Quick, what color are rabbits eyes?
Many people, when asked, will say something along the lines of, “Like car headlights”, “Monster eyes!” or just simply, “Uh, red?” But little do they know that rabbit eyes are actually some of the most interesting things about these furry creatures.
Indeed, what color are rabbits eyes? There are a lot more varieties of rabbits eyes than you may think. Brown rabbit eyes are the most common closely followed by blue. Other colors include Grey, Red, Pink and albino.
Table of Contents
What color are rabbits eyes?
- Blue Gray
- Deep Red
- Flash Red
This may come as a surprise to many since it’s far from what we usually see in media and in pet shops, but brown is actually the most common eye color there is for many regular rabbit breeds.
Some of the most popular rabbit breeds with this eye color are Black Silver Martens and Sable Martens. Many rabbits with brown, black, and red coats tend to have brown eyes, as well. Even white rabbits can have brown eyes, though it tends to be less common so they get their own special nickname in the rabbit-breeding world: Brown-Eyed Whites or BEWs.
Blue is another common eye color for rabbits. Although it naturally occurs in many rabbit breeds, those rabbits usually have gray coats.
This is why one of the most popular breed of blue-eyed rabbits is the White Vienna, an all-white medium-sized rabbit with crystal blue eyes. It was initially discovered in 1907 after an Austrian enthusiast bred the white varieties of Holland Lop and Flemish Giant. The breed is already recognized by the British Rabbit Council, though not by the American Rabbits Breeders Association.
Blue Gray Eyes
Blue-gray eyes may seem like an extraordinary phenomenon, but they’re actually more common than they seem. These eyes look like a cross between brown and blue eyes, though their intensity may vary depending on the breed.
Some of the rabbit breeds with this eye color are small-sized bunnies like Creams, Lilacs, and Squirrels. These rabbits all have gray or brown coats and dusty blue-gray eyes.
Ruby Red Eyes
Despite what many people believe, ruby red eyes are not normal or common to any regular rabbit breed.
Actually, the redness in a rabbit’s eyes is caused by a condition that is quite common in rabbits: Albinism. This condition is, in turn, caused by the lack of sufficient melanin in the body which leads to non-pigmentation of certain parts like hair, skin, or eyes.
In rabbits, this is obvious in the coat and eyes, as albino rabbits will always have white hair and red eyes regardless of their breed. The lack of pigmentation causes us to see the blood vessels in the eye, which results in the red color.
Unfortunately, this condition was purposefully bred into rabbits for many generations, since it was perceived that all-white rabbits have a much more attractive appeal than other colored rabbits. Aside from the physical differences, albinism also causes other effects on rabbits, such as extreme sensitivity to light.
Just like deep red eyes, pink eyes can occur as a result of a rare mutation. It’s not always because of albinism, however. Even a rabbit that was not bred specifically to become albino can have pink eyes, depending on its genetics.
More specifically, when a rabbit has pink eyes, it means that both its parents have a recessive gene that dilutes the brown color into pink. Some breeds are more prone to this, such as New Zealand Whites which are easily recognized as white-coated rabbits with pink eyes. Sadly, according to the House Rabbit Society, a lot fewer people are willing to own pink-eyed rabbits than red-eyed ones, which is why they’re also some of the most commonly abandoned rabbits at shelters.
Marbled eyes refer to different colors in the eyes of rabbits. As with the last few items on this list, marbled eyes are also not normal in any rabbit breed.
Instead, it’s actually the result of a condition called sectoral heterochromia or also partial heterochromia. Animals with this condition have eyes with two completely different colors in the same iris. In the case of rabbits, this can be any combination of brown, blue, and blue-gray.
There are many reasons why a rabbit can develop heterochromia, including genetics, disease, or even injury. If you feel that your pet rabbit may have suddenly developed marbled eyes and it’s not a common trait for his breed, perhaps it’s best to seek out a vet as soon as you can.
Flash Red Eyes
‘Flash red’ isn’t really an eye color, even for rabbits. Instead, it’s what happens when rabbits are photographed with a flash.
What causes this phenomenon? Simply put, rabbits have no tapetum lucidum, a special layer of tissue that is commonly found in the eyes of many other species of animals, including ourselves. When a rabbit is photographed with a flash, the bright light reflects straight from the retina since it doesn’t have tapetum lucidum. This causes the unnaturally bright red color of the rabbit’s eyes in photos, same as how it happens with humans too.
Conclusion: What color are rabbits eyes?
Aren’t rabbits eyes interesting?
One other thing to note is that rabbits eyes can actually change in color, especially if you’ve had them since they were a baby. If you notice something like this happening to your baby bunny, don’t panic – it’s completely normal. In fact, for most rabbit breeds, their eye color tends to change from light to dark as they grow older, due to the fact that the size of melanin particles in their eyes also grows bigger as they age.
Rabbit eyes can also be an indicator for health, so make sure you don’t ignore this important part of your baby bunny’s body!