The American lop rabbit, scientifically known as Orictolagus cuniculus, is a breed of rabbits native to North America. History has it that the American fuzzy, as it is commonly called, originated from the Holland rabbit. However, the American fuzzy is wooly while the Holland rabbit is hairy. The American fuzzy comes in a variety of colors mix, including agouti, chichinda, brown, chocolate, lavender, black, fawn, and white. The American lop rabbits make good pets because they are gentle, non-violent, friendly animals. And they enjoy cuddling a lot.
Unique Characteristics of the American Lop Rabbit
The American lop rabbits are wooly, similar to the Angora rabbits but slightly different from the Angora rabbit by their shorter wool. The American fuzzy rabbits also come in a variety of color patterns, and have floppy ears. The American fuzzy have short, compact, medium-sized bodies. And their life span ranges between 5 and 8 years. The rabbits commonly have brown eyes which may also come in ruby red or blue colors. The American fuzzy lops are social animals; they especially enjoy playing with children but they can also play alone with toys for hours. They have broad chests and shoulders, and short tails.
Nutrition of the American Lop Rabbit
American lop rabbits, like Abyssinians, live essentially on hay for food. Hay, such as the Timothy brand makes up about 70 per cent of their food. Hay contains fibers, carbohydrates, and mineral elements, which are beneficial to American lops. Fibers help build robust digestive systems in American rabbits, and also aid digestion. Mineral elements in fibers, such as phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium help in regulating blood pressure in American lops, and in maintaining strong, healthy circulatory systems. Also, carbohydrate provides American rabbits with the needed energy for running day-to-day activities. Apart from this, American rabbits turn well to fresh vegetables, including basil, chicory, cauliflower leaves and stalks, carrot tops, kale, coriander, dandelion greens, and dill. A combination of these vegetables is preferred for the American lops to separate greens. Vegetables contain essential minerals, such as boron, phosphorus, and iodine, all of which are good for the American lops. In addition, foods rich in protein are essential for American lops, especially during the breeding season. Protein-rich feeds should be provided for building strong, robust muscles and tissues, and repair of worn out tissues. Foods that contain protein in adequate ration are Pen Pals Professional 18% and Professional 16% Rabbit Food. These protein foods contain nutrients, including amino acids, which are essential for better growth and formation of quality fur; direct-fed microbial to aid digestibility and nutrient availability; complex trace minerals; rice ban, and vitamin E.
In addition, alfalfa, rich in fibers should be included in the diet of the American lops. Also, fruits, including apples, banana, grapes, melon, nectarine and cherries should be provided occasionally as treats to American lop rabbits, just as for dogsreference and other home-bred animals. But again, all foods must be provided in moderate quantities.
Reproduction and Breeding of Rabbits
As with other species of rabbits, American lops can get pregnant and give birth at any time of the year. Also, male and female rabbits have high libido. Usually, a female rabbit is sexually mature at 12 weeks or 2 months old although, 2 months of age is more preferred for mating with a male. To perform mating, a male rabbit, known as buck, climbs a female counterpart, known as doe, from behind and grasps the female’s nape with its teeth and thrust her vigorously. Meanwhile, ejaculation takes place, and the mating process completes with the male rabbit falling over. Following mating, gestation occurs for a period of one month. Female rabbit begins nesting as soon as it is pregnant. The female prepares a special nest with its fur, and it begins to defend its territory. This behavior is the most apparent physical sign of pregnancy. A doe can produce a litter comprising 6 babies on the average but may be up to 14 babies for very productive does especially where the doe is giving birth for the first time. At birth, baby rabbits are very fragile, usually born blind, naked and deaf. Threats to baby rabbits include unfavorable weather and predators. As a norm, a mother rabbit abandons her weak baby and care for the stronger ones. And the weak babies become more liable to death if they are removed from their mother. Does are very prolific and can produce 8 to 10 litters per year on the average. Very productive does can produce up to 14 litters in per year.
Care of the American Lop Rabbit
As with hamstersreference, effective care is vital to a successful rearing of rabbits either for domestic or commercial purpose. First, a female rabbit will naturally eat strands of its wool that fall off. Swallowed wool can form a wool ball in the doe’s belly, and may block the digestive tract of the animal. The wool ball may fool the animal to feel that it has eaten enough food. Hence, the rabbit owner needs to be vigilant to notice when the pet does not eat well. It may be necessary to take the pet to a veterinarian. Second, grooming is a vital care that should be done regularly. The wool should be catered for using a soft bristle brush to smoothen the wool and to remove the dirt that clings to the wool. Occasionally, a trimming scissors may be used to cut the wool nicely. Second, deworming is another essential practice in keeping the American lops. American lops are liable to ingest worms through their feeds. Too many worms in the stomachs of rabbits may not enable them to feed well, and may result in malnutrition. Hence, veterinarian advises that deworming paste be given to rabbits twice per year. Regular cutting of teeth and nails is also crucial to keeping healthy rabbits to prevent them from overgrowing. Lastly, American lops require spacious, neatly-kept space for optimum productivity.
American lop rabbits are cute, productive animals, commonly kept as pets in many homes and places. However, they require a lot of attention and roomy space for optimum productivity. And it is not advisable to rear them where all the necessities are not available.