Find The Best Deals on Your Favorite rabbits Products and Save!

Let's Go!

Why Do Rabbits Have Red Eyes? (Insights on Eye Color)

Gary Brooks
Written by Gary Brooks Last Updated: January 8, 2024

Do you ever look at your rabbit and wonder about its red eyes? It’s a common question among bunny owners. I, too, had the same thought when I first brought my little furry friend home.

This topic is not just for those who own rabbits but also for anyone curious about animals. Let’s explore this interesting feature of our small hopping friends together. We’ll find out why some rabbits have red eyes while others don’t in an easy-to-understand way.

Why Do Rabbits Have Red Eyes?

Rabbits have red eyes due to a gene called albinism. This gene takes away color from their fur and eyes, leaving them white with pink or red eyes. The “red” you see is actually blood vessels behind the eye.

This happens in all animals, not just rabbits. It’s more common in pets because breeders often select for it. Some people find albino animals unique and attractive.

However, these rabbits aren’t blind or sickly as some might think. They can live normal lives like any other rabbit if cared for properly.

Melanin Pigment and Red Eyes Explained

Rabbits with red eyes lack a pigment called melanin. This is the same pigment that gives color to our skin, hair and eyes. When it’s missing in rabbits’ eyes, they appear red or pink.

This condition is known as albinism. It affects all animals including humans too. But don’t worry – these rabbits aren’t sick or hurt.

The light entering their eye reflects off blood vessels at the back of the eyeball instead of being absorbed by melanin like in other colors of rabbit’s eyes.

Ruby Red Eyes

Rabbits have red eyes due to a gene called albinism. This gene takes away color from their fur and eyes, making them white and ruby-red respectively. It’s not harmful or painful for the rabbit.

The red isn’t actually ‘red’, but an illusion created by blood vessels behind the eye. Light passes through these thin layers, reflecting back as red because of the blood flow there.

Albino rabbits are often seen with this feature. They can see just fine though they might be slightly more sensitive to bright light than other rabbits.

Are All Rabbits With Red Eyes Albino?

Many people think all rabbits with red eyes are albino. That’s not entirely true. Albinism is a lack of pigmentation in the body, including the eyes. This can result in red or pinkish eye color.

But here’s something interesting: Not every rabbit with red eyes is an albino. Some breeds naturally have this feature due to genetics, like New Zealand Whites and Californians.

So next time you see a bunny with ruby peepers, remember it might just be their breed showing off its unique charm – no albinism involved.

Can Non-Albino Rabbits Have Red Eyes?

Yes, non-albino rabbits can have red eyes. This is due to a gene called the Vienna gene. It’s not common but it does happen. The Vienna gene gives them white fur and blue or red eyes.

Red-eyed rabbits are not always albinos. Albino animals lack pigment everywhere, including their skin and hair. But some rabbits with red eyes do have color in their fur.

It’s interesting how genes work in our furry friends, isn’t it? Just like us humans, they inherit traits from their parents.

Having Red Eyes and White Fur

Rabbits with red eyes and white fur are known as albino rabbits. They lack a pigment called melanin in their bodies. This absence of color results in white fur and red or pinkish eyes.

The reason for the reddish eye tint is quite simple. It’s because you’re seeing blood vessels behind the rabbit’s clear lens due to its albinism, which makes it appear red or pink.

So, when you see a rabbit with these traits, don’t worry – they aren’t ill or suffering from any disease. It’s just genetics at play.

Rabbit Eye Colors and Their Rarity

Rabbits have different eye colors. Some are blue, brown or even red. The color depends on their genes.

Red-eyed rabbits aren’t common. They carry a gene called ‘albino’. This gene lacks pigment which gives them the red-eye look.

The red isn’t from blood but light reflecting off vessels in the rabbit’s eyes. It may seem odd to us, but it is normal for these rabbits.

Remember that every rabbit is unique and special regardless of its eye color.

What Breeds of Rabbits Are Prone to Albinism?

Certain rabbit breeds are more likely to have albinism. This condition causes a lack of pigmentation, leading to white fur and red eyes. Breeds like the Florida White, New Zealand White, and Himalayan rabbits often show these traits. These bunnies may look different but they’re just as healthy and lively as their colored counterparts. They need regular care like any other pet bunny would require.

Potential Health Concerns of Albino Rabbit Breeds

Albino rabbits often have red eyes. This is due to a lack of pigmentation, not health issues. Yet, these bunnies may face other problems. They can be sensitive to light because their eyes don’t filter it well. Also, they might get sunburned easily if outside too long.

While albino breeds aren’t more prone to illness than others, they do need extra care in some areas. Always provide shade and use sunscreen on your rabbit’s ears when outdoors for extended periods.

Taking Care of a Ruby Eyed White Rabbit

Caring for a ruby-eyed white rabbit is much like caring for any other pet bunny. These rabbits have red eyes due to a lack of pigmentation, not because they’re sick or hurt. It’s part of their genetic makeup.

Despite the unique eye color, these bunnies need standard care. This includes feeding them hay and fresh veggies daily and ensuring they get plenty of exercise.

One thing to note: bright light can be uncomfortable for them. So it’s best to keep your rabbit in soft lighting conditions where possible.

Why Do I Never See Wild Rabbits With Albinism?

Albinism is a genetic condition. It’s rare in wild rabbits because it makes them easy targets for predators. The lack of pigment gives them red eyes and white fur, which stands out against the green and brown hues of nature.

Survival rates are low for albino animals in the wild due to this visibility issue. They can’t blend into their surroundings like other rabbits can. That’s why you don’t often see wild rabbits with albinism – they’re simply not as common due to natural selection working against them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Let’s delve into some common queries about why rabbits have red eyes. These questions often pop up for rabbit owners and enthusiasts alike.

1. What Does It Mean if a Bunny Has Red Eyes?

When a bunny has red eyes, it’s not because they’re upset or sick. It’s all about genetics. Rabbits with red eyes are albino rabbits, meaning they lack pigmentation in their skin and fur due to a gene mutation. This absence of color also affects their eye coloration, making them appear red or pinkish-red under certain light conditions. These bunnies have normal vision just like other rabbits do. The only difference is how their eyes look.

2. Why Do Rabbits Get Pink Eye?

Rabbits get pink eye, but it’s not the same as having red eyes. Pink eye is an infection or inflammation of the rabbit’s eyelid. It can be caused by bacteria, a virus, or even allergies.

Red eyes in rabbits are different. They’re due to genetics and have nothing to do with infections or diseases. Some breeds naturally have red-eyed whites (REW). These bunnies carry a gene that removes pigmentation from their fur and eyes.

So remember: pink eye needs treatment while red eyes don’t.

3. Do All California Rabbits Have Red Eyes?

No, not all California rabbits have red eyes. The color of a rabbit’s eyes is determined by genetics and the amount of pigment in their eye tissue. Red-eyed rabbits carry a gene that reduces pigmentation, which results in pink or red hues instead of dark colors. This trait can be found in any breed worldwide, including those living in California. So while you might spot some red-eyed bunnies there, remember it’s due to genes rather than geography.


Gary Brooks
Gary Brooks

Gary Brooks is an avid rabbit lover and has been taking care of them ever since he was a kid. He's written many books on the subject and frequently gives advice on diet, care and much more.

Hey there! 👋

Check out these most popular rabbits products on the market:

[amazon bestseller="" template="widget-small-hello-slider" items="3"]