The mini rex rabbit is a smaller version of the rex rabbit, a breed known for its plush, velvety fur. Where an adult rex rabbit weighs around 10 pounds, a mini rex only weighs around 4 pounds. The mini rex has a compact, rounded body and comes in many different colors. As pets, these rabbits are generally calm and friendly. They require a moderate amount of upkeep that includes daily feedings and regular habitat cleanings. They also benefit from lots of socialization and playtime.
Common Name: Mini rex rabbit
Scientific Name: Oryctolagus cuniculus
Adult Size: 10 to 12 inches long, weighing 3.5 to 4.5 pounds on average
Lifespan: 7 to 10 years
Mini Rex Rabbit Behavior and Temperament
While all rabbits are individuals, the mini rex breed is known for being very sweet, sociable, and easygoing. Mini rex rabbits are usually docile and accepting of gentle handling. However, rabbits in general prefer not to be picked up and carried around, though many do enjoy petting and cuddling with people. They don’t tend to bite but might scratch if they feel uncomfortable or threatened.
Mini rex rabbits can form strong bonds with the people who care for them. It’s also ideal to keep more than one rabbit to meet their social needs. You can keep members of the opposite sex together as long as they are spayed and neutered. Plus, rabbits can even get along with other calm, well-mannered household pets, including cats and dogs. But make sure to do safe and slow introductions between any animals, and avoid putting rabbits around animals that might see them as prey.
While rabbits are fairly active pets, they also are relatively quiet. Expect to spend some time each day on feedings and keeping the habitat clean. And give your rabbit several hours of playtime and social time. A rabbit that is deprived of mental stimulation and physical activity often can become destructive and might do some unwanted chewing and digging.
Mini rex rabbits are roughly 10 to 12 inches long and weigh less than 5 pounds. The females are often slightly larger than the males.
At minimum, your rabbit’s enclosure should be 18 by 24 inches and taller than your rabbit is when it stretches fully upright on its hind legs. Bigger is always better though, and you must add space if you have multiple rabbits in the enclosure.
A cage with wire sides is ideal for ventilation, but do not select one with a wire floor, as this can be hard on a rabbit’s feet. Many owners opt for a dog crate or a dog exercise pen. Make sure the sides of the pen are high enough that your rabbit can’t hop out.
In the enclosure, add food and water dishes, toys (especially chew toys), a sturdy shelf onto which your rabbit can hop for exercise, and a litter box. Make sure there’s still enough floor space for the rabbit to fully stretch out with its back legs extended behind it.
Keep the enclosure out of direct sunlight and away from drafts. Also, don’t place it in a loud, high-traffic area. But keep it somewhere nearby, as rabbits like to be close to their human families.
Wherever you allow your rabbit to roam outside of its enclosure, make sure the area is totally rabbit-proofed. Rabbits love to chew and will bite on electrical cords and other potential hazards they can reach.
Specific Substrate Needs
The floor of your rabbit enclosure must be nonslip. Many owners put down washable rugs to add softness and make cleanup easy. You also can offer a pile of straw for your rabbit to nest in, as well as a soft blanket or towel (making sure your rabbit can’t get tangled or snagged in the material). Use dye-free paper litter in the litter box.
Remove waste from the cage floor and litter box daily. Also, wash the food and water dishes daily. And once a week, scrub down everything in the enclosure with mild soap and water.
What Do Mini Rex Rabbits Eat & Drink?
The majority of your rabbit's diet should be fresh grass hay, such as timothy or oat hay. Provide an unlimited amount of hay daily, always making sure some is available to the rabbit. You can either pile the hay in the enclosure or use a special feeder called a hopper.
To supplement the hay, offer fresh greens every day. Options include lettuces, herbs, radish tops, and carrot tops. Other fruits and veggies, such as carrots, can be given in smaller amounts. You can place the greens in a small ceramic dish or simply on a clean area of the enclosure floor. Many owners offer these fresh foods either once or twice a day, removing them after a few hours to prevent spoilage. Consult your vet for the proper quantity to feed, as this can vary based on size and activity level.
Furthermore, offer a small amount of commercial rabbit pellets per day. But note that overfeeding pellets can cause digestive problems and obesity. So discuss the proper amount to feed with your vet. Place a day’s worth of pellets in a small ceramic bowl. Dispose of anything left in the bowl after 24 hours before adding the next day’s portion.
Finally, always make sure your rabbit has access to clean water. You can use either a water dish or bottle. Don’t remove the dish until you’re sure your rabbit knows how to drink from the bottle, and regularly check to make sure the bottle nozzle is working. Refresh the water daily.
