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Silver Marten Rabbit: Facts, Care Guide, Pictures & More

Jessica Kim

By Jessica Kim

silver marten rabbit showing its spectacular bearing and color while sunset

The Silver Marten Rabbit first appeared in the 1920s, and its creation was a bit of an accident. While they’re fairly rare, this rabbit breed is very popular in agriculture and pet shows today. In general, Silver Marten Rabbits make wonderful pets and are relatively easy to care for. Here’s what you need to know about Silver Marten Rabbits if you’re interested in caring for one as a pet.

Size: Medium
Weight: 6.5–9 pounds
Lifespan: 5–8 years
Similar Breeds: Californian Rabbit, French Angora French Lop, Rex
Suitable for: Experienced rabbit owners with other rabbits
Temperament: Playful, sweet, shy

Silver Marten Rabbits are best known for their unique appearance. They have extremely soft fur and adorable upright ears. Silver Marten Rabbits tend to be shyer and more timid than other medium and large rabbit breeds. However, they’re very hardy and can become very playful once they feel comfortable around you. So, it always feels special when a Silver Marten Rabbit starts acting outgoing and playful whenever it sees you.


Silver Marten Rabbit Breed Characteristics


How Much Do These Rabbits Cost?

Silver Marten Rabbits are US natives, but they’re quite rare. So, it can be difficult to find a breeder near you. They can cost between $30 and $60, and prices will depend on the breeder’s location, the popularity and demand for Silver Marten Rabbits in the surrounding area, and the rabbit’s pedigree. Bunnies with show winners in their pedigree can be sold for double the average price.

One of the best ways to find a Silver Marten Rabbit is by visiting the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) website and looking up breeders nearest you. You can also visit conventions and shows hosted by ARBA to find Silver Marten Rabbit breeders.

The Silver Marten Rabbit Club is listed as an official organization on the ARBA website. However, the club doesn’t have an official website, and you can either make a phone call or send an email if you’re interested in contacting someone for more information about the club.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Silver Marten Rabbit

Do These Rabbits Make Good Pets? 👪

In general, Silver Marten Rabbits make excellent pets. They’re quite hardy and relatively healthy, so they tend to be a little more low-maintenance than other rabbit breeds. It’s important for owners to match their calm and quiet demeanor since these rabbits can be quite shy at first.  Being a calm presence will help Silver Marten Rabbits feel safer and more comfortable in your home more quickly.

Does This Rabbit Get Along With Other Pets?

Silver Marten Rabbits can get along with other rabbits, especially if they’re from the same litter. They’re not known to be aggressive, so they’re not likely to bite or attack other animals. These rabbits are timid, despite their larger size, so they’re more likely to run away and hide if they come across a larger animal, like a cat or dog.

Make sure to introduce your Silver Marten Rabbit to other pets incrementally and at a gentle pace. It may take several weeks for your rabbit to get used to seeing another animal. Owners should also be ready to accept that their Silver Marten Rabbits may not ever fully adjust or feel completely comfortable around a larger animal.


Things to Know When Owning a Silver Marten Rabbit

Food & Diet Requirements 🥕

A Silver Marten Rabbit’s diet doesn’t deviate significantly from the average rabbit’s diet. Silver Marten Rabbits are herbivores with diets that mostly consist of hay or grass. Most veterinarians will recommend hay or grass to take up about 70% of a rabbit’s diet.

Your Silver Marten Rabbit will need a fresh supply of hay or grass every day, along with a handful of fresh leafy greens, herbs, and weeds. Rabbits can enjoy a variety of leafy greens and herbs, including Bok choy, carrot tops, cilantro, mustard greens, and romaine lettuce. It’s best to avoid iceberg lettuce because it doesn’t contain very many nutrients.

Silver Marten Rabbits will also benefit from eating rabbit pellets daily. These pellets will ensure that your rabbit is getting all their nutritional needs met. You can also feed your Silver Marten Rabbit some fruit, but they should only be given as occasional treats because they contain a lot of sugar.

Habitat & Hutch Requirements 🏠

As a medium-sized breed, Silver Marten Rabbits require large hutches and often benefit from multi-level habitats that enable them to hop around. These rabbits are playful, so they’ll benefit from spending time outside of their hutches in a large playpen or enclosed space where they can let loose.

Since they’re quite shy, Silver Marten Rabbits will appreciate having several hiding spaces in their enclosure. They’ll also prefer having their food in secluded areas in their hutches.

