Are you thinking of having a rabbit but want something different from the conventional? Rabbits are great pets, they are fun, affectionate, soft and easy to care for. However, they are not all the same! The giant rabbit of Flanders is special and is far from the concept that we all have as a rabbit. In this article we talk about the characteristics that make the Flemish giant a unique rabbit.
Flanders giant rabbit temperament
Do not relate the large size of this rabbit with a rough and brave character! It is a really docile animal. Also, unlike other rabbit breeds, which are very active, the Flanders giant is very calm, does not like running or jumping, He prefers a quiet life and lying resting. This is probably because moving costs more because of its large size.
Flanders giant rabbit care
Like all rabbits, the giant of Flanders You will need a cage in which to live, comfortable and adapted to your size so that it moves freely and does not overwhelm you.
Your diet should be complete, healthy and balanced to cover all your nutritional needs and preserve your good health, preventing obesity and many other diseases.
Remember that rabbits, like other pets, need vaccines. Further, you should go to the veterinarian every time you detect symptoms of illness or unusual behaviors and it is advisable to take general reviews periodically.
If you want to have a Flanders rabbit, You will have all the advantages and virtues of a classic rabbit, but with a different touch. Of course it is a peculiar pet!
Broadly speaking, there is talk of a docile and calm species Perfect for companion animals for being sociable with other wildlife species. However, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of a socialization process from an early age, since your shyness can transform into aggressive reactions when you feel threatened.
Though the origin of the breed is in Europe, being exact in the Flanders region, currently the habitat of the species has extended due to its quality of domestic animal, although there is talk of a lazy animal which is rarely seen jumping, it is necessary to develop it in positions that provide enough space to exercise.
The sedentary and passive rhythm of giant Flanders rabbit forces special care when feeding. It is to understand that your diet demands higher amounts of food With respect to small species, this does not mean that they should be offered rations that exceed the calories that they are able to burn during the day.
The recommended menu for this species rabbits must include a high protein and nutrient content, in the same way, it is essential to add to the diet fresh hay and of quality that contributes to the proper digestive process, it should be noted that supplying the powder presentation It can trigger respiratory problems.
In addition to the special attention that must be taken when feeding them, another aspect of relevance for the care of the giant Flanders rabbit It lies in the dimensions of the cage in which the animal is intended to live. Its weight and size demand wide spaces in which it can move without major inconvenience, it is also important to assess that it is sufficiently large not only horizontally to walk, but so high that it prevents the friction of the roof with the ears of the rabbit.
As commented at the beginning - and far from what could be assumed with such size - have a Flanders rabbit As a pet it is relatively easy, so much so, that today, there are many programs with children and patients that it includes due to its docility.
In the same way, different federations and associations are dedicated to the exclusive breeding of the species, so that like any other animal, what has to prevail is the compromise and responsibility to them.
The story of a giant rabbit
The (giant) rabbit from Flanders has a long history, of several hundred years. His first records date back to the 16th century and to the city of Ghent in Belgium, although there are authors who say that the first giant rabbits in Flanders did not appear until the 19th century.
They were probably born from the hybridization of other races now disappeared, the Belgian free and the common Steenkonijn, or rabbit of a typical pound of this country. In its origin, the rabbits were raised to provide meat and skin. In the 19th century, this rabbit variety was all the rage and was exported to the United Kingdom and America.
However, in 1900 the attention on this animal was declining and, although it is still quite common, not everyone remembers that there is so its image it still travels the networks as if it were a hoax. But nothing is further from reality: the rabbit exists and is as big as a dog.
What is the biggest rabbit in the world?
At the moment, the largest live rabbits belong to this breed, which in turn is part of the same species as the rest of common rabbits, Oryctolagus cuniculus. The record is held by "Darius", an animal that in 2010 reached the meter with twenty centimeters. Rabbits are lagomorphs, a fairly extensive order among which are the beaks or Patagonian rabbits.
They also count each other, of course, the hares, no matter how much they are similar to rabbits, are not of the same species, as well as a dozen more genres. That without counting the extinct. In general, the order Lagomorph He is famous for being as prolific as his members. And in the meantime "rabbit", has he been the greatest of all?
If the Flanders giant holds the gross title among the current ones, the king was undoubtedly the giant rabbit of Menorca, or Nuralagus rex, a huge bug that lived until the Pliocene and that could weigh, we estimate, about twenty three kilos.
Big rabbits or obese rabbits?
Flemish giant rabbits have been selected by hybridization, which is the type of natural selection led by the human hand used in a traditional way. Thanks to this selection system today we have domestic animals and domestic vegetables, among others.
However, this way of forcing evolution has its physiological consequences. Although Flemish giant rabbits are perfectly happy, if you do not take care of your diet and your treatment you may suffer from various injuries. For example, if they get overweight, something relatively simple, these animals can develop a serious problem in their spine.
This can also happen if they are not handled properly since your body mass is too big for your bones, which can cause them injuries. In general, these rabbits are like the rest: meek and docile before the right treatment. The only difference with a domestic one from another race is in its size.
This means that it needs more space and more food, as well as more cleaning. A giant rabbit from Flanders can reach an amazing figure of ten kilos, something more than some large dogs.
Characteristics of Flemish giant rabbits
These large pets have the peculiarity of being very quiet and therefore, they will not be seen running very often, being more usual to move to eat, inspect the land and little else. Nor are they given to the jumps, since they will suffer their joints in the impact against the ground, they prefer to stay on the mainland.
