English Angora Rabbit
Oryctolagus cuniculus domesticus
Pet angora rabbits are sometimes mistaken for fluffy dogs.
English Angora Rabbit Scientific Classification
- Scientific Name
- Oryctolagus cuniculus domesticus
English Angora Rabbit Conservation Status
English Angora Rabbit Locations
English Angora Rabbit Facts
High-quality English angora rabbit wool can sell for up to $20 an ounce.
English Angora Rabbit Summary
Angora rabbits originated in the city of Ankara, Turkey and get their name from that location. Breeders there selectively bred them to produce long, silky fur. Spun into wool, angora fur makes soft, hypo-allergenic cloth of similar texture and quality to cashmere. Today the five main varieties of angora rabbit are the English, French, German, Satin, and Giant angoras. Of these, the English is the smallest, at 4.5-7.5 pounds. It is also the most popular to keep as a pet because their furry faces make them look like fluffy teddy bears. The five recognized varieties of English angora rabbits are Agouti, Broken, Pointed White, Ruby-eyed White, Self, and Shaded. They make good pets and popular show animals but require a great deal of care to maintain their luxurious coats properly.
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English Angora Rabbit Facts
- Angora rabbits originated in Ankara, Turkey. The city name is the source of the animal’s name.
- Breeders value angora rabbits for their long, fluffy, silky fur and as pets or show animals.
- There are five types of Angora rabbit: French, English, German, Satin, and Giant. The English is the smallest breed.
- English angora rabbits are popular pets because they look like fluffy teddy bears, but their long coats require a great deal of maintenance.
- Angora wool sells for up to $20 an ounce and makes soft, hypoallergenic luxury sweaters, scarves, and hats.
English Angora Rabbit Scientific Name
The scientific name of the angora rabbit is oryctolagus cuniculus domesticus. Oryctolagus comes from Greek words meaning “burrowing hare.” Cuniculus means “rabbit” in Latin. The Latin word domesticus means “belonging to the house.” So altogether, its scientific name means “domestic burrowing rabbit.”
English Angora Rabbit Appearance
English angora rabbits have small bodies weighing anywhere from 5 to 7.5 pounds with a wide flat head and short ears. They’re covered in thick, silky, hollow-fibered hair that grows 3-4 inches long all over their bodies, including their feet, faces, and ears. Unlike some other breeds of angora, English angoras have long hair not only on their bodies but also on their faces and ears. The most common coat colors of this species include white, black, blue, chocolate, tort, and chestnut and combinations of these.
Angora rabbits produce anywhere from 1-3 pounds of fiber a year. They molt naturally 3-4 times a year or their owner can shear them or pluck them every three months or so. This is a controversial practice as animal rights activists say that it hurts and stresses the animals. Their skin is delicate, so careless shearing can easily cut them and make them vulnerable to infection. Angora wool is commercially most valuable when the fibers are long, clean, and hand-plucked. Due to the labor-intensive nature of the work and the desirability of the wool, it can sell for anywhere from $10-$20 an ounce.
English Angora Rabbit Evolution and History
The family Leporidae, which includes rabbits and hares, first appeared in the fossil record in the Eocene Epoch about 40 million years ago. It appears their basic physical structure has not changed very much since then, indicating they have been able to adapt well to changing environmental conditions. Today they have diverged into about 40 different species of rabbits, hares, and pikas. Of these, Oryctolagus cuniculus, the European rabbit, is the only one humans have domesticated on a large scale. For at least 4,000 years, humans have used rabbits for food, fur pelts, wool, and as pets. In North America and Europe, breeders have now developed over 60 recognized breeds of domestic rabbits.
English Angora Rabbit Behavior
Angora rabbits are territorial and have different personalities. These factors, along with their hormonal state, influence whether or not they will get along when kept in groups of two or more. In temperament, angora rabbits are docile, gentle, and smart. They are playful, even enjoying playing with cat toys. They are sociable and like snuggling up to their owners. However, they don’t like being picked up as their spines are fragile and can be easily hurt. When they are frightened, they can react aggressively. Some of the worst behaviors owners report are chewing on furniture and carpets, excessive pooping, and hair production that takes hours to groom every week.
Health and Entertainment for your English Angora Rabbit
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English Angora Rabbit Habitat
Every continent besides Antarctica has wild rabbit populations living in forests, grasslands, deserts, and mountain ecosystems. Angora rabbits are entirely a domestic species, not found in the wild. Most of them live on farms in China, where about 50 million angora rabbits produce 90% of all angora wool sold in the world.
English Angora Rabbit Diet
As domestic animals, English angora rabbits eat vegetables and hay provided to them by people. Pet owners typically buy rabbit food in the form of pellets made of grain and fortified with additional vitamins and minerals. Fresh carrots, grass, and dandelions are some of a rabbit’s favorite foods. Rabbits are prone to upset stomachs so owners need to watch their diet carefully and provide plenty of hay and fresh water.
English Angora Rabbit Predators and Threats
Threats to Wild Rabbits
In the wild, rabbits and their cousins are a source of food for all sorts of natural predators in the various habitats where they live. Coyotes, foxes, ferrets, bobcats, wolves, feral dogs and cats, snakes, and birds of prey all feast on them as a primary element of their diet. Humans also hunt and trap them as a food source, for sport, or to protect their crops. Of course, angora rabbits live only in captivity and humans want to keep them alive because of their valuable wool or as pets. So these coddled animals do not really face any natural or human predators.
Threats to Domestic Rabbits
In captivity, the greatest threat to angora rabbits is an attack from a wild animal or another pet when an owner is not paying attention, or contracting a serious health condition. Some of the medical problems they may experience include dental disease, parasites, bladder issues, viral infections, and spinal problems. They cannot groom themselves adequately so their owners must groom them 2-3 times a week. Otherwise, their fur can mat and lead to mites and skin infections. From the grooming they do accomplish on their own, they consume a lot of fur and this can create gastric and intestinal blockages.
English Angora Rabbit Reproduction and Life Cycle
A male rabbit is called a buck, a female is a doe, and their offspring are kits or kittens. Angora rabbits reach sexual maturity at 8 months. Their breeding season lasts from late spring to early summer but they can breed all year round. The breeder introduces the doe to the buck’s hutch, rather than vice-versa, to prevent fighting. Gestation takes about 32 days. Afterward, weaning of kits happens at 8-9 weeks old. Breeders recommend not selling them any earlier than 10 weeks old. They can live anywhere from 5-8 years.
English Angora Rabbit Population
There are an estimated 709 million domestic rabbits of all breeds in countries all around the world today. Of these, 50 million live in China, constituting 90% of the global wool industry. However, the exact numbers of English angora rabbits specifically are unknown.
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English Angora Rabbit FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Are Angora rabbits carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores?
They are herbivores. They eat hay, grasses, and other vegetable matter.
How many Angora rabbits are there in the world?
There are 50 million in China alone, mainly for the wool industry rather than as pets. The worldwide total of Angora rabbits is in the range of 60-100 million. For comparison, the world population of all domestic rabbits is estimated at 709 million.
How many different breeds of Angora rabbits are there?
The American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) recognizes four different breeds of Angora rabbit: French, English, Satin, and Giant. Less common breeds include the German, Russian, Chinese, Finnish, Japanese, Korean, St. Lucian, and Swiss, among others.
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