Common Health Problems
Mini rex rabbits are prone to the same health problems as most other rabbit breeds. They include:
- Digestive problems, including diarrhea and blockages
- Eye issues, such as corneal ulcers
- Respiratory diseases
- Skin problems, such as mites and fleas
Many rabbits also experience overgrown teeth, which can make eating and drinking difficult. Their teeth continuously grow and must be worn down via their diet and chewing on things in their environment (such as rabbit-safe chew toys). A vet can file down the teeth as necessary.
Training Your Mini Rex Rabbit
Mini rex rabbits can be litter box trained much like a cat, which makes cage cleaning a lot easier and keeps your house sanitary when your rabbit is allowed to roam. Rabbits tend to pick one spot as their bathroom. So to litter train them, put the litter box in that spot in the enclosure. Besides litter, add some hay to the box to entice the rabbit to go in it. When you see your rabbit using the box, treat it immediately to reinforce the behavior.
If your rabbit starts to relieve itself in a different spot, move the box there or add a second box. Until your rabbit is fully litter trained, it’s best to keep it confined to a small area with a litter box always nearby.
Replace the hay in the box daily, and clean the litter every other day at least. Rabbits might not use the litter box if it’s dirty. Also, rabbits that aren’t spayed and neutered might relieve themselves outside of the litter box as a way to mark their territory.
Make sure your mini rex gets at least four hours per day outside of its enclosure to exercise, play, and explore. But be sure to rabbit-proof your home before letting your rabbit roam. Rabbits like to chew and can get themselves in trouble if they chew on electrical cords or other hazardous items. Offer rabbit toys, food puzzles, tunnels, and more to encourage your rabbit to move.
Although rabbits spend a lot of time grooming themselves, brushing your mini rex roughly once a week (or more often during seasonal shedding periods) will help to remove loose fur. Use a soft brush designed for use on rabbits, and brush gently to avoid damaging your rabbit’s delicate skin. Not only will brushing help to prevent tangles, but it also will minimize the amount of fur your rabbit ingests from self-grooming. Too much ingested fur can cause hairballs.
You'll also have to periodically trim your mini rex's nails. If you're nervous about doing this task, many vet clinics will do it for you. Your vet can also teach you how to safely trim your rabbit’s nails at home.
Rabbits can be fairly expensive pets. Your essential expenses will be your mini rex's food and bedding/litter. On a monthly basis, plan to spend around $40 to $60, depending on the varieties you choose. You’ll also periodically have to replace worn toys (especially chew toys) and other items in the enclosure at a cost of around $10 to $20. Finally, make sure to budget for routine veterinary checkups and emergency care.
Pros & Cons of Keeping a Mini Rex Rabbit as a Pet
Mini rex rabbits are typically easygoing and friendly as pets. Plus, they are quiet and don’t take up a massive amount of space. However, their upkeep can be expensive. And they do have high social needs that often require getting a second rabbit.
Similar Rabbits to the Mini Rex
If you're interested in mini rex rabbits, check out:
Otherwise, check out other rabbits that can be your new pet.
Purchasing or Adopting Your Mini Rex Rabbit
Mini rex rabbits are a fairly popular breed, so you might be able to find them at a pet shop. However, it’s often better to go to a reputable breeder or rescue organization, where you’re more likely to get sufficient information about the animal’s health, history, and temperament. Expect to spend between $20 and $100, with the price varying based on such factors as the animal’s age.
Check with local exotic veterinarians for recommendations on breeders and rescue organizations. You also can research breeders and rescues through the American Rabbit Breeders Association and the House Rabbit Society. Breeders often will have a wider selection of younger rabbits. However, rabbits are common adoptable pets as well. And older rabbits often can be a good choice because you can get a sense of their personality right away, and many are already tame and litter trained.
If you’ll be taking home rabbits of the opposite sex, discuss spaying and neutering with your vet before putting them together to prevent them from breeding.
Does a mini rex rabbit make a good pet for kids?
A mini rex can be a good pet for older children who are able to be calm and gentle around it.
Are mini rex rabbits hard to take care of?
Mini rex rabbits require a moderate amount of care, which includes daily feedings, regular cleanings, and lots of attention.
Does a mini rex rabbit like to be held?
Most mini rex rabbits don't enjoy being picked up, though some tolerate it. But they typically still like petting and cuddling with their favorite people.
Owning a Rabbit. VCA Hospitals.
Housing of Rabbits. Merck Veterinary Manual.
Feeding Your Rabbit. VCA Hospitals.
Disorders and Diseases of Rabbits. Merck Veterinary Manual.
Rabbit Health Check: Signs of a Healthy Bunny. Best Friends Animal Society.
Litter Training. House Rabbit Society.