One of the things that the owners of Flemish rabbits have to worry about is the chances of their pet becoming aggressive. Even though the Flemish rabbits have a reputation for being gentle, they can get aggressive in certain situations. However, once you know why it gets aggressive, you can take measures to avoid getting bitten by the animal.
Aggression in the giant Flemish rabbit can take the form of the animal lunging and trying to bite you. That can make it impossible to interact with the rabbit while it’s outside the cage. If you bought the rabbit in the early days of its life, it would likely become aggressive as it gets older.
In female Flemish rabbits, aggression can signify hormonal changes during puberty. Male flemish rabbits may also experience similar changes. Also, the aggression could indicate that you aren’t giving the giant bunny enough space to play. It would also be essential to check the kind of space you’re housing the rabbit.
Why Are Flemish Rabbits Aggressive?
One of the reasons that flemish rabbits are considered to be aggressive is because they are a prey animals. This means that they are constantly on the lookout for predators. As a result, they can be skittish and easily frightened. Another reason that flemish rabbits are considered to be aggressive is because they have a lot of energy. They are known for being very active and playful. However, this playfulness can sometimes turn into aggression if not properly supervised.
Most Common Aggressive Rabbit Breeds
Even though generally gentle, some rabbits can be aggressive, mainly if they belong to a given breed. Yet, it’s not easy to know which rabbit breed to buy and which one to avoid. By mentioning a few species of rabbits here, this article isn’t trying to suggest that all animals under it are aggressive. Remember, aggression is less of a genetic problem than a behavioral issue. Therefore, it affects individual rabbits rather than all of them in a given category. The following are some of the most aggressive rabbits:
1. Belgian Hares
The Belgian hare has an aggressive-looking stance even when standing still. It is a descendant of the Belgian rabbit and has a large body with powerful feet. The Belgian hare can be a bit aggressive thanks to its wild genes. Under normal circumstances, the rabbit may fight or run if it has enough space to do so.
One of the other rabbits with naturally aggressive behavior is the Lionshead. The rabbit has a lot of energy and a prideful temperament among its personality traits. It weighs less than four pounds and is one of the smaller breeds. Make it feel ill at ease, and the rabbit gets a little more confrontational. Despite its docile nature, the Lionhead tends to settle scores somewhat physically.
3. Checkered Giant
The checkered giant has similar mannerisms to the Belgian hare. It is large-sized and weighs up to 16 pounds. While the rabbit mostly has a mellow temperament, it can sometimes be mischievous. When in tight or dangerous situations, the rabbit may get aggressive. Therefore, it’s always best to give it enough space to play.
4. Netherland Dwarves
Under normal circumstances, the Netherland Dwarf is a courageous attitude. When threatened, the animal can become mettlesome and hostile. It can attack other rabbits and even humans when put on the spot. The rabbit’s aggression manifests in bites or even throwing its front limbs.
5. Holland Lops
The Holland Lops rabbit has a bulldog-like shape and can easily be confused with the dog breed. Despite their petite size, they can quickly become bullies, fighting their way out when irritated. However, don’t expect the rabbit to harm you, given that it is too small to cause actual harm. The only thing they tend to do is chew on things like electric cables when left to lie about.
Common Causes of Aggression in Flemish Rabbits
While some rabbit breeds could be more predisposed to aggressive behavior, providing the right conditions can mitigate the problem. Furthermore, it’s possible to train a rabbit to behave in a given way, despite its breed. When a rabbit suddenly gets aggressive, it could indicate an underlying problem. The following are the common causes of aggression in rabbits:
- Pain: When a Flemish giant has a painful injury, it can respond to you with aggression. No matter how kind your intention, the animal gets aggressive to protect itself.
- Failure to Spay or Neuter: Spaying and neutering a Flemish giant rabbit is one of the best ways to improve its lifespan. It also reduces the rabbit’s aggressive impulses. So, when your Flemish giant becomes aggressive, chances are you haven’t neutered or sprayed it for long.
- Spring Hormones: The natural breeding season for rabbits in the Americas is spring. At that time of the year, the rabbit produces excessive breeding hormones, acting more aggressively than usual.
- Discomfort: This particular rabbit breed requires near-perfect conditions to flourish. If you shout at it or make it feel uncomfortable, the animal can become aggressive.
What Is a Flemish Rabbit?
The Flemish giant rabbit is large-sized, towering above an average-sized dog. But, despite looking scary, Flemish giant rabbits are gentle and adorable. Pet lovers call them gentle giants, thanks to their personality traits.
The rabbits originated in 16th-century Belgium, where they lived in the wild. Locals bred the rabbits, exporting some to England in the middle of the 19th century. The Flemish rabbits found their way to the Americas around that time.
