Brazil, a country known for its diverse culture, rich history, and breathtaking sceneries is also home to an underappreciated breed of rabbits – the Brazilian rabbit or Rustico. Despite being one of the rarest breeds to find outside of Brazil, these hardy and good-tempered rabbits are a great choice for a family pet.
History of the Brazilian Rabbit
Believed to have descended from Portuguese sailing ships, the Brazilian rabbit initially formed a new population in Brazil, which led to the development of its distinct traits. The friendly, docile, and adaptable nature of the Brazilian rabbit makes it an excellent pet for families of all skill levels. However, due to its rarity and unrecognized breed status, finding a Brazilian rabbit in the United States can be quite a challenge.
Characteristics of the Brazilian Rabbit
Brazilian rabbits are medium-sized and weigh between 6 to 8 pounds, with a lifespan of 8 to 12 years. They are comparable to breeds such as English spot, Argent blue, and Baladi. Brazilian rabbits are generally calm and even-tempered, which makes them easy to socialize with humans of all ages. Their friendly demeanor also means they can be trained to come when they are called and learn simple tricks.
Cost of Brazilian Rabbits
While Brazilian rabbits are cheap and easy to find in Brazil, they are rare in the United States, and there are only a few breeders available. The majority of Brazilian rabbits in the US are from a few of the breeds imported to Arizona in the 1980s. Consequently, those selling Brazilian rabbits in the US often price them at over $100, significantly increasing their value due to their rarity.
Temperament and Intelligence of Brazilian Rabbit
Although Brazilian rabbits are often bred as meat rabbits in Brazil, they suit well as family pets due to their calm nature. Brazilian rabbits have often been kept as free-range rabbits in Brazil, grazing on a variety of grasses and weeds not necessarily nutritious to humans and then called back to their hutches or pens at night. Therefore, it’s essential to ascertain their personalities so that they can adapt to your home environment.
Do Brazilian Rabbits Get Along with Other Pets?
Brazilian rabbits are friendly and can get along with other pets, including other rabbits. Although it may take a while for them to adapt and adjust during the introduction phase, Brazilian rabbits can live happily with dogs and cats. However, it’s essential to supervise them to maintain a safe and peaceful coexistence.
Food & Diet Requirements for Brazilian Rabbits
Brazilian rabbits thrive on a diet primarily composed of vegetables, with hay making up a considerable part of their food. Brazilian rabbits in Brazil tend to eat a range of grasses and weeds, which are not necessarily nutritious to humans. However, if you keep a Brazilian rabbit as a pet, they’ll be healthiest with a standard diet of hay supplemented by pellets and vegetables. Rabbits should also have access to plenty of fresh hay, up to 1/4 cup of pellets, and 1-2 cups of fresh vegetables daily.
Habitat & Hutch Requirements for Brazilian Rabbits
Brazilian rabbits are active creatures and need ample space to hop and play. Thus, their hutch or cage should be at least 6 x 2 x 2 feet, not forgetting access to food, water, and bedding. Brazilian rabbits can also be successfully raised free-range with a fenced, rabbit-proof yard that allows them to graze and live outdoors, with access to a sheltered hutch or sleeping area.
Exercise and Sleeping Needs
Brazilian rabbits need enough room to play and explore. Rabbits love playing with various toys, and providing such toys will help them stay happy. If your rabbit mainly lives in a hutch, it should be spacious enough for them to hop and play. Brazilian rabbits also require a safe sleeping space, preferably a sheltered box or other dark space to sleep in.
Grooming Brazilian Rabbits
Brazilian rabbits have dense fur that requires minimal grooming, with occasional nail trimming necessary. Rabbits don’t usually like being submerged in water, so spot bathing (using a wet washcloth to clean a specific spot) or dry bathing (cleaning with cornstarch or another fine powder) is recommended when cleaning their fur.
Lifespan and Health Conditions for Brazilian Rabbits
Due to their rarity, not much is known about the lifespan and health of Brazilian rabbits. However, they are known to be a hardy and adaptable breed capable of living up to twelve years with proper care. Like all rabbits, they may develop health conditions such as dental disease, gut stasis, and uterine tumors (common in unspayed female rabbits), fleas, and head tilt.
Male vs Female Brazilian Rabbits
Male Brazilian rabbits tend to be larger and have a thicker body type than females. On the other hand, female Brazilian rabbits have a slimmer arched body type. Unspayed females are susceptible to uterine tumors as they age, leading to various health complications, shortening their lifespan. It’s always recommended to spay or neuter all rabbits not used for breeding, preventing various health conditions.
In conclusion, Brazilian rabbits are a rare and underappreciated breed of rabbits but make excellent family pets due to their friendly, docile and adaptable nature. With proper care, feeding, grooming, and housing, Brazilian rabbits can live a long and happy life.