Flemish giant rabbits are the largest domesticated rabbit breed on the planet. These fluffy creatures, sometimes also known as continental giants, are adorable and sweet. If you're in the market for a pet that matches the size of a large house cat or small dog but is a bit unusual, this could be the perfect addition to your family.
Flemish giant rabbits are believed to have been bred as far back as the 16th century in Europe. In the late 1800s, they were brought to North America. For most of their history, the rabbits were bred for human consumption. However, their large bone structure meant that their meat value was minimal. As a result, much of this industry has collapsed in favor of breeding the rabbits as pets instead.
These giant rabbits are seemingly grandiose compared to a typical bunny you may see in the garden. At just two months of age, they can weigh in at four pounds. By adult age, Flemish giant rabbits average about 14 pounds but have been noted to grow as large as 22 pounds. They range in length but generally end up about two feet long.
Flemish giant rabbits are a larger version of many other types of familiar bunnies. They are notably seen with large-based upright ears. Females have a bulky skin flap, known as a dewlap, under their chins. Their fur is thick and uniform in length across the entire body. Color can range from black to grey to white, and even brown or blue.
While every animal is different, many consider these giant rabbits to be calm and gentle-natured. As prey animals, new situations may cause them to be wary, but they easily settle in once they determine there is no threat. Flemish giant rabbits are docile enough to make good family companions. They will dislike being held tightly but may learn to enjoy sitting on your lap occasionally.
With a lifespan of up to 10 years, Flemish giant rabbits will be with your family for quite some time. Maintenance of a healthy weight will minimize the risk of many illnesses. Spaying females reduces the likelihood of uterine cancers. The size of these animals makes them more susceptible to heat, so ensuring that their habitat averages around 70 degrees Fahrenheit will allow them to be comfortable.
Flemish giant rabbits have simple dietary requirements. Clean, fresh hay will provide them with everything they need. Adding some occasional vegetables or fruit will act as a fun treat. Rabbit-friendly pellet food can be used as a supplement to ensure any missing vitamins and minerals are provided. As with any pet, be sure to offer a supply of clean water at all times.
When supervised, a Flemish rabbit can be let loose to roam around the house to explore. It is also necessary to have an enclosure to keep your pet safe and comfortable the rest of the time. Provide a secure area where the animal has sufficient room to eat and drink, move around and stretch out fully. Offer access to a litter box and be sure to spot clean regularly to prevent smells and harmful bacteria.
Pet rabbits have fairly simple care needs. Weekly brushing is ideal, with additional grooming during periods of heavy shedding. Trim nails regularly to prevent injury to your rabbit and to yourself. Flemish giant rabbits groom themselves, so regular baths are not necessary. Check their rump occasionally to ensure it is free of debris and spot clean dirty fur or feet as needed.
Due to their weight and length, it takes some extra care to lift and hold a Flemish giant rabbit. Using both arms, make sure you use one to support the chest area and the other to hold their rear end and legs. Hold your bunny securely, but gentle enough to not cause it to be alarmed and struggle. Over time, a well-loved rabbit may even learn to enjoy some occasional snuggles.
The purchase price of a Flemish giant rabbit ranges from $20 to $50, with a little bit more for a show quality animal. Initially, there are setup costs to consider, including the purchase of a pen or enclosure, food and water bowls, and a litter box. Food is reasonably priced and will likely cost less than $50 per month. Be prepared to pay for occasional veterinarian visits as well.
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