Looking like a character from a children’s book, the English Lop’s long ears almost seem unreal – they’re long enough for this sweet rabbit to occasionally stumble over! The longest ear-span on record belongs to the English Lop, Nipper’s Geronimo, whose ears were over 31 inches long! In addition to their charming look and unique appeal, the English Lop is affectionate and companionable, making it an excellent pet.
Rabbits have unique and dynamic personalities and can form close, loving bonds with their owners. Many can be trained to use a litterbox, will come when you call their name, and may even enjoy learning a couple of tricks. Coupled with the fact that they’re quiet, require relatively little space, and are very low odor, it’s not hard to see why rabbits have become the third most popular pet in the United States and Great Britain.
There are a few important things to consider before choosing a rabbit as a pet. Rabbits will require your time and attention. They’re very social, curious, and playful animals and will live a sad life if kept confined to a cage with little interaction. They will need space and opportunity to exercise and explore, and you’ll need to make sure the space has been rabbit-proofed against nibbling and gnawing. A rabbit is a long-term commitment with many living more than 10 years – sadly, with their popularity on the rise, the number of rabbits abandoned to shelters and rescues has also risen.
Rabbits are a poor choice as a pet for young children. Rabbits are easily stressed and frightened and many do not enjoy being held or cuddled: they may bite or kick to get away, and rabbits can easily be seriously injured in such a struggle.
Appearance / health:
The English Lop is a large-sized rabbit weighing anywhere from 9 to 15 pounds. They have a long body, slim with a mandolin-like curve from neck to rounded rump. The head is large, but the distinguishing characteristic of the English Lop are its exceptionally long, drooping ears – they average 20 to 22 inches long! The ears are thick with rounded tips. Unlike other Lops, the English Lop’s ears sag because of their size and weight, and not a specific structural difference. The English Lop is a smooth, short coat with silky fur on the ears. They come in self (solid) and broken in a wide variety of colors.
Because of the large, heat-expending surface area of the ears and the lack of an undercoat, English Lops are particularly susceptible to cool temperatures. In addition, the long ears are also more susceptible to ear infections, and if a rabbit’s nails aren’t trimmed regularly, stepping on the ears can cause the rabbit to injure itself.
Like other small mammals, English Lop Rabbits can be susceptible to colds and viral infections. Exposure to draft, sudden changes in temperature and stress can lower the rabbit’s resistance to sickness. Rabbits are also vulnerable to conjunctivitis (a bacterial infection of the eyelids caused by smoke, dust, and fumes) and ear mites. Intestinal ailments like coccidiosis (parasites propagated by unsanitary conditions), bloat, and hairball obstructions are also common in rabbits.
Behavior / temperament:
The English Lop is known for its amicable and laid-back temperament. This is a calm and somewhat sedentary breed, perhaps due to the difficulty of getting around with such long ears! They’re gentle and easily handled, though care must be taken when handling their ears.
Rabbits are social animals, and are happiest when kept in pairs or trios. Rabbits may bond very closely to one another, forming a near-inseparable “bonded pair”. Non-bonded rabbits should have their own cage and should be carefully supervised until they get to know one another. A rabbit kept singly will need lots of time and attention from their human caretaker, though human companionship can never fully substitute for the interaction they have with each other. Ideally a single rabbit will be allowed plenty of free access to its owner, whether that’s cuddling on the couch or following them around the kitchen.
Rabbits are generally playful and curious and you may find that a free-roaming bunny will greet your guests at the door. They tend to get along well with other household pets, though some cats and dogs have a high prey instinct and may act aggressively towards the rabbit. Some rabbits are quite intelligent and enjoy learning tricks, and many rabbits can be trained to use a litter box. Rabbits also love to chew and dig, and it’s especially important for their dental health that they have something appropriate to gnaw on. It’s also important that anything they shouldn’t gnaw on be kept from their reach!
Rabbits may spray to mark their territory, though this behavior can be significantly reduced or eliminated by spaying or neutering. Spaying or neutering can also result in a calmer temperament and fewer behavioral issues.
Rabbits are physically fragile and easily stressed, and not recommended as pets for young children.
English Lop Rabbits are best kept indoors to protect them from extreme temperatures, especially cold, predators, and other outdoor dangers. They should be allowed to roam and exercise, preferably where they can get sunlight and fresh air. Extension hutches, exercise pens or lawn enclosures are recommended for safe outdoor exposure.
If kept in a cage, the enclosure should be at least five times the size of the rabbit with plenty of room to stretch and stand upright. Wire mesh flooring should be avoided because it can cause pain and injury to a rabbit’s feet. A hide-away box or sleeping quarters should be provided as a quiet place for a rabbit to retreat to feel safe and for sleep. Baby toys and interesting items should also be available for entertainment. Another option is housing your rabbit in a play-pen or puppy-pen.
