Rex rabbits make wonderful pets that are cuddly, cute, and easy to care for. This lovely rabbit originated in France in the early 1900s and is a product of the recessive rex gene. The gene blessed the Rex rabbit with luxuriously plush fur that’s dense and smooth. Rex rabbits were quickly welcomed by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) and have become a favorite in the United States.
If you’re considering a Rex rabbit as a pet, you’ll need breed information to be an exemplary owner. We’ll discuss how long Rex rabbits live and how you can ensure they live long happy lives. The average lifespan of a Rex rabbit is between 6 and 8 years, which is not a long time. Yes, some Rexes can and will live significantly longer, but statistically, that’s not the norm.
The 8 Reasons Why Some Rex Rabbits Live Longer Than Others
While they might not live to be 100, if you care for your Rex rabbit correctly, you can lengthen its life and ensure it stays healthy and happy in your home. Below we’ll look at the significant factors affecting every Rex rabbit’s health and lifespan.
Rex rabbits need a high-quality, well-balanced diet consisting of about 70% hay and rabbit pellets and 30% treats like fruits and leafy, green veggies. Since rabbits are grazers that constantly eat throughout the day, food should always be available for your Rex rabbit to munch on. The same goes for fresh water, which should be refreshed once or twice daily.
2. Environment and Conditions
It’s critical that whatever you use and wherever you place your Rex rabbit in your home, it should be well-ventilated. It must be dry, draft-free, and not exposed to direct sunlight, which can easily get too hot for your bunny. Rex rabbits, like most breeds, enjoy temperatures between 12° to 21°C (55° to 70°F). Like all rabbits, the Rex can tolerate slightly lower temperatures but tend to suffer from too much heat or too warm an environment. If kept outside, it’s critical that your rabbit’s living area stays dry and is protected from severe weather.
3. Cage / Hutch Size
One of the most important aspects of your Rex rabbit’s life will be its living area, whether indoors or outdoors. First and foremost, ensure the enclosure (hutch, cage, pen, etc.) is large enough. Experts recommend at least 5 feet long, 3.5 feet wide, and at least 18 inches high and agree that a bigger enclosure is always better.
It’s also recommended the floor of your Rex’s enclosure is solid and not wire mesh since the wire can injure your pet’s feet. Lastly, your rabbit will need at least 2 to 4 inches of straw, paper pulp, or shredded cardboard as bedding. One important thing to note is to avoid pine or cedar shavings and sawdust, as they can cause health issues for your Rex. In addition, you should avoid using artificially scented bedding.
Your Rex rabbit’s size isn’t something you control, but you can ensure your pet stays at the proper weight by feeding them a well-balanced diet and ensuring they get plenty of exercise on a daily basis.
Statistically, male rabbits live about 40% longer than female rabbits. On average, male pet rabbits of all species live an average of 5.2 years, while females live about 3.7 years. That being said, male rabbits are more likely than females to have overgrown nails, teeth, and dental disease.
It’s critical that you adopt your Rex rabbit from a caring, conscientious breeder. That will ensure that your new pet has fewer health issues down the road and will undoubtedly empower our Rex to live a longer, healthier life.
7. Breeding History
You should look for a breeder who maintains a sanitary facility, checks their rabbits for health issues, and doesn’t overbreed any rabbits to exhaustion or ill health.
Taking your Rex rabbit to the vet at least once a year is highly recommended. Because they are prey animals, rabbits have developed methods to hide their illnesses and prevent becoming targets for predators. In other words, rabbits can hide their illness from you, so an annual vet checkup is critical.
The 5 Life Stages of a Rex Rabbit
1. Newborn: 0 to 2 months
Newborn Rex rabbits are hairless, helpless, and tiny. Typically, they wean until about 8 weeks and should be given this time to get the immunity their mother passes to them. In some states, selling a Rex or any other breed of rabbit less than 8 weeks old is illegal for this very reason.
2. Adolescent: 2 to 6 months
Adolescent male Rex rabbits will reach sexual maturity in the first few weeks after you adopt them if your breeder allows you to adopt them at 2 months. They will then start to “hump” things, including female Rexes, toys, and other objects. Females take up to 8 months to reach sexual maturity. During this phase, they can be overly aggressive thanks to the hormones surging through their tiny bodies. This is the best time to spay or neuter your Rex.
3. Young Adult: 6 to 18 months
Most rabbits at this age are very aggressive chewers, and some can be aggressive diggers, also. Excessive energy is 100% normal during this time, too, and your Rex will purposefully avoid letting you touch, pet, or hold them.
4. Adult: 18 months to 4 years
There’s a lot of debate about which age range constitutes an “adult” Rex rabbit. Some say up to 7 years, but since most rabbits don’t reach this age, many rabbit experts believe it’s less. Whatever the actual numbers are, your Rex rabbit will likely be the most cuddly and have less aggressive digging and chewing tendencies during adulthood. They will also be calmer and allow you to engage with them with less risk of hopping away.
5. Senior: 5 years to 10+ years
The typical Rex rabbit will start showing signs of old age between 5 and 7 years. The signs include less energy, thinning fur, sleeping more, and losing weight. This is when you might need to change their environment to make it easier for your bunny buddy to get around, including softer bedding and other considerations. Checking in with your vet twice a year after your Rex reaches 5 years of age is highly recommended to ensure they stay healthy and happy.
How to Tell Your Rex Rabbit’s Age
Determining how old your Rex rabbit is can be relatively difficult if you haven’t adopted it as a kitten. The reason is that, compared to many mammals, rabbits show few changes as they age. Below are a few signs that might help, but, in truth, determining the exact age of your Rex might be impossible.
- Their activity level drops significantly when a Rex rabbit is a senior
- A Rexes coat will get coarser and may speckle as it ages
- Older rabbits will often have sores on their hocks
- Older Rex rabbits will usually lose weight
- Senior rabbits react less, sleep more, and engage with their owners less frequently
- An older Rex will groom itself less frequently
- Since they eat less, older Rex rabbits usually have overgrown teeth and wet chins from drooling
There’s more than a little debate about how long Rex rabbits live. Some experts we found say that it’s 6 to 8 years, while others insist a well-cared-for Rex can live up to 12 years. Whatever the reality, the better you care for your Rex, the longer it will live, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
That’s the same for any pet, but it is more important for Rex rabbits as they can hide their health issues thanks to eons of evolution to evade predators. Veterinary check ups will go far towards preventing any major health issues and ensure your Rex lives as long a life as possible.