The last, but certainly not the least, of my rabbits is my other English Angora. Her name is Lola Rapunzel. I brought her home at the end of Feb. 2015. She will be turning 5 yrs. old Dec. 31. How do I know her birthdate? Like Angus, she is a pedigreed rabbit. (His birthday is in March.) Technically, she was supposed to be a replacement for Angus, who was starting to show some signs of age. But he turned out to be the Energizer Bunny.
It might seem strange that someone from Texas would want longhaired rabbits for their knitting and crocheting projects. There is generally a rather short cold season for wearing knitwear. However, we’re northern transplants who moved here from NW Iowa, and I