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Brazilian Rabbit

Nicole Cosgrove

The Brazilian rabbit is a popular pet that originated in Europe and was brought to Brazil by Portuguese sailors. Neither the American Rabbit Breeders Association nor the British Rabbit Council recognizes this breed, so it’s fairly rare and few breeders can be found outside Brazil. Join us while we take a closer look at this unique rabbit breed.

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Quick Facts about the Brazilian Rabbit

Species Name: Sylvilagus brasiliensis
Family: Leporidae
Care Level: Easy
Temperature: All climates
Temperament: Friendly, gentle, calm
Color Form: Blue, black, white, fawn
Lifespan: 5–10 years
Size: 7–11 pounds
Diet: Grass, vegetables, hay
Minimum Cage Size: 30” L x 30” W x 24” H
Cage Set-Up: Litter box, food bowl, water bowl
Compatibility: Can live with other animals

Brazilian Rabbit Overview

The Brazilian rabbit is native to South America, and you can often find them playing among the bushes in meadows and hilly areas. It’s also popular in the market as food and as a pet. There are a few breeders in the United Kingdom, and there is a small population in Arizona that the Peace Corps began maintaining in the 1980s. Outside these limited populations, you will have a hard time finding these rare rabbits. However, they make great pets, have an easy-going personality, and are available in several colors.

The Brazilian Rabbit
Image Credit: The Brazilian Rabbit, Flickr

How Much Do Brazilian Rabbit Cost?

Since neither the American Rabbit Breeders Association nor the British Rabbit Council recognizes this rabbit breed, it can be extremely difficult to find a breeder unless you take a trip to Brazil. Since they are so rare, you can expect to pay more than $100 for this rabbit plus any transportation costs, which can get quite expensive. It won’t be easy to find in the United States, and you are unlikely to see one at the local pet store.

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Typical Behavior & Temperament

The Brazilian rabbit is gentle and friendly. It’s a social breed that likes to be around humans and other pets but is especially fond of other Brazilian rabbits. Most experts highly recommend purchasing these animals in groups of at least two to have company throughout their lives, which will reduce stress levels, leading to fewer health issues, and longer life. This breed will sit on your lap and snuggle up to you while they take a nap and are most active when the sun is coming up and going down.

Appearance & Varieties

The Brazilian rabbit has a thick coat. The guard hair is long and coarse, while the undercoat will be fluffy and soft. The males have the typical round body while the females have a semi arched, mandolin-shaped body, so it’s easy to tell them apart.

Colors and Patterns

The Brazilian rabbit is available in several colors and patterns. The typical patterns you will see in these rabbits include self, broken, and Californian. The colors you will find include primarily blue and black. However, you can find these colors in several dilute varieties, including the blue chin, blue frosted, blue steel, blue fawn, smoked blue pearl, opal, and several more. Most rabbits will have hazel to blue-grey colored eyes except for the rare Californian style that gives the rabbit ruby red eyes.

Brazilian Rabbit
Image Credit: Dick Culbert, Flickr

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How to Take Care of Brazilian Rabbits

The Brazilian rabbit, like other rabbits, is a herbivore with continuously growing front teeth. These teeth will need a steady diet of Timothy hay to wear them down and keep them under control. You will also need to brush your Brazilian rabbit once a week to keep the dense fur looking shiny and neat. Otherwise, these rabbits will need very little care besides time outside their cage to get exercise and be around family members. It’s suitable for indoor or outdoor life, but you will need to rabbit-proof your house to prevent them from chewing on wires and other household items if kept indoors. It rarely needs a bath and giving them one can cause a lot of stress to the animal, so you should only bathe one if necessary.

Habitat, Cage Conditions & Setup

Brazilian rabbits like to run and play, so the bigger the cage, the happier they will be. We recommend a minimum cage size of 30” L x 30” W x 24” H to give them some space to move around with enough room for a water bottle, food bowl, and small litter box. However, this is the minimum size, and your rabbit will appreciate something bigger. The smaller the cage, the more time you will need to let them free in your home each day, so it doesn’t feel too confined or start gaining weight.

Bedding

Many people choose cages with wire bottoms because it’s easier to clean. The feces and urine fall through the cage to a plastic tray below, and to clean it, you simply pull out the tray and wash it. You don’t even need to open the cage. However, the wire floor can be hard on the rabbit’s feet and cause injury or discomfort, especially if it’s not getting enough time outside. If you are an experienced rabbit owner, we recommend going with soft bedding for the floor. It will be more difficult to clean and require you to remove and replace the begging frequently, but it is much easier on the rabbit’s feet.

Do Brazilian Rabbits Get Along with Other Pets?

The Brazilian rabbit gets along well with other pets and will even enjoy the company of cats and dogs. However, these animals have instincts to hunt rabbits, so you will need to be careful and introduce them slowly to make sure there is no danger present for your rabbit. The Brazilian rabbit is happiest in groups of at least two.

Brazilian Rabbit
Image Credit: Bollux, Wikimedia Commons

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What to Feed Your Brazilian Rabbit

As we mentioned earlier, Brazilian rabbits need a never-ending supply of Timothy hay in their diet to properly manage their front teeth. The hay will also provide a large portion of the much-needed fiber that your rabbit requires. It will also need plenty of leafy greens and vegetables, along with a small amount of fresh fruit and commercial rabbit pellets, which will help make sure your rabbit is getting its required nutrients. It will also need a never-ending supply of fresh, clean water.

 

Keeping Your Brazilian Rabbit Healthy

The Brazilian rabbit is extremely hardy and has very few health problems as long as you keep it well stocked with Timothy hay. You will also want to keep them away from drafts and extreme temperature changes because this can make their small bodies susceptible to colds and other illnesses. High-stress levels can also lead to illness, so make sure their cage is large enough, and no other pets are chasing them around. Ear mites can also be a problem if they are outside pets, and they can get hairballs like cats from grooming themselves. Brushing them once a week can help minimize the risk of hairball obstructions.

Breeding

Since these rabbits are so rare, you might think it’s a good idea to try to breed them. However, like all rabbits, they multiply extremely quickly, and you can easily find yourself in a situation where you have more rabbits than you can house or give away, so breeding is strongly discouraged. Having too many rabbits might also put you in legal trouble, and not getting your female rabbits fixed can lead to cancer later in life.

 

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Are Brazilian Rabbits Suitable for You?

The Brazilian rabbit makes a fantastic family pet if you can find one. It’s calm and friendly, gets along with other pets, and has a reasonably long lifespan. It’s easy to maintain and only requires weekly brushing and cleaning of the cage. It’s easily stressed, so it might not like barking dogs or having children handle them, but these things are easy to manage with some simple ground rules.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this guide and have learned some new facts about this interesting and rare animal. If you have decided to find one for your home, please share this guide to the Brazilian rabbit on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image: Luiz Carlos Rocha, Flickr

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.