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August 25, 2016 PetGuide
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Silver Marten Rabbit

 
  • Size: Medium
  • Weight: 6.5-9 lb
  • Lifespan: 5-8 years
  • Body Shape: Commercial
  • Best Suited For: Singles, Seniors, House/Apartments, Families with children, First-time owners, Outdoor/ Indoor Rabbits
  • Temperament: Active, sweet, playful, timid
  • Comparable Breeds: Standard Chinchilla Rabbit

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The Silver Marten Rabbit is the result of breeders wanting to improve  the Chinchilla breed by introducing tan and black rabbits into the mix. These genes later manifested as black “sports” and created both black and silver rabbits. These “strange little rabbits” fascinated breeders in 1924 and were bred into what we know now today be the Silver Marten Rabbit. In 1927, a working standard for the black and chocolate varieties were established by the American Rabbit Breeders’ Association (ARBA). The blue-colored Silver Marten Rabbit was accepted in 1933 and the sable was accepted in 1993.

The Silver Marten’s glossy flyback coat is soft, featuring a shiny dark coat on top and a silver on the bottom.

The Silver Marten’s glossy flyback coat is soft, featuring a shiny dark coat on top and a silver on the bottom.The Silver Marten Rabbit is one of the smallest breeds to have a commercial body type, weighing anywhere from 6.5-9 lbs once it is fully grown. Unlike some breeds in this category, the Silver Marten has small ears that stand vertically on its head.

The Silver Marten’s glossy flyback coat is arguably one of the most beautiful, having a soft, shiny dark coat on top and a silver on the bottom. Despite having this gorgeous coat, Silver Martens do not require much maintenance to keep it in looking its best. Bi-weekly grooming with a slicker brush or damp hands should keep it looking its best. During molting season, simply increase grooming frequency to once a week.

When it comes to Silver Marten Rabbit, the ARBA accepts a top color of black, blue, chocolate or sable (a sephia-type hue). Markings consist of a white chin, belly, underside-of-tail, inside of ears, eye circles and nostril markings. It should also have some white “ticking” up the rabbit’s lower side, edging the border of its belly markings.

The Silver Marten Rabbit is one of the smallest breeds to have a commercial body type.

Like any other breed of rabbit, Silver Martens require a diet consisting of at least 70 percent hay. The rest of its diet is made up a healthy balance of pellets, leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables. Be aware of what kind of leafy greens you feed your rabbit, as some (such as iceberg lettuce) contain little vitamins or nutrients and, on the contrary, may contain landanum, which can be harmful in large quantities. Some vegetables are harmful to rabbits (such as beans, cabbage, potatoes, etc), and other fruits contain too much sugar to be considered healthy .

This rabbit can either live indoors or out, depending on what it is being bred for and year-round weather conditions. Because this breed is used for show, meat and fur purposes, outdoor enclosures need to be protected from the elements and other predators, and are usually made of either wood or wire. Both indoor and outdoor rabbit enclosures need to have a solid bottom in order to place bedding, which should be spot-cleaned everyday and completely replaced at the end of every week. Enclosures need to be large enough for your rabbit to stretch out to its full length, plus have some space to hop around and explore.

The Silver Marten Rabbit is usually used for show purposes, but it can also be an excellent pet if it is well socialized.While this breed of rabbit is not susceptible to digestive issues such as Wool Block, care has to be taken in order for it to live a long, healthy life. Two problems that are most common in outdoor rabbits are ear mites and flystrike. Flystrike occurs from soiled fur, usually during the summer. Flies lay their eggs in soiled fur and the larvae eat the rabbit. Flystrike is extremely painful, and symptoms include lack of appetite, fewer droppings in your bunny’s cage and sudden jumping/thrashing in pain. If you suspect flystrike, immediately take your rabbit to a veterinarian to get treated.

A pea-sized amount of deworming paste is recommended every fall and spring to ensure your rabbit’s health. If your rabbit’s diet does not consist of 70 percent hay, its incisors could begin to grow into its face/jaw. This is a painful condition and can only be corrected by a veterinarian, who can shave down the teeth. A simple change in your rabbit’s diet should keep its teeth naturally worn down.

The Silver Marten Rabbit is usually used for show purposes, but it can also be an excellent pet if it is well socialized.

Rabbits are harder to litter train than other animals such as cats, dogs and birds, however it is possible with lots of patience, perseverance, and plenty of treats. Many rabbit owners will have a few boxes scattered across their home so their rabbit can easily access the litter box.  Training them may take a few days to a few months.

Be sure to provide your rabbit with a few bunny-safe toys. Rabbits have different personalities and can be picky with toys. Some rabbits are content with cardboard or a discarded piece of wood, while others require elaborate toys that provide mental stimulation.  It is your responsibility to make sure your pet is healthy and happy – you’ll just have to figure out what kind of toy your rabbit prefers!

The Silver Marten Rabbit is usually used for show purposes, but it can also be an excellent pet if it is well socialized. Kits (young rabbits) should be exposed to new people, animals and experiences early on so they  are not as easily spooked when adults. This is especially important to the Silver Marten, which can be slightly more timid as adults if it is not socialized properly or for long enough. Socialized Silver Martens are marvelous pets for seniors, singles, couples and even families with children, provided they understand how to properly handle and play with a pet. rabbit. Rabbits need to be treated with care and lots of love to ensure they live a long, healthy, happy life.

Photo credit: Chris Lanzarotti/Flickr; Dreaming Lizard/Flickr


Comparable Breeds

Go to Standard Chinchilla Rabbit

Standard Chinchilla Rabbit

  • Size: Medium
  • Weight: 5-7 lb
  • Lifespan: 5-8 years
  • Body Shape: Compact
  • Best Suited For: Singles, Seniors, indoor/outdoor rabbits, house rabbits, families with older children, first-time owners
  • Temperament: Friendly, docile, intelligent, curious
  • Comparable Breeds: Himalayan Rabbit, Beveren Rabbit