Many rabbits can be trained to use a litter box. The best litters are non-toxic (rabbits may try to nibble on their litter) and dust free. Recycled paper litters or pellets, citrus-based litters, compressed wood pellets, aspen shavings, newspaper (ensure the ink is non-toxic), and hay are all appropriate. Avoid clumping litters as they can clump inside the digestive tract if eaten, and never use wood shavings from pine or cedar.
Rabbits may also be allowed to roam inside the house as long as the areas where they are free to explore are “rabbit-proofed” for safety. Rabbits allowed to roam at all times should still have a hutch to which they can return for sleeping and a feeling of safety.
English Lop Rabbits are herbivorous and their diet will mainly consist of hay, pellets, and vegetables. Hay is very important for both digestive health and dental health. Grass hays such as timothy, orchard, and oat hay can be fed in unlimited quantities, but alfalfa is high in calories and should only be provided occasionally. Fresh pellets should also be made available daily – choose a pellet high in fiber and avoid mixes that include other foods like corn, seeds, or dried fruit.
Fresh foods are also an important part of your rabbit’s diet. Dark, leafy greens like kale, romaine lettuce, spring greens, and some spinach should make up approximately 75% of the fresh food given to your rabbit daily, with vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper, and summer squash making up the other 25%. Fruits and starchy vegetables should be limited in the diet, but make great treats! Make sure that all fresh foods are washed thoroughly, and uneaten fresh foods should be removed at the end of the day.
Fresh water should always be available, either from a sipper bottle or in a stable water bowl.
enormous ears, docile by nature, gentle giants, absolute favorites, super-cool rabbits
smaller children, larger cage, higher maintenance breed, wax buildup, ear infection
goofy personalities, adventurous little fellow, adorable eeyoretype ears
The Rabbit that Thought He was a Dog
My second ever pet that I was given responsibility for was called Jess, after buying her from the pet shop, she turned out to be a he, and Jessica rabbit became Jess.
I have nothing bad to say about my experience with Jess, he was a loving, fun and often cheeky friend and I still miss him deeply.
Now I've never known a rabbit like Jess, having had 60+ rabbits there has never been one quite like him. Jess thought he was a dog. When we first brought him home, Jess was taught to use a litter tray so he could live in the house, however he ended up living outside in a multi-story hutch from which he roamed freely in the garden.
I remember my surprise as a little girl when I went to go on my swing set and found that the rabbit was following me at my heel. Realising that he was quite intelligent, I began to train him using treats.
Soon enough I had taught him "stay" and "come here", he knew and would respond to his name and even used to come and beg for a rich tea biscuit at the patio doors, if we ignored him he would tap on the door with his paw until we took him on.
Jess was an exceptional rabbit, but having had so many rabbits I feel that I can say that it is without a doubt that male rabbits are the softest and most relaxed. For a first time rabbit owner I would recommend buying a male, especially if you want to cuddle them, as females in my experience are not as keen on being held.
The only issue we ever had with Jess was his teeth. After about a year he fell ill and we were unsure what to do, however upon visiting the vet we were told that it is quite common for rabbits to need their teeth filing, which Jess had to have done on a number of occasions.
Care is quite simple, ensure that the rabbit has adequate food and water at all times, and if outdoors in winter, change the water regularly to avoid freezing. It is also advisable to put a blanket over the hutches at night to keep in the heat, and ensure that there is always adequate hay provided so they don't get cold!
In the summer, it is vital that rabbits living outdoors are cleaned out at least twice a week and treated for the prevention of fly strike so no nasty flies lay eggs around the rabbits rear, as this in most cases can be fatal.
Rabbits should be cleaned out all year round at least every week, and they must have time out of their hutches every day, be that in the house for a run or in a secure garden.
On the whole, rabbits are fairly easy to care for, they are cute and cuddly creatures and the perfect pet for a family.
I hope this review will help you to decide whether or not to get your very own Jess! I know I never regretted one second..
From rachaelob93 Apr 22 2015 6:02AM
A rabbit favorite!
Dandelion greens are especially a favorite of rabbits and often you can find some of it growing wild in your own yard and kids especially love hunting for the plats so they can hand the treat to the rabbits themselves. It is good for the rabbits to eat greens in addition to their feed..
From EllieB 377 days ago
Sweet at first...ended up possessed?
My younger sister begged and pleaded for a pet bunny. Peanut played the part beautifully. Cute and friendly in the store, but just a few weeks maybe months after we got her home, she turned. Hated being held, super skittish, hid all the time, even growled at us for trying to pick her up! I never knew rabbits could growl! She even ended up a fussy eater. In less than a year, we gave up and gave her away.
To be fair, we had zero experience with rabbits, didn't even attempt "training" and maybe we just weren't equipped. Not saying all pet rabbits would turn out this way, not at all! I'm sure some can be friendly cuddle monsters, but ours happened to just be a plain monster. I swear, we never mistreated her, and even went through great lengths to keep her safe and comfortable even around our curious cats and dogs. It just wasn't a good fit, or we got unlucky, not sure. Hopefully you have better luck!.
From brandantobin Oct 23 2015 12:04AM