The Mini Rex Rabbit is a smaller version of the Rex Rabbit, a breed known for its beautiful, plush, velvety fur. Where an adult standard Rex Rabbit weighs about 10.5 pounds, an adult Mini Rex Rabbit weighs in at a diminutive 4.5 pounds maximum.
The Mini Rex Rabbit was developed in 1984 in Texas by a rabbit breeder named Monna Berryhill. The breed became fully recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in 1988. Today, the Mini Rex Rabbit one of the most popular entries at rabbit shows.
The Mini Rex Rabbit has a compact and rounded body. Like the standard Rex Rabbit, the Mini Rex Rabbit has a soft, dense, short coat with a unique feel as compared to other rabbits. Mini Rexes come in many different colors, including black, blue, blue-eyed white, broken, castor, chinchilla, chocolate, Himalayan, lilac, lynx, opal, otter, red, sable point, seal, tortoise, red-eyed white, sable martin, silver martin, and smoke pearl.
Common Name(s): Mini Rex Rabbit
Scientific Name: Oryctolagus cuniculus
Adult Size: 4.5 pounds maximum
Life Expectancy: 10 years
Mini Rex Rabbit Behavior and Temperament
Though all rabbits are individuals, the Mini Rex Rabbit is generally known for being very sweet, friendly, and calm. It is also usually docile and accepting of gentle handling. The Mini Rex Rabbit’s laid-back personality, combined with its small size, makes it a wonderful pet for children—small hands can hold a Mini Rex Rabbit more comfortably than its heftier cousin the standard Rex Rabbit. That said, all children must be taught how to interact gently and safely with any rabbit. Young children should always be supervised by an adult when playing with a rabbit, and they should sit on the floor while handling the rabbit to prevent them from accidentally dropping the rabbit should it struggle or try to jump from their arms.
Housing the Mini Rex Rabbit
The American Rabbit Breeders Association recommends that full-grown Mini Rex Rabbits be housed in cages that have a minimum of 1.5 by 1.5 feet of floor space per rabbit, and that are at least 14 inches high. However, more space is always a better option. If you want to house two Mini Rex Rabbits in one cage, the size of the cage should be double the minimum for each individual rabbit.
Alternatively, you can also house your Mini Rex Rabbit inside a large, wire exercise pen (also called an x-pen) on the floor. The pen sides should be tall enough so your rabbit cannot hop out. For lower pens or determined jumpers, you can enclose the pen on all sides with a wire top or piece of gardening shade cloth.
Avoid housing your Mini Rex Rabbit in a cage with a wire floor, which can be painful for rabbits to stand on. Instead, choose an enclosure with a solid floor. If a wire-floored cage is your only option, be sure to add a large, sturdy board or carpet square for your rabbit to comfortably rest on.
Depending on the size of your Mini Rex Rabbit’s enclosure, you might also include a litter box (rabbits can readily be trained to eliminate in a litter box much like a cat), a small playhouse or other den-like retreat, and a soft blanket or towel.
Place your Mini Rex Rabbit’s enclosure in an area that is free from direct sunlight. Make sure the temperature in your rabbit’s living area is comfortable. Avoid temperature extremes (too hot or too cold). Rabbits prefer to be close to their human families so make sure the cage is in an area that is quiet by close to daily household activities.
Keep your Mini Rex Rabbit’s cage or enclosure sanitary by removing wash from the litter box or floor daily. Once a week, take everything out and do a deeper clean. Wash food dishes and water bottles daily with soap and hot water, rinsing and drying well before refilling.
Food and Water
The majority of your Mini Rex Rabbit’s diet should be fresh grass hay (like timothy or oat hay) and fresh green vegetables daily (try carrot tops, dandelion greens, kale, parsley, radish tops, romaine lettuce). Offer unlimited amounts of fresh hay daily. The House Rabbit Society recommends 1 cup of fresh greens per 2 pounds of body weight daily. You can also offer small amounts of high-quality rabbit pellets. Limit carrots and fruit to small amounts as occasional treats. Give your Mini Rex Rabbit free access to fresh water with a water bottle or dish.
Common Health Problems
Mini Rex Rabbits are prone to the same health concerns as most other rabbits. Teeth problems, including overgrown teeth, are a common issue in rabbits, especially those that are not fed a proper hay-based diet, which helps to wear the teeth down naturally.
Rabbits can also develop problematic hairballs when they ingest hair while self-grooming. To reduce the incidence of hairballs, feed your rabbit a high-fiber diet of hay and green vegetables, offer lots of water, and brush your rabbit weekly to remove loose hair.
Other common rabbit health concerns include bumblefoot (a painful condition that occurs in rabbits housed on inappropriate floor surfaces and those that are overweight and don’t get enough exercise), rabbit ileus (a life-threatening slowing of the gastrointestinal tract), bacterial or parasitic infections, and ear mites.
Some signs your rabbit is not feeling well include not eating or drinking, decreased pooping, and low energy. If you’re worried that your rabbit is acting sick, seek veterinary care immediately. Rabbits tend to hide signs of illness and may be sicker than you realize.
Purchasing Your Mini Rex Rabbit
Mini Rex Rabbits are a popular breed and usually are not too difficult to find. It’s best to acquire your new Mini Rex Rabbit from a reputable rabbit breeder or rabbit rescue. Many animal shelters also have rabbits available for adoption. Rabbits are social creatures that enjoy the company of other rabbits. Consider getting two rabbits so they have a friend. Keeping a pair of rabbits can help both feel less stressed and stay healthier and happier.
Exercise and Enrichment
Make sure your Mini Rex Rabbit gets plenty of time outside their cage or enclosure to exercise, play, and explore. Rabbits love playing with toys. You can purchase rabbit toys from a pet supply store or make your own rabbit toys. Be sure to rabbit-proof your home before letting your rabbit roam. Rabbits like to chew and can get themselves into trouble if they try to chew on electrical cords or other dangerous household items.
Best Grooming Practices
Although rabbits spend a lot of their time grooming themselves, brushing your Mini Rex Rabbit once a week helps remove loose and shedding fur. This can help cut down on your rabbit developing hairballs, much like cats do. Use a soft brush designed for use in rabbits, and brush gently to avoid damaging your rabbit’s delicate skin.
Trim your Mini Rex Rabbit’s nails every week or two. If you’re nervous about doing this necessary task, your veterinarian can do this for you. Your vet can also teach you how to safely trim your rabbit’s nails at home.
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