English lop rabbits are a breed of rabbits native to the United Kingdom. They are large, interactive, social animals. Compared to other breeds of floppy rabbits, English lop rabbits have longer floppy ears and bolder heads. They are cute animals, pleasant to look at. Also, English lops come in different colors, including agouti, blue and black torts, and red-eyed white. English lop rabbits may come in solid or broken colors. Many people believe that the English lop is the first domesticated breed of rabbits. English lops make good pets to children and parents alike although they can be very aggressive when provoked.
Characteristics of the English Lop Rabbits
English lop rabbits have an average life span of 5-7 years but may live up to 10 years on rare occasions. Baby lops are born naked, deaf and blind. And they do not open their eyes until about 7 to 14 days old. It is better to allow mother lops to wean their young ones for optimal grooming and nourishments. English lop rabbits come in a variety of solid or broken colors. They are social, friendly pets. They are easy to train, and does not cost so much to keep them as pets. Just like the American lopsreference, English lop rabbits require regular body exercise, preferably on a daily basis. They are more active and fun in the company of mates.
Diets of English Lop Rabbits
Essentially, English lop rabbits feed on hay and pellets. Just like rat pellets make up the majority of food for dumbo ratsreference, hay and pellets, together make up to 70 per cent of English lops’ entire diet, and contain essential nutrients they require for good functionality and productivity. Hay, preferably Timothy hay and pellets essentially contain carbohydrate and fiber. Carbohydrate provide energy for daily activities while fibers help stimulate digestion in English lops. Fibers also help strengthen digestive systems in English lops. Pellets also contain mineral elements, including phosphorus and magnesium which maintain normal blood pressure in English lop rabbits. Fresh vegetables such as dandelions, cabbage, cauliflower leaves and stalks, carrots and kales, may be fed to English lops. These vegetables contain minerals such as boron and iodine which are beneficial to English lop rabbits. Also, fresh fruits, including watermelon, blueberries, strawberries, cucumbers, grapes, apples, and banana, may be fed to English lops as a source of vitamin C. Vitamin C enhances good eyesight in English lop rabbits just like in humans and other animals. In addition, protein-rich foods, specially produced for rabbits are good for English lops as they contain essential amino acids and direct-fed microbial. Amino acids perform functions such as promoting healthy growth, enhancing formation of furs, helping in formation of tissues, and repair of worn-out tissues in animals and humans alike. Direct-fed microbial enhances digestibility of foods in rabbits and also makes nutrients readily available for body use. Lastly, English lop rabbits should be provided with plenty of neat water regularly.
Breeding and Reproduction of English Lop Rabbits
Breeding of English lop rabbits is not different from that of the American lop rabbit, and can occur at any time of the year. If they would have their way, the English lops can breed throughout the year. But this is not safe for their health especially the female rabbits. A female rabbit, known as a doe is sexually-matured for mating from 2 months of age. Usually, the female rabbit is taken to a sexually-mature male for mating. Once they are left together for a few hours, mating occurs naturally between them. The male should be separated from the female after mating might have taken place. Gestation occurs for one month. A doe begins to exhibit territoriality when it is about the time it would give birth. This is an obvious sign that the rabbit owner should look out for. In addition, the doe begins to prepare special nest to contain and hide the expected babies. A doe gives birth to 6 babies on the average per litter and can produce 8 or 10 litters per year. The babies are usually born hairless, deaf, and blind. Rabbits, regardless of species, are very prolific animals.
Care of the English Lop Rabbits
The first aspect of care of the English lop rabbit is caging. The cage should be large enough, at least twice the length of the rabbit when it lies down, stretching its body; and should be high enough so that the floppy ears of the rabbit do not squash onto the ground when it stands up. The enclosure should give room for the rabbit to hop and lounge around because rabbits enjoy doing this as often as they like. Although a rabbit does not require as costly bedding as Abyssinian pig, the bedding should be made of soft clothing, preferably a blanket or neat old clothes or commercial bedding. Also, the floor of the bedding should be made of solid material rather than a grid of bars. No special lighting may be required as rabbits sleep at night and hop around in dusk and dawn. Health-wise, English lop rabbits only need moderate grooming of their fur because they groom themselves. It may also be necessary to wipe the rabbit’s body with a damp piece of cloth, and a quick brushing of their teeth should be done once in a week. English lop should be let out of its cage at least once per week to enable them get more familiar with their environment, and to better exercise their bodies. However, the rabbit should not be let out in such a way that recovering it back to its cage would be difficult.
In general, rabbits have teeth that grow continuously, and overgrown teeth can cause them discomfort. Therefore, it is essential to help trim their teeth and nails regularly. Rabbits contain a lot of worms in their stomachs. Thus, it is vital to deworm English rabbits with deworming medication. It is also paramount to take them out to a veterinarian regularly.
The English lop rabbits are lively, adorable, social animal. Just like the American type, it is easy to maintain them. However, care should be taken to control their breeding to forestall having challenges providing adequate shelter and care for them.