Scotland is known for a few things in the animal world, such as the Scottish terrier, the red deer, the pine marten, and the Scottish wildcat. It’s unusual, however, for Scotland to incite the thought of rabbits, let alone giant rabbits.
But Scotland is home to a giant Continental Rabbit named Atlas, where the Scottish SPCA is caring for him. The family of Atlas was unable to care for him, and Atlas is up for grabs.
It’s not unusual for rabbits to need rehoming, even large ones. But for some reason, the story of Atlas has taken the media by storm. It may be because the SPCA’s center in Glasgow sent a shout-out on social media, saying that based on the size and breed of Atlas, they were looking for a certain type of home.
Social media snapped it up and the news channels followed.
ABC News reported, “Giant Rabbit From Scotland Looking for a Home”
USA Today said, “This Huge Rabbit Is Looking for a Home”
New York Post, “This Bunny Is Already a Giant and He’s Still Growing”
Why all the fuss?
While a rabbit may not seem like much of a burden, the heft of 7-month old Atlas is comparable to that of a medium-sized dog.
Just Rabbits explains that a Continental Giant rabbit can weigh up to 50 pounds and stand taller than four feet.
The Continental is one of the oldest breeds of rabbit, perhaps dating as far back to the mid-16th century. The rabbit was bred for meat, selectively evolved to bring the most bang for the buck. Thought to have originated from Belgium, there is a standard written in 1833 describing the Continental for the show ring. In the middle of the 19th Century, the Continental Rabbit was imported to the U.S.A. It quickly became a favorite in fairs and festivals, and was valued at farms for fur and meat. Its docile personality made it a favorite pet.
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These bunnies are hefty, tipping the scales at over 35 pounds. The world’s heaviest rabbit is a Continental Giant named Ralph, who lives in the U.K. and weighs about 53 pounds. The breed standard description reads,
“This is a big solid rabbit giving an impression of power.”
It goes on to say that the body “should be long, minimum length (26in) with a strong back gently rising to broad, powerful, well-rounded hindquarters. Any less would be classed as a serious fault.”
The underline of the body, it says, should not show a “hare-like arch.” The head should have “well developed cheeks and round, bright, wide open eyes.”
And the ears! Oh, the ears:
“The large robust thick ears are held upright, well covered and rounded. Ear length should be about 25% of the body length, minimum 16cm (7in). Any less would be classed as a serious fault.”
Colors vary from black, grey, agouti, to white. Fur is thick and glossy. And according to the rabbit standard, the Continental Giant has an outgoing personality.
“These rabbits are gentle giants, friendly and very intelligent. In fact, many people say they act more like dogs than rabbits. They are easy to train and can be encouraged to play games, use a litter tray and even come when their name is called, with relative ease.”
It was the temperament of Atlas that shone through and caused the SPCA staff to put out a plea on their Facebook page on Monday.
The response was overwhelming. It seems the world is rife with wannabe homes for a humongous bunny.
But there are reservations. Atlas, they caution, will not fit into a normal-sized rabbit hutch. He cannot be shipped outside of Scotland. Rabbits are easily stressed.
With their lineup of candidates, Atlas is certain to land in a soft spot. Meanwhile, the SPCA can turn to all their other bunnies that need homes. Maybe a little of that Atlas attention will hop over to them.
[Photo via Elshina Anna/Shutterstock]