit. The head of the Rex is a bit more broad than other breeds and its feet are somewhat smaller in proportion to its body. The Rex’s ears are upright and proportional to their bodies. When standing on their hind legs, a Rex rabbit can be as tall as three feet. The female Rex is called a doe and it is distinguishable by the large flap of skin found under the chin. A Mini Rex is a smaller version weighing between three and five pounds
Rex Rabbit Colors
The American Rabbit Breeders Association officially recognizes 16 different color varieties in the Rex rabbit. While they can be a single solid color, spots and shades of color are not uncommon.
The 16 colors recognized by the ARBA are:
Do Rex Rabbits Make Good Pets?
A rex rabbit is one of nine breeds of domestic rabbit. A Rex rabbit, (with a capital R) is also the name of one of the nine breeds that are officially recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
The Rex, in particular, is one smart rabbit. They respond to their name and know who their owner is, or at least who feeds them. Because they are so familiar with their owners and regular handlers, they can be a bit timid around strangers. They like comforting smells and environments, so once they have adapted to their new home, are fed well, and get enough exercise, they truly make great house pets.
While they do make good pets and are fully domesticated animals bred to be raised as pets, they aren’t dogs and cats. They are not trainable in the same way, but they can learn to respond to a few simple verbal cues.
If you have the space to let your rabbit roam free-range for up to three hours a day, then you will likely have a happy rabbit. If you don’t have the space outside in a fenced backyard, giving your rabbit unrestricted range inside the home will allow them to get proper exercise.
Rex rabbits are social animals so they love being around other rabbits and people. Every rabbit has a unique personality, so some may not be as open to cuddling as others, but they are gentle and affectionate creatures that make for great pets, as long as you know how to care for them.
In addition to being cuddly, Rex rabbits can also be quite playful making them a good choice of house pet for children. The fur of this type of rabbit, due to the rex mutations, causes them to grow the same length all over its body instead of the layers found in other breeds. This gives the Rex’s fur a very plush feel that is fun to pet.
How Long Do Rex Rabbits Live for?
A Rex rabbit that is well cared for in a safe environment may live for a decade or more, but the average life expectancy is five to six years. A Mini Rex has a life expectancy that is half that of the larger breeds but neutering your pet will add several years to their life span.
To make sure a Rex has a long and happy life, it should be spayed or neutered and fed and exercised properly. Annual visits to the vet are also needed to ensure good health for your Rex rabbit. You’ll want to find a veterinary clinic or animal hospital that has experience with exotics. If your rabbit appears listless and refuses to eat, does not urinate or defecate, then you should take it into the vet right away.
Here are a few additional signs that your rabbit may be sick.
- Loss of fur
- Dark red urine
- Loose stools
- Runny eyes and nose
Keeping a close eye on your Rex rabbit’s health will help it live a long and happy life in your home.
How Much is a Rex Rabbit?
The price of a Rex rabbit will vary depending on demand, what part of the country you live in, and who you buy it from. A private breeder may sell bunnies for between 10 and 15 dollars, while a pet shop may sell the same breed for around $50. Some breeders may price their bunnies higher to ensure that the owners are really committed to taking care of them. Other breeders may sell bunnies cheap just to get rid of them.
If you are purchasing a purebred Rex from a breeder you should get a copy of their pedigree with their parental lineage. A certificate of health may also be included in the paperwork.
Are Rex Rabbits Aggressive?
Rex rabbits respond to their own names which endear them to their owners. A Rex will also come when called, respond to a few simple verbal commands, and sit in your lap while they are petted. They are generally very docile creatures, but many new rabbit owners are surprised to discover that they can also be pretty aggressive at times. This is their way of communicating their displeasure with something and once the situation is remedied they return to their gentle state.
When a rabbit is being aggressive it may be a sign that it’s time to neuter or spay the animal. This usually occurs when they are about four months old. Rabbits that bite, scratch, or kick at their owners will do so when they are frightened. It’s important to know how to approach your rabbit and to make sure they are in a safe environment. Never hit a biting rabbit. This will not prevent aggressive behavior and will likely make it worse. Consult your veterinarian if you have an aggressive rabbit so you can find and correct the problem right away.
Do Rex Rabbits Like to be Held?
Rex rabbits can be temperamental creatures. They can act out when they are scared and can bite and scratch. Their personalities vary from rabbit to rabbit also. Whether your rabbit likes to be held or not may depend on its mood at the time you want to hold it. If you can read the nature of your rabbit, you will probably learn the best time to hold and pet it. Giving your rabbit (healthy) treats will get it accustomed to being held.
A rabbit that is well-fed and properly exercised is more likely to allow you to cuddle and hold it. Don’t be offended if your rabbit doesn’t take to being held right away. It may take some time (and a lot of carrots) to build trust. Your Rex will eventually become used to being held by family members and may accept affection from visitors to the home as well.
What Do Rex Bunnies Eat?
Rex rabbits are vegetarians, but they eat a varied diet. Rex rabbits should have plenty of fresh hay available at all times. They love chomping on hay which provides for their nutritional needs but also keeps their teeth from becoming too sharp—a rabbit’s teeth never stop growing so constant chewing keeps them in check.