Initially kept as meat rabbits, today, the Flemish giants mainly serve as pets. Given its docile, intelligent, and friendly mien, it can act as a good pet rabbit. However, they grow nervous and become aggressive when kept in poor conditions.
Characteristics of the Flemish Rabbit
One of the main characteristics of the giant Flemish is its large size. Additionally, the bunny has the following characteristics:
- It is the longest rabbit in the world
- The giant rabbit in America has an arched back while that in Britain has a flatter back
- They have thick, glossy fur with a denser undercoat
- A giant head in males and a dewlap in females
- Its coat has a roll-back effect when stroked
- Long ears
- Features seven colors – blue, black, white, sandy, steel gray, light gray, and fawn
- Four to six years lifespan, even though it can live 8+ years
Flemish Rabbit Personality Traits
In addition to its docile nature, the Flemish giant rabbit is intelligent and friendly. Unlike other rabbits, which tend to withdraw, Flemish rabbits seek out frequent interaction from humans. Therefore, the big bunny may greet its owner in the following ways:
- Standing on hind legs with an inviting mien
- Nudging the nose in a bid to seek attention
- Bringing its toys to you like a dog
- Hopping to you when they need stroking
Flemish Giants can be loving family pets, thanks to their tendency to be loyal. You’ll love being around a Flemish giant. You can help the rabbit become more sociable right from when they’re kittens.
Despite being super-friendly, Flemish giants can be aggressive and cause injury when threatened. The giant Flemish rabbit doesn’t like it when handled. When handled inappropriately, the rabbit may bite or thrash its feet and injure you.
Stroking the giant for too long pay also makes it aggressive and likely to bite. That’s also true when the giant bunny cannot escape from a situation. It can also be loud and vocal when stressed or unhappy.
Therefore, the best way of preventing or reducing aggressive behavior in a Flemish giant rabbit is to avoid handling it unnecessarily and remove stressors. It’s also important to teach young children how to interact with the giant bunny and avoid injuries.
How Big is the Flemish Rabbit?
On average, the Flemish giant rabbit can be 2.5 to 3.9 (76cm to 91cm) feet in length. That makes it longer than many dog breeds. According to the Guinness World Records, the giant rabbit with a record-breaking length is 4 feet 3 inches (1.3m).
Flemish Rabbit Weight
The average weight of the Flemish giant is 15lbs or 7kg, which is similar to what a chihuahua weighs. A male gentle giant would be heavier than a female. Show-worthy Flemish rabbits weigh approximately 22lbs or 10kg, nearly the weight of two gallons of paint.
How to Care for Flemish Rabbits
The Flemish giant has needs similar to those of the smaller rabbits. However, the giant bunny is more extensive and may require more careful handling. For example, they eat more food, require extra grooming, and need more living space.
The Flemish giant’s size means it cannot fit in an average rabbit hutch when it comes to space requirements. Therefore, the space needs to be significant. However, it also depends on how many rabbits need to live in it. The Flemish giant rabbit usually needs a binding partner. Therefore, the space should be enough to accommodate at least two rabbits.
Rabbit Welfare recommends that a bunny has enough space to make three or more consecutive jumps. You can estimate the space by multiplying the rabbit’s body length by four. For example, say you have a gentle giant with a length of 2.5 feet. The space for accommodating the rabbit can be more than 10 feet.
The height of the rabbit should be enough to allow it to stand on its hind legs. Ideally, the rabbit should be able to stand without touching the enclosure’s roof. For the giant Flemish, the ideal height is four feet or more.
Also, the rabbit should be able to lay outstretched without touching the walls of the cage. For a two-point-five feet long rabbit, the width should be at least four feet.
Bringing all of that together, a Flemish giant should live in a 10′ x 4′ x 4′ (3m x 1.2m x 1,2m) space. You can make life move comfortable for your rabbit by increasing the space. That would also prevent it from becoming aggressive.
Flemish Rabbit Enclosures
You can buy a ready-made rabbit hutch rabbit, but that wouldn’t adequately accommodate this rabbit breed. So, you need to be more creative in providing adequate housing for giant Flemish rabbits. The following are some of how you can accommodate the rabbit:
Flemish giant rabbits can fit perfectly in larger dog cages. Apart from installing a resting board, it would help spread soft bedding and a solid mat to prevent the Flemish giant from getting sore hocks.
If you have a large bird enclosure, you can turn it into a living space for your pet rabbit. Ideally, it would help if you kept the aviary indoor. It would be necessary to build a fence around the enclosure to ward off prey animals in the outdoors.
A Converted Shed
Any medium-sized shade can accommodate two flemish giant rabbits. However, the sheds should be secure to prevent prey from coming in to harm your rabbit. The shed should also have a suitable run to enable the rabbit to explore the garden.
A spare room inside your home is another ideal space to accommodate a Flemish rabbit. First, however, you need to block access to other rooms in the house and keep electric cables from sight.
