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7 Types of Rabbit Eye Colors and Their Rarity (With Pictures)
If you are fascinated with rabbits or are looking to purchase one as a pet, you may be interested to know what color eyes you can find and how rare each one is. We’ve scoured the internet and spoke with a few pet stores to create the largest list of rabbit eye colors we could, and we are going to present it to you here, along with a short description of each, to let you know how rare it is. We think you’ll be surprised to find out there are so many varieties, so keep reading.
Let’s take a look at each color in order of how common it is.
The gene for brown eyes is dominant in rabbits. Therefore, brown is the most commonly seen eye color in domestic rabbits. Within the brown family, you can find at least four distinct shades, from lightest to darkest.
Amber eyes are common in wild rabbits but rarely seen in domestic pets. Hares are a species that many people confuse with rabbits but are larger with bigger ears will often have amber eyes. Amber eyes is the result of a yellow gene overpowering the brown gene.
Rabbit eye color is the result of two pigments. Eumelanin creates a dark brown color, while pheomelanin creates light brown. The size of these particles will also affect eye color. Those with larger particles will appear to have dark brown eyes, while smaller particles will leave the rabbit with blue eyes. These particles can increase in size as the rabbit ages causing the eyes to darken in many cases.
The blue/grey eye color seen in some rabbits is a little rarer than the others. Rabbits with blue/grey eyes have small eumelanin particles but larger pheomelanin particles that give the eye a grey color. Though this color is rarer, it’s still a natural hue.
A rabbit with pink eyes is rare, but unlike the ones we’ve talked about already, it’s not a new color. The pink eyes are the result of a genetic mutation that dilutes the natural brown to pink. It happens when the rabbit receives two copies or a recessive gene that dilutes the color. Looking closely, you can see the brown or blue that the rabbit would have had.
6. Ruby Red
Ruby red eyes are the result of albinism and are quite rare, especially in the wild, where the gene for albinism is recessive. However, many people like white rabbits, so many breeders create them for a profit. Albino rabbits are sensitive to the sun, and you’ll need to keep it in a dimly lit environment, but they are perfectly healthy otherwise. All rabbits with red eyes will also have white fur. If you know of a rabbit with colored fur and red eyes, it could have a dangerous medical problem requiring a visit to the vet as soon as possible.
Another genetic disorder called sectoral heterochromia is responsible for marbled eyes, and it is extremely rare. It divides the iris into several sections of various sizes and colors and can result in any combination of brown, blue, and blue/grey. Each eye is independent and will display a different pattern.
Besides the seven colors we’ve mentioned above, there are two other colors commonly mistaken for rabbit eye colors: flash-red and white.
Flash red is not an eye color at all but is the result of a camera flash. Most people familiar with flash photography are familiar with this effect in humans, and many of us have seen pictures of ourselves with red eyes. Many people may see a picture of a rabbit they like, not realizing it has red eyes due to flash photography.
White eyes on a rabbit can only be due to a cataract medical condition, which usually occurs only in older rabbits. Like flash red, it’s possible to see a photograph of this color and mistakenly believe that some rabbits are available with this color eyes. However, it’s not something you want your rabbit to have.
If you are shopping for a new rabbit for your home, you’ll find most have brown eyes with the occasional blue and blue/grey-eyed rabbit found in some stores. You will likely need to find a breeder to get an albino rabbit with red eyes, but if you live in a dimly lit home, it can be a good choice. You will be lucky to find one with marbled eyes, and it might also cost the most.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide and have learned something new about rabbits and their eye colors. If we have helped answer your questions, please share this guide to the seven rabbit eye colors and their rarity on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured image credit: goodlynx, Pixabay
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.