When many people think of rabbits, they think of Florida White rabbits.
Florida White rabbits have, as their name suggests, all-white fur.
They were bred to be all-purpose rabbits, animals that make wonderful pets, or, as many animal lovers cringe to learn, perfect-sized meat rabbits and laboratory test animals.
If you buy products advertised as not tested on animals, the animal they are not tested on is a Florida White rabbit.
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about raising Florida White rabbits as pets. We will start with some essential facts about Florida Whites.
Essential Facts About Florida White Rabbits
Scientific name: Oryctolagus cuniculus domesticus
Care level, compared to other rabbits: Easy to care for, but needs three hours of exercise per day.
Temperament: Placid, gentle, playful, but needs to have early positive experiences with a variety of people not to be fearful of humans as an adult rabbit. Harder to socialize than other breeds.
Color: Pure white, with pink eyes (albino).
Lifespan: 5 to 8 years. This is longer than the lifespan of most other breeds. With good care, they may live even longer than 8 years.
Size: 4 to 6 pounds (1.8 to 2.7 kilograms). “Junior” Florida Whites that weigh 2.25 to 4 pounds (1 to 1.8 kilograms) as adults.
Dietary requirements: Like all rabbits, Florida Whites need fresh, clean, dry hay on demand. They eat about the same volume of hay as the space their bodies take up.
Compatible breeds: Enjoys companion rabbits of all breeds, but needs to have been in contact with them from early in life,
Cage size: Happiest in a two-story hutch. More details below.or
Like all rabbits, Florida rabbits need protection from freezing cold (at least a windbreak even when temperatures are above freezing) and some kind of cooling for hot weather (more details below).
History of the Florida White Rabbit
Breeding rabbits has been common for over 150 years, but modern rabbit breeders learned from the techniques of an Iowa State University professor named Jay L. Lush.
The American Rabbit Breeders Association endorsed his techniques, encouraged by Judge Orville Miliken.
In the 1950s, rabbit farmers wanted a new breed that would produce more meat with smaller bones.
They also wanted a rabbit that could live inside a cage, making it suitable for mass production.
Consumer products companies wanted small rabbits they could keep in cages for testing cosmetics and other household products.
Laboratories also needed rabbits with consistent coloration so they could easily compare skin reactions to the chemicals they tested.
Mr. Miliken eventually found the right combination of breed characteristics by breeding an albino Dutch rabbit with a red-eyed Polish rabbit, and then mating their offspring with a white New Zealand rabbit.
He named the resulting breed Florida White because it was developed in Florida and white all over.
Even though Miliken developed Florida Whites for medical testing, they became a very popular breed of pet rabbit.
It’s white fur and pink ears became the iconic image of the Easter Bunny. Florida White rabbits were featured on Captain Kangaroo and several other television shows for children.
Soon they were in huge demand as the first pet rabbit for children. The Florida White breed was recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in 1967 and won best in show ten years later.
This cemented the popularity of Florida Whites among commercial breeders.
For about 20 years, Florida Whites were commonly used as laboratory rabbits. Today, the use of rabbits in product testing is rare.
Florida Whites are almost exclusively pet and show rabbits.
Appearance of the Florida White Rabbit
Florida Whites are relatively small but muscular rabbits. The rear part of its body is slightly wider than its shoulders.
Many fans of pet rabbits love Florida Whites because of their cute, adorable features.
Body and Size
Florida White Rabbits are known for their compact, medium-sized bodies, which feature small bones, small heads, and small feet.
They have a nearly 65 percent meat-to-bone ratio, making them efficient in terms of feed-to-meat conversion.
A mature Florida White Rabbit typically weighs between 4 and 6 pounds, with a well-developed yet fine-boned body.
On the other hand, younger rabbits in this breed, known as junior Florida Whites, should weigh from 2.25 to 4.5 pounds.
Fur and Color
As the name suggests, Florida White Rabbits are known for their pure white fur, distinguishing them from other rabbit breeds.
Their fur is dense and medium length, giving them a soft and plush appearance.
They do not have any distinctive patterns or markings, making them uniformly white from head to toe.
This is due in part to their albino genetics, resulting in the iconic white fur.
Combing them once a week is sufficient.
Ears and Eyes
The ears of a Florida White Rabbit are medium-sized and fully erect, giving them a perky appearance.
Their ears have little pink spots on the inner side.
They are proportional to the rabbit’s head and body size, adding to the breed’s overall balance.
Florida White Rabbits possess red eyes, which is a common feature in albino animals.
The red color comes from the reflection of blood vessels behind the retina, as they lack pigment in their eyes due to their albinism.
Florida White rabbits have heads that are full and round. Their necks are short.
With the “commercial” body type, Florida Whites are compact. They have short legs, so they do not hop too high to be kept in an enclosed backyard.
Unlike other rabbits, the Florida White’s fur color does not depend on temperature. Whether it is winter or summer, the Florida White will be all-white.
Temperament of the Florida White Rabbit
Florida White rabbits are gentle, docile, well-behaved pets if they have been socialized at an early age.
When you interact with a Florida White, you may notice they are gentle and relaxed, which makes them ideal pets for various home settings.
Give kits happy experiences with a variety of people, and your other pets, at an early age. (This assumes your other pets do not naturally hunt rabbits.)
If rabbits get lots of interaction with people and friendly pets when they are young, they will be much less fearful of people and pets when they are older.
In the rare instances that Florida Whites bite, it is usually because they are afraid.
While the Florida White is generally a calm and gentle breed, it is important to remember that each rabbit has its unique personality.