Rex rabbits also eat rabbit pellets and there are different varieties available. Some pellets are higher in fiber while others are higher in protein. High fiber pellets can make a bunny pretty chubby if they eat too many. This can lead to obesity and related health issues, so if you see your rabbit getting chubby, it’s time to cut back on the pellets.
Rabbits will take a pass on stale pellets, so you need to keep fresh pellets on hand. Pellets that are sold as rabbit “treats” contain many additives which are not good for your rabbit’s digestive system. If you want to give your rabbit a treat, a piece of pineapple, apple slices (no seeds), strawberries, raspberries, and pieces of banana will make them happy. Rabbits also love vegetables (carrots included, of course). Dark leafy greens like bok choy, kale, collard greens, and arugula should be a part of their diet.
Rabbits must always have access to water. They will drink from a bowl when they are outside their cage and a hanging water bottle inside the cage works well when they are confined.
What Age are Rex Rabbits Fully Grown?
Bunnies are pretty adorable, but they don’t stay small for long. The length of time it takes a rabbit to grow to adult size varies among breeds with smaller breeds achieving maturity more quickly. A mini Rex rabbit will grow to adult size of between three and four and a half pounds in about six or seven months. A standard adult Rex will grow to seven and a half to ten and a half pounds in about eight to nine months.
How High Can a Rex Rabbit Jump?
A Rex rabbit is considered to have a moderate activity level and they have very powerful hind legs. They like to hop and play and need plenty of time to do activities every day. An adult Rex rabbit can jump as high as three feet high. This means they will have no trouble jumping up on your sofa or bed, but it also means that any fenced enclosure needs to be over three high. A four foot fence would be ideal just in case you have a superior jumper, but in general, domesticated rabbits rarely attempt to jump fences over two feet. If they are well-fed and get plenty of exercise they will be more than happy to stay inside their enclosure.
Can Rex Rabbits Live Outside in Winter?
Rex Rabbits can live outside during the winter, but it depends on a few factors. Extremely cold or wet weather is not good for your pet, despite its coat of fur. Any outside rabbit enclosure should be protected from the elements. Temperatures below freezing are dangerous, especially in damp conditions, but otherwise, rabbits can tolerate much colder temperatures than humans. Just make sure they have plenty of hay for their bedding. Placing a heated water bottle in their outside enclosure will keep it from freezing.
Cold and precipitation aren’t the only things to watch out for when keeping rabbits outside during the winter months. They may be subject to an attack by predators such as foxes, coyotes, wolves, or neighborhood dogs and cats. Any outdoor cage needs to be strong enough to protect your rabbit from these predators.
Your rabbit may also have a strong desire to roam free. Don’t take it personally, it’s only natural. They are expert diggers and if left unsupervised outside they can dig under fences and escape. There is also a risk that they will eat vegetation that is poisonous to them. Rabbits are social creatures, so leaving a rabbit by itself for too long can affect its health and well-being.
How Often Do Rex Rabbits Shed?
Rabbits shed once every three months. At every other interval, the shedding is considered heavy with the other intervals experiencing lighter shedding. Rabbits like to be clean so they will lick themselves as cats do. As a result, they can also develop hairballs. Unlike cats, however, rabbits are not able to vomit up hair so this can be dangerous to them. This makes regular brushing necessary for the health of your rabbit. If a rabbit develops a hairball it can cause a blockage in their digestive system and medical care is required.
Your Rex rabbit should be brushed every week to remove loose hair. When the heavy shedding begins, it is necessary to brush them every day. Some of the fur will come right out in your hand with little or no effort. It might take a rabbit a few weeks to lose their old fur coat. Over grooming a rabbit can lead to bald patches in its fur, so you need to be mindful of this as well. Once you’ve experienced a few shedding cycles with your rabbit, you will come to know the perfect amount of brushing needed to remove excess fur.
How Often Should You Let Your Rabbit Out of Its Cage?
Rabbits love to run and they need regular exercise to remain healthy. Your Rex rabbit should be allowed free range access to an enclosed yard or inside the home for at least three hours per day. Dawn and dusk are the best times to let your rabbit roam out of its cage as this is more in line with their instinctive habits.
In the wild, it is during these times of day that it is easier for rabbits to see and predators that may be stalking them. Between 6 am and 9 am are good morning hours for rabbits to play and again between 4 pm and 8 pm in the late afternoon and early evening. For the remainder of the time, rabbits are perfectly content to sleep and nibble at their hay.
Rabbits need to be supervised when they are out of the cages. They like to dig and claw at things, so they can damage your property inside and out if they aren’t watched closely. They are only acting on instinct and there are things pet owners can do to rabbit proof their homes. If you have just one rabbit, you will also need to interact with it for at least two hours every day. They are social creatures and need this interaction or they will grow bored and lonely. A depressed rabbit can develop health issues, just like humans.
Rabbits that don’t get enough exercise can gain excess weight and also develop behavioral problems. If your rabbit becomes bored due to a lack of exercise, it may start to gnaw on its cage or over groom itself causing bald patches to appear in its fur.
An open air pen or enclosure is better than a cage. Rabbits don’t like to be caged, so if you have the space to give them more room they will be happier for it. When allowed to roam free range it is recommended that rabbits have at least 32 square feet to run around in. This isn’t an option for everyone, but the more space a rabbit is allowed to run, hop, and explore the healthier it will be, which can add years to its life.