Its anatomy is very similar to that of any common rabbit, although it has many features that remind us of free, having long ears, which start being very thin to end with very wide rounded edges. Amazing to see its large hind legs, with a very elongated plant. The tail will end in a beak and will generally be partly white. The nose will be long and large, with a strong lower gill, which will be more common in females than in males.
The coloration of their fur will also remind us of the hares, because it mixes brown with gold, gray and black, having a white belly or a lighter color. Although there are also black or even white specimens, their breeding has not been much encouraged, since there are few who have these animals as pets and therefore, their coloring is not given importance.
These pets are rarely found in Spain or southern Europe, being a perfect companion rabbit in northern Europe, where they originate.
"Can I have a giant rabbit, please?"
In fact, yes. As we have said, it is not an animal difficult to find. It is relatively common. And, in addition, It is a easy and pleasant being, easy to maintain and care for. The only drawback is the space you need. Unlike other rabbits, it cannot be limited to a small confinement space, because it gets stressed and suffers a lot.
The United States Department of Agriculture requires for these animals a minimum space of half a square meter for proper accommodation, although at least one square meter is advised. On the other hand, unlike other smaller rabbits, their weight has to be taken into account with all kinds of details: the ground, the house where they make their burrow, or even resting implements.
But in general, having a giant Flanders rabbit as a pet is relatively straightforward. In fact, it is currently used in several programs with children and patients due to its docility. There are even several federations and associations dedicated exclusively to this breed and its breed. So, having said all this, and always with the mind idea of being completely responsible with animals, nothing prevents us from taking care of one.
Flanders rabbit care
The main thing that Flanders giant rabbit is going to need is space. If in the common rabbits that we have as a pet this was an important premise, when we talk about these, it becomes much more important, since with its size, having a very small space can be a martyrdom for the animal, so you will have to opt for the larger cages that you find in pet stores, although if they seem very small, what you will have to look at are special field huts or even aviaries that will have perfect measures for these animals. You should also see if cages for other pets can serve as dog cages, since it will be much larger.
The important thing in these cases is not that the cage has a vertical structure, but quite the opposite, how much longer length have much better, since the animal will only be placed on the two hind legs on some occasions, but it will stretch and need to occupy as much space as possible.
It should be noted that hygiene is also essential, having to clean it every week at the most, preventing the cage from having moisture and many feces.
Flanders rabbits feeding
The Flanders rabbit has a diet very similar to that of other breeds, but with the difference that they will eat much more. When a conventional rabbit can get to eat a bag of a kilo in a week or two, this pet can eat it in a few days, so you will have to buy lots of food so that it is satiated, although you must remember that it will not be good to let them be carried away by their voracious appetite, since they have a tendency to take a lot of weight, being very harmful to their joints. According to many caregivers and owners of these pets, one way to have them healthy and very strong is to give them a lot of fruit and vegetables a day, being able to graze freely in the field. If this is not possible, you will have to supply a lot of hay, as long as your intestinal transit works well, since like normal rabbits, you usually have digestive problems.
Although they are very lazy animals, you must remove them from their cages or places where they are for at least an hour, giving them game and making them walk and move, in this way they will stretch their legs and get to burn all the calories they have eaten out of the day
Water must be abundant, so conventional bottles are not going to be used for these large animals, having to have bowls. These must be changed at least daily, and it is recommended that the day be changed at least once, to verify that the water is clean and fresh.
It is a rabbit whose breed is one of the largest. Usually, a standard rabbit usually weighs between 3 and 4 kilos. The giant of Flanders weighs between 7 and 10 kilos and they have even registered copies with 18 kilos. As you can see, the difference not only in weight, but in size is considerable. It is important that if you are going to have it as a pet, first make sure that you are going to be able to take care of it correctly and give it what it needs.
There are many people who love tiny animals and when they grow up, they end up hating them and abandoning them. If we are going to have a pet, we must have clear ideas and know the species and its care thoroughly before acquiring it. Before hand it is known that this rabbit It weighs much more than the ordinary and has a large size equal to that of a dog.
Its head is quite characteristic for being wide and large. The double chin makes him look like an expert in martial arts and his ears are quite long and large. Therefore, they are not straight but have a V-shape. Its tail is rounded and its arched spine can be seen.
This species has different varieties and in them reside the multitude of colors that we can find. There are blacks, browns, whites, grays and even blues and beige.
Big or obese rabbit?
It is possible that many people, when they see this rabbit of enormous size, end up confusing its volume with obesity. The giant Flanders rabbit has been selected by hybridization and corresponds to the usual type of natural selection directed by the human being. Because of this type of natural selection we can find domestic animals and even domestic vegetables today.
This type of evolution conditioned by the hand of the human being can bring physiological consequences. And it is that this type of rabbits can be perfectly happy despite their size. However, their diet is vital, since if they are already large, if they end up getting fat they could have serious injuries.
That a giant Flanders rabbit catches some overweight is very common, since it is difficult to resist the look of grief they put on when they want food. But we must remember that they are animals with very little or no physical activity, so their caloric expenditure is minimal. If this is always the case, the best thing is to make something move with a ball or toy to attract or reduce meals. If our rabbit suffers from overweight it is possible that he will have serious problems in the spine.
I hope that with these tips you can enjoy your giant Flanders rabbit without any problem.