Exercise & Sleeping Needs 🐇

Most Silver Marten Rabbits love playing with toys, like balls made of fiber and wooden chews. As foragers, they’ll enjoy enrichment opportunities that enable them to use their senses to locate food. Hiding food in a room or using a treat dispenser toy are great ways to encourage your Silver Marten Rabbit to exercise.

Silver Marten Rabbits are most active in the early morning and late afternoon. They usually sleep about 8 to 9 hours a day and need a safe and secluded sleeping area where they can rest undisturbed.

Training 🥎

Silver Marten Rabbits are quite intelligent and can be trained by using treats. Many Silver Marten Rabbits are capable of recognizing their names. They can also be successful in learning to be potty trained. Just keep in mind that potty-training rabbits to pee in a litter box or tray is fairly easy, but it’s much more challenging for them to poop in one area consistently.

Grooming ✂️

Silver Marten Rabbits have low grooming needs. They’ll benefit from being brushed about twice a week to prevent any tangling or matting. Rabbits are self-cleaning and don’t require baths unless they’ve gotten into a serious mess.

Lifespan and Health Conditions 🏥

Silver Marten Rabbits are quite hardy and healthy and aren’t known to have any serious genetic health issues. Providing a healthy diet, plenty of exercise opportunities, and keeping their environment clean can help Silver Marten Rabbits live long and happy lives.

Minor Conditions
  • Overgrown teeth
  • Ear mites
Serious Conditions
  • Cancers from not spaying or neutering
  • Flystrike
  • Bladder sludge or stones

Male vs Female

There are very few differences between males and females. Some people believe that females have stronger personalities than males, but it’s an inconsistent claim and lacks sufficient evidence. You may notice more differences in behaviors depending on whether a rabbit has been neutered or spayed.

Unneutered male Silver Marten Rabbits may act more territorial and be more difficult to potty train. This is because they mark their territory by urinating and mounting objects. Unspayed females may be a little moodier and more territorial, and they can start to become more active when they’re ready to mate in their heat cycle.divider_rabbit

The 3 Little-Known Facts About Silver Marten Rabbits

1. They’re Offshoots of the Chinchilla Rabbit

Chinchilla Rabbits were bred for their soft fur. They became critically endangered at one point, so ARBA stepped in, and breeders started to work on protecting and growing the breed’s population. Breeders also worked on improving the Chinchilla Rabbit’s coat color and pattern by breeding them with rabbits with black and tan in their coats.

The selective breeding eventually developed black rabbits. Breeders first referred to these rabbits as “strange little black rabbits.” ARBA worked to establish breed standards for these new rabbits, and the first Silver Marten Rabbit club was established in 1927.

2. They Have Four Main Color Varieties

Today, ARBA allows four different color varieties of Silver Marten Rabbits to enter shows:

  • Black Silver Marten Rabbit
  • Chocolate Silver Marten Rabbit
  • Blue Silver Marten Rabbit
  • Sable Silver Marten Rabbit

The Black and Chocolate Silver Marten Rabbits were the first varieties to be recognized by ARBA. The Blue Silver Marten Rabbit was accepted in 1933, and the Sable Silver Marten Rabbit was recognized much later in 1993.

3. They’re the Smallest Breed of Commercial Rabbits

Rabbits are often categorized by their body types. You can find rabbits falling into one of five categories:

  • Full arch
  • Semi-arch
  • Compact
  • Commercial
  • Cylindrical

Silver Marten Rabbits belong in the Commercial category. These rabbits are medium-length, and the depth of their body is the same as the width of their body. Other rabbit breeds in the category include American Chinchillas, French Lops, Harlequins, Palominos, and American Sables.


Final Thoughts

Overall, Silver Marten Rabbits are wonderful animals that make excellent companion pets. It may take a while for them to warm up to you, but you’ll find that they’re extremely playful and affectionate once they’ve bonded with you. Silver Marten Rabbits are quite hardy and healthy, so they’re relatively easy to take care of and are excellent choices for first-time rabbit owners. The only issue is finding a Silver Marten Rabbit breeder, as there aren’t many breeders in the US. So, caring for a Silver Marten Rabbit is an extra-special experience. These affectionate rabbits will return the love that you show them, and they’ll make a wonderful new addition to your family.

Featured Image Credit to: Sergio Moreno P, Shutterstock

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