You may find that some individuals are more active or lazy than others.
As you spend time with your Florida White, you’ll get to know your rabbit’s preferences and character traits.
Care of the Florida White Rabbit
It’s not hard to take care of a Florida White rabbit if you know what to do.
Diet for the Florida White Rabbit
In nature, all rabbits feed on grasses. Because freshly cut grass can ferment, you always want to feed your rabbit dry, clean hay.
Alfalfa hay is OK for kits (young rabbits), but it contains a lot of calcium and can cause kidney stones in older rabbits.
Rabbits of all ages can eat dry timothy hay, which should make up about 70 percent of their diet.
As we will remind you again below, never give your rabbit breads, rice, potatoes, or cereals.
Your Rabbit’s Litter Box
You will need to provide a litter box for your rabbit to stay healthy. The reason rabbits need special accommodations for their litter box has to do with the way their bodies process food.
Raw plant foods contain very little fat. Every animal needs essential fatty acids for making hormones and for regulating the immune system.
Rabbits get their fat from the action of friendly bacteria on fiber in the grasses they eat.
These bacteria can transform fiber into sugars and a kind of fat called butyric acid (the same fatty acid you find in butter).
By the time bacteria act on the fiber in well-chewed grass, they liberate about the same number of calories as humans get from a similar weight of ice cream.
The limitation of these bacteria is that they need oxygen from the atmosphere to live.
To accommodate this cycle, the rabbit eats grasses, chewing them well. The rabbit’s digestive tract sends the chewed fiber to the small intestine. It mixes with probiotic bacteria, and the rabbit poops out.
These “soft poops” expose the probiotic bacteria to the air so it can release fatty acids from the fiber.
Then the rabbit eats its own poop, which travels to a special pouch in its gut called the cecum, where it can absorb the fatty acids released by the bacteria.
Once the remaining nutrients are absorbed, the rabbit releases hard poops that it does not eat.
Your rabbit/s litter box needs to be lined with hay to catch the soft poops. For a couple of weeks, you will have to pick up soft rabbit poop and place it in the litter box.
Your rabbit will quickly figure out that the litter box is where it needs to “go” and also where it can find its soft poops.
Grooming Your Florida White Rabbit
About twice a year, your Florida White rabbit will shed.
During these two weeks a year, you should groom it outdoors with a stiff-bristled brush to prevent shedding indoors.
The rest of the year, your Florida White rabbit only needs grooming about once a week.
If your Florida White gets something unpleasant stuck to its coat, dip a clean cloth in warm water, wring out the excess moisture, and wipe the debris away. Never give your rabbit a bath.
Housing Your Florida White Rabbit
The ideal arrangement for your Florida White rabbit is an outdoor hutch attached to an enclosed rabbit run.
It will need to run and play about three hours a day.
If you are keeping your White Rabbit indoors, it needs a kennel about four times its body size.
It also needs a safe place to scamper around the floor for several hours a day. Give your rabbit access to its litter box 24/7.
Most Florida Whites are happy spending a lot of their time in a cage, hutch, or kennel that offers a 24-inch by 36-inch (60 cm by 90 cm) soft floor and 14 inches (35 cm) clearance for its ears.
Those figures are for each rabbit. More space is always better.
Like all rabbits, Florida White rabbits have 28 teeth. These teeth never stop growing for their entire lives.
To prevent a condition called malocclusion, misaligned or overgrown teeth that don’t fit together, it is important to give your rabbit high-fiber foods like clean, dry hay every day.
The silica naturally occurring in the hay wears down the rabbit’s teeth just enough to keep them from growing too long.
Another reason to make sure your rabbit gets all the hay it wants is preventing a condition called gastrointestinal stasis.
Rabbits that don’t get enough high-fiber foods, or that eat starchy foods intended for human consumption, like bread and breakfast cereals, can develop a mass of undigested food in their intestines.
This blockage prevents the absorption of nutrients and water from the rabbit’s diet. Partially digested food may flow around the blockage, causing diarrhea, or the rabbit can become fatally constipated.
In either condition, prompt veterinary care is needed to save the rabbit’s life.
Popular Bunny Names for Florida White Rabbits
Here’s a table with popular Florida White Rabbit names reflecting their breed characteristics.
The Florida White Rabbit is known for its small size, pure white coat, and friendly nature.
Many of these names are inspired by their unique appearance and gentle disposition.
|Biy Bunny Names for Florida White Rabbit||Girl Bunny Names for Florida White Rabbit|
These names emphasize the pure white coat, small size, and gentle nature of the Florida White Rabbit breed, making them fitting choices for your rabbit.
Also read: Popular Pet Rabbit (Bunny) Names (Girl/Boy)
Frequently Asked Questions About Florida White Rabbits
Where can I find a Florida White Rabbit?
Because Florida White rabbits are such a popular breed, you can find them in pet shops, at flea markets, and from other rabbit enthusiasts.
If you want a show-quality rabbit, check out the list of clubs on the Florida White Rabbit Breeders Association Clubs page.
Call the telephone number of the club nearest you to request current information.
How much will a Florida White rabbit cost?
In the United States, expect to pay $25 to $100 for a healthy pet rabbit, but more if you are looking for a show rabbit.
How many kits (bunnies) do Florida White Rabbit have in a litter?
Florida Whites usually have 6 to 8 kits per litter.
How soon can Florida Whites reproduce?
Florida White rabbits can reproduce at the age of 3 to 6 months.
If you want them to be spayed or neutered, you need to take them to the vet at about the age of 3 months.
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