Enderby Island Rabbit Breed History/Origin
The Enderby Island Rabbit, which is also referred to as the Enderby Rabbit, is a breed that descended from the rabbits that were taken from Australia to be released on Enderby Island in October of 1865. The animals survived in isolation on the island for almost 130 years, during which they became a distinct breed.
This is a rare and endangered breed that is believed to be a descendent of the English Silver Grey Rabbit. When the rabbits were put on Enderby Island, it was an uninhabited subantarctic island of the Auckland Islands, and they were to serve as food for castaways. Although the rabbits were exterminated for purposes of wildlife management in the early ‘90s, the Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand managed to save a breeding group of 49 Enderby Island Rabbits in 1992.
Enderby Rabbits are prone to being skittish, but can be socialized.
The Enderby Island Rabbit has a medium length body that features a slight taper from the front to the hindquarters, and the back will also be slightly arched.
The head, which is well set upon the shoulders, should be medium in size and it should be in proportion with the rest of the body. There is not a visible neck, and the ears are carried in the shape of a “V”. The eyes are bold. The legs and the feet are fine to medium boned, and the nails will match the body color.
In general, when looking at an Enderby Island Rabbit, you will notice that the body is fine-boned and slim. The head will be small, and the ears will be delicate and upright.
The coat of the Enderby Island Rabbit is soft and short.
Enderby Rabbits can come in a few different colors, but the majority of them will be a distinct silver-grey with a dark slate blue undercoat. The ears, tail, and head will be darker and are often black.
Acceptable colors for this rabbit breed include slate, champagne, and crème. Champagne and slate rabbits are actually born black, and crème rabbits are born featuring a fawn color. The body will become heavily silvered (roughly 80% silvering) in most Enderby Rabbits, but the feet, tail, ears, and head will be lightly silvered.
You will notice the Enderby Island Rabbit’s distinct silvering begin to appear on the coat at around 6 to 8 weeks. It could take up to 6 months or more for it to come into the full coat. Also, the juvenile coat of the Enderby Rabbit will feature solid patches in the base color. And as the rabbits age, they will become even more silvered.
The Enderby Island Rabbit is a rare and endangered breed.
If you are planning on bringing an Enderby Island Rabbit into your family, you should have enough room for a large enclosure that will keep your pet safe and comfortable. Your rabbit should be able to stand up, turn around, and stretch while in his cage, and he should be able to come out of the cage regularly in order to play and interact with you.
You can keep your Enderby Island Rabbit indoors or outside, as this breed is hardy and accustomed to cold weather, but be sure to protect him from predators. Indoors, make room for your pet to run around and exercise outside of the cage, and give him an area where he can get access to fresh air and sunshine. If you want to let your rabbit spend some time outside, you can place your rabbit in an exercise pen, lawn enclosure, or extension hut for safety.
Feed your Enderby Rabbit a diet that consists of pellets, hay, and vegetables. You can include grass hays like orchard, oat, and timothy hays, and you can purchase pellets designed for rabbits. Fresh foods, such as dark, leafy greens, should also be provided. Limit the amount of starchy veggies and fruits that your rabbit eats, and always provide fresh, clean water.
Keep your pet’s environment as stress-free as possible because stress alone could lower your rabbit’s ability to resist disease. Like other rabbits, the Enderby Island Rabbit might be susceptible to ear mites, conjunctivitis, bloat, hairball obstructions, and intestinal problems, such as coccidiosis.
The coat of an Enderby Island Rabbit will become heavily silvered.
Enderby Rabbits are prone to being skittish, but you can reduce the amount of nervousness that your pet feels by simply providing him with plenty of attention and gentle handling. When an Enderby Island Rabbit is properly socialized, he will be affectionate towards the people that he has grown to trust. Bond with your pet by grooming him and giving him treats. Eventually, your rabbit might show you how much he loves you by licking and kissing you.
Also keep in mind that, like all rabbits, the Enderby Rabbit is a social creature that is happiest when it is with other rabbits, so if you have the space for two or three rabbits, or you don’t have the time to dedicate to interacting with your rabbit, consider getting more than one.
Photo credit: André Richard Chalmers/Wikimedia; tezza55/Flickr; abcdefghijklmnopq/Flickr