Ermine Rabbits: Top Facts & Breed Guide
Ermine rabbits are an old dwarf rabbit breed, which already exists since the 19th century.
Nevertheless, the animals are rarely found in pet shops, although they fit character-wise into almost every household and are surprisingly easy to care for.
Why the rabbit could also be the right choice for you, you will learn in our detailed breed portrait.
Size: 20 to 40 centimeters
Weight: about 1.2 kilograms
Age: up to twelve years
Color: white with red or blue eyes
Character: lively and playful
Attitude: at least in pairs, better in small groups
The character of the Ermine rabbit
Ermine rabbits are lively, playful and active. They will get used to you quickly if you allow a gradual and slow introduction and do not overwork or stress them.
However, because of their small size and cute appearance with short ears and very soft, thick fur, they also run the risk of being underestimated.
Un-neutered stoat rabbits can then become quite stressed or react aggressively.
The stress has a negative effect on the health of the animals and can also lead to fights.
So make sure that you can correctly interpret the body language of the rabbits and recognize such problems early.
The keeping of Ermine rabbits
Ermine rabbits are very small and light, with a body length of 20 to a maximum of 40 centimeters and a weight of about 1.2 kilograms.
They belong to the dwarf rabbits.
Nevertheless, you should not underestimate the space requirements of the animals.
Because they are very playful and active, they need accordingly much space.
A large cage and daily free running in the apartment are therefore essential.
Well suited are rabbit homes with several floors and a secured room in which your animals can move safely and freely and also run.
After all, fast running, hooking and high jumps are part of the natural and important behavioral repertoire for Ermine rabbits.
Therefore, if you are considering indoor-only housing or this is the only option, acclimating the rabbit to a litter box and securing the environment is critical.
With outdoor housing, the effort is significantly higher.
However, it is also possible for this breed of rabbits. With the enclosure available during the day, they can more easily satisfy their urge to move. However, the work for you is not less.
Coat color and eye color
A distinctive feature of Ermine rabbits is their coat color, as they are all white.
However, there are two different strokes.
One type has red eyes. These are albinos. In the second variant, the animals have blue eyes. Here we speak of leucism.
Both forms are optically interesting, whereby the blue eyes look more attractive and more unusual on many.
However, there is no difference in behavior or physique.
Appearance of the ermine rabbits
The physique of Ermine rabbits is slightly stocky.
The head is small and roundish.
The ears are short, broad and stick out to the side or upwards.
The large eyes of the animals give them a childlike appearance.
The white coat is dense, short and smooth. It is also very soft and invites to be stroked. Note, however, that the rabbits are more than their cute appearance and can react stressed with too much contact.
Care of the Ermine rabbits
When it comes to grooming, Ermine rabbits are not particularly demanding.
The short coat does require regular brushing to remove loose hairs, but apart from this there is no risk of knotting or felting.
In addition, dirt and injuries are very easy to detect.
The color of the coat helps immensely.
Keep in mind, however, that you should still pat down each animal daily. Otherwise injuries after falls or parasites can remain undetected for a long time.
Pay special attention to the mouth, ears, belly and anus. Also, do not forget the claws and the belly.
The reasons for this are as follows:
Rabbits’ nail teeth continue to grow throughout their lives.
This means that they can become too long if they are not fed properly or if there is a lack of roughage or if they are malpositioned.
Often this is not noticed until it is far too late, when there has already been a restriction in food intake.
As forerunners of the dwarf rabbits, the Ermine rabbits are very light. Therefore you must react absolutely fast, because they have no or hardly fat reserves and can show very fast dangerous underweight.
The small standing ears are easy to check.
However, they can be infested with mites and awns are also a danger.
So check them daily as well and look for redness or dandruff. Also, if your rabbit shakes frequently, this is a warning sign and should be investigated.
Because of the fluffy fur, it is often not visually obvious if the animal is bloated or may have injured itself.
Therefore, palpate and check the abdomen daily.
Due to the white fur, soiling is usually quickly noticed.
Nevertheless, a check is important to detect adhesions early. You can also check the genital area, which can be wet or even bloody if there are problems with the bladder or kidneys.
Due to their small size and light weight, small rabbits’ claws often do not sharpen sufficiently.
So check the length and trim them if necessary. Otherwise, there may be problems with walking and the joints may suffer.
Abnormalities in the field of health are not found in Ermine rabbits.
They can suffer from bladder stones, diabetes or heart problems as well as deformities just like other rabbits.
They are also at risk for injuries and the formation of tumors.
Since the little Ermine rabbits are very playful, they are already a joy to watch. They are wonderful for learning tricks and engaging in small obstacles.
However, always keep in mind that the active animals can quickly injure themselves while playing. This is because the locomotor system is very sensitive and therefore already takes damage from slight influences.
So be very careful when you lift your rabbits and carry them. Once children master this, they can also interact with the animals.
So basically, Ermine rabbits are suitable for everyone who is willing to give them enough space and employment.
Frequently asked questions
How much does an ermine rabbit cost?
That depends on where you purchase your rabbits.
However, you should reckon with purchase costs between 30 and 50 dollars. Older and already neutered animals from a breeder or also from the animal shelter can be more expensive.
Also keep in mind that the purchase is the lowest cost factor in keeping them. The equipment, veterinary costs and food spread over the life expectancy are much higher.
How large are the litters of Ermine rabbits?
One to twelve kittens can be expected. Usually between three and six baby rabbits are born.
Because of their rapid sexual maturity and short gestation period, Ermine rabbits can reproduce rapidly and on a large scale.
Therefore, have your animals neutered early to prevent unwanted offspring.
Please do not think that the offspring can be easily placed.
Because of the low price of rabbits and because pet stores often accept only a few animals for sale, you can quickly have a whole group from the planned keeping of two animals.
When do Ermine rabbits become sexually mature?
Sexual maturity in Ermine rabbits usually begins between the third and fourth month of life.
This is also accompanied by puberty in rabbits.
During this time, the animals can react aggressively, tend to fight among themselves and not infrequently injure themselves. In addition, even very young females can already become pregnant.
An early castration makes sense already for these reasons. In addition, there is the prevention of diseases.
Where should you buy Ermine rabbits?
You have several possibilities. These are:
- private donations
- animal shelter or animal protection
- pet shops
With breeders of Ermine rabbits you have the advantage that the parents are examined and specially selected. This avoids inbreeding and also the inheritance of undesirable characteristics can be prevented.
With private donations you do not have this security. Therefore, make sure that the rabbits are at least vaccinated and accustomed to everyday life in a family.
In the animal shelter or from other animal welfare institutions you will not only get older animals. In some cases you can also find whole litters. Usually they are vaccinated and neutered before they are given away.
In pet shops, however, you will rarely find. Because ermine rabbits are rather rare and not every white dwarf rabbit is purebred.
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