Should Flemish Rabbits Live Indoors or Outdoors?
Flemish giants can flourish indoors or outdoors. The giant bunny can tolerate temperatures below 90°F and live well in conditions with moderate humidity. For that reason, you shouldn’t keep gentle giants in the laundry room, which can be extremely humid.
Pet lovers who opt to keep their rabbits outdoors should take measures to ward off predators. That may involve fencing off the area around the cage and keeping the rabbit in a secluded place. Giant rabbits get frightened and aggressive when neighbors keep peering at them.
Bedding Requirements for Flemish Rabbits
Flemish giants’ broad hindquarters make them vulnerable to sore hocks. Therefore, they won’t do well when accommodated in a space with a wire floor. So be sure to cover the wire floor with a resting board and a thick bedding layer.
Hay is undoubtedly the best bedding for the Flemish giants. It provides warmth to the animal while keeping the rabbit healthy. If the rabbit lives inside your house, avoid using hey as that could cause a huge mess. You may only use a little hay placed on a rubber mat.
Litter Training for Flemish Rabbits
Litter training for a Flemish giant rabbit is made easy by the animal’s amenable personality. It can be impossible for you to carry out litter training without suitable litter. Avoid using crystal litter since it can cut the rabbit’s feet. The following are the two types of litter you should consider:
- Hardwood Stove Pellets: Hardwood stove pellets are the best if you’re looking for affordable and absorbent litter.
- Paper-Based Pellets: Paper-based pellets are also less costly and absorbent. They are soft to the rabbit’s feet, preventing sore hocks.
How to Clean After Giant Rabbits
Giant rabbits require a substantial level of cleaning, which involves removing poop and pee. The Flemish giant rabbit tends to have bigger poop than the smaller ones. Ideally, it would help to clean the litter pan at least once daily. If your bunny is potty trained, it would be much easier for you.
After cleaning, make sure you disinfect the enclosure thoroughly. One of the biggest health concerns for an older Flemish giant is arthritis. If left without proper care, they become less mobile and could have urine-stained fur.
Flemish Rabbits Grooming Requirements
Even though they are not messy, giant rabbits require regular grooming, at least once weekly. In each cleaning session, you do not need more than 30 minutes.
The rabbit has dense fur, which, when ingested, can cause GI stasis. Therefore, one reason for grooming a giant Flemish is to prevent the condition.
Flemish giant rabbits enjoy being brushed gently. Apart from stroking, brushing is a way to bond with your pet. The following are some of the tools you need to brush your pet effectively:
One of the best ways to relax your pet is to brush it with a soft brush. The brush not only dislodges loose fur but also checks the condition of the coat generally.
When the mating season comes, you can use a rubber brush to dislodge fur from the rabbit’s coat. The meting reason comes in spring and fall, making rabbits shed fur.
A slicker brush helps disentangle and access the rabbit’s dense undercoat. However, you need to use the brush to avoid excessive fur gently.
The flea comb is excellent for removing fleas and flea eggs. It can also dislodge stubborn pieces of dirt from your pet’s fur. Using it gently ensures that you can avoid removing excessive fur.
What Should a Flemish Rabbit Eat?
Flemish giants eat the same food as smaller rabbits. Therefore, you don’t need to get unique minerals, vitamins, or a high-protein diet to cater to their needs. However, make sure to supply your pet with adequate hay and water. Also, since it’s a giant Flemish rabbit, expect it to eat much more than other rabbit breeds.
While smaller rabbits need up to two handfuls of chopped leafy vegetables daily, a Flemish giant can eat three to five handfuls. In addition, an average rabbit can eat one or two eggs cups of high-fiber pellets daily, while the Flemish giant needs five to seven egg cups.
Compared to other rabbits, Flemish giants reach maturity when they are 1 ½ years old. Therefore, you may want to increase their daily share of high-quality pellets to more than seven eggs cups until they mature.
How to Handle a Flemish Rabbit
Remember, one of the reasons a Flemish giant can get aggressive is when it’s handled roughly or for too long. Its high solid quarters allow the rabbit to inflict severe injuries via a simple kick. Besides, it can bite you when threatened.
It is advisable only to list a Flemish giant from ground level. Place both hands under its midsection. Keep one hand in the mid-section while the other supports its bottom as you lift it. Please make sure the rabbit’s head is resting on your shoulder as you lift it.
Common Flemish Rabbit Health Issues
The Flemish giant is susceptible to sore hocks, arthritis, spondylosis, rabbit snuffles, cardiomyopathy, and obesity. Its substantive bodyweight exposes it to arthritis, spondylosis, and sore hocks as it gets older. Lack of exercise and poor diet may also lead to obesity and heart problems.
Where to Get the Flemish Rabbit
The best place to buy a Flemish giant is the National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders. Or you could check the American Rabbit Breed Association.