Is it the Easter Bunny? The White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland? Some white rabbits even have ruby red eyes, these are albino rabbits. They are popular with people who like that look, but how rare are they?
If you're looking to get an albino rabbit of your own it will definitely be a conversation starter. Kids and adults love them and will want to know more. Where did you get it? Can it see OK with those red eyes? How hard was it to find?
In this article, we'll take a look at why albino rabbits look the way they do, find out how rare they are, and explore some interesting facts about these special bunnies.
It's All About the Genes
Many white rabbits look the way they do because of a condition called albinism. This genetic trait prevents them from producing colouration in their eyes, skin and hair. If a bunny has the right gene combination it will be bright white with red coloured eyes. This is the classic albino rabbit look, but it isn’t the only type of white rabbit out there.
Some albino rabbits will have white fur but blue eyes. These are still albino rabbits, but they still have the gene that gives their eyes colour. Some people might think that only rabbits with red eyes are truly albino but this isn’t the case. A rabbit’s genes can cause different types of albinism that create various mixes of body colouration.
Have you seen white rabbits with dark eyes and dark colour only at the tips of their ears or bottom of their paws? These are albino rabbits too! These rabbits have a different mix of genes that cause temperature-controlled albinism. Their fur will only take on colour when it is further away from their warm bodies.
Albino Rabbits in the Wild
Albino rabbits are rare in the wild. A white albino rabbit in nature is an easy target for predators. Most rabbits need darker colouration to blend into their surroundings and help them avoid hawks, owls and other predators. Without the right mix of genes, a wild rabbit won’t have the protection they need.
There are some wild white rabbits. The Arctic Hare has white fur in the winter to help it blend into the snow and hide from predators. In the northern parts of its range, the Arctic Hare’s fur stays white for the whole year. In most parts of the world, white fur would make a rabbit an easy target, but in the Arctic, it gives them a big advantage!
Have you seen a group of white rabbits in the wild? It may be from an escaped pet white rabbit that has been bred. Over time, white rabbits in the wild will get eaten by predators. Sadly, the only place that has native white rabbits is the Arctic.
Breeding Albino Rabbits
Because albinism is an inherited condition, it’s possible to breed rabbits that are completely white. Because white rabbits are popular, breeders are able to make as many as people will buy! By selecting rabbits which carry the right genes for albinism, breeders are able to create whole batches of adorable albino rabbits!
While white albino rabbits with red eyes are popular, they aren’t the only kind that rabbit breeders can produce. Another popular variety is white with blue eyes. This is an albino rabbit too, but it still has the genes that produce colour in the eyes.
Rabbits breeders can produce all sorts of rabbits. It depends on what people want. White rabbits are always popular so breeders will make sure they raise enough of this popular type of bunny.
Are Albino Rabbits Rare?
Some people want to know if white rabbits are rare. The answer is: it depends. In the wild, white rabbits can’t hide from predators well so they don’t often live long. Unless they live in the Arctic, white rabbits in nature are very rare.
At home, albino rabbits aren’t at risk of predators so these cute bunnies are common as pets. Also, the albino genes that cause their distinctive colouration don’t cause any health problems. White albino rabbits can live the same long and healthy lives as rabbits with normal colours. Being pets allows albino rabbits to live much longer and healthier lives than they could in the wild.
Because rabbit breeders can raise as many albino rabbits as they want, they don’t have to be rare as pets. In fact, because albino rabbits are in demand as pets, they aren’t rare at all in captivity. You can get many different types of rabbits that have albino genes.
While white rabbits with red eyes are the most recognizable kind of albino rabbit, there are many different types. Many rabbit breeds have albino versions and there are different varieties to choose from. Each type will have its own body shape and personality traits. You can pick the albino rabbit that you like best!
Himalayan Rabbits aren’t albino rabbits but they are mostly white. This breed has black feet, nose and paws. Like any rabbit breed, there are albino varieties available. This breed makes a good pet because it is calm and laid-back. If you want a calmer rabbit that doesn’t make a fuss, an albino Himalayan Rabbit is a great choice.
California Rabbits are often mistaken for Himalayan Rabbits. Their colours are similar, and like the Himalayans, these rabbits are mostly white even without being albino. California Rabbits, also known as California White, were bred for the fur and meat industry.
This variety has never lived in the wild and their bright white colours would make hiding from predators difficult. This breed has a great personality that is making them increasingly popular as pets. This friendly variety can be shy at first, but will quickly become a friendly and personable family pet.
It is easy to find an albino Angora Giant Rabbit. While they are light-coloured naturally, a true albino variety will resemble a white fluffy cloud. This intelligent rabbit breed can be a good and loving pet. Angora Giant Rabbits don’t like being picked up and need to be handled carefully.
Lionhead Rabbits are a light-coloured rabbit species with distinctive fur growth that resembles a lion’s mane. An albino Lionhead Rabbit is a unique and eye-catching breed, sure to be a conversation starter with friends and an excellent pet companion for your family. Lionheads are a social breed and you should have more than one so they can keep each other company.
Can Albino Rabbits See OK?
Some people see the red eyes of albino rabbits and wonder if they can see correctly. Rabbits see things differently than humans and it can sometimes be hard to tell if a rabbit is seeing normally or not. Most rabbits can see things at a distance better than those up close. This is true even with non-albino breeds.
The good news is that albino rabbits don’t see any difference from regular rabbits. The gene that causes their red-eye colouration doesn’t interfere with their eyesight. An albino rabbit will be able to see things further away easier than they can see things up close. There’s another difference with albino rabbits, and it involves more than just their eyesight.
Albino rabbits can be more sensitive to light. The colouration they lack because of their albino genes makes these rabbits more irritated by sunlight and bright lights. It is best to keep your albino rabbit out of the sun to help prevent them from having irritated eyes and sunburn.
We’ve covered a lot of stuff about albino rabbits. Now you know why they are so rare in nature but much less rare as pets. Their white colouration makes it harder for them to hide from predators in the wild. An exception is the Arctic Hare. Their white colour makes them blend in better with snow and ice and is great camouflage in their environment.
It isn’t all doom and gloom for albino rabbits. They are very popular as pets. From the Easter bunny to the White Rabbit in Alice In Wonderland, the idea of a white rabbit is popular. This high profile means lots of people want an albino rabbit for a pet!
Luckily, albino rabbits can be created by breeders to keep up with demand. By selecting which rabbits they allow to reproduce, breeders can make albino rabbits whenever they want. There are lots of different breeds of rabbits, many are already mostly white. These white rabbits aren’t true albinos. They may have dark paws or off-white fur, but they don’t have the right mix of albino genes.
Being an albino doesn’t mean a bunny isn’t healthy. Albino rabbits may be more sensitive to the sun and bright lights, but being albino doesn’t hurt their health or life expectancy.
If you are looking for an albino rabbit for a pet, now you know what to look for. You may want an albino Himalayan Rabbit, a California Rabbit or even the super fluffy Angora Giant Rabbit. Whichever kind you get may not be rare, but it can be a great pet and companion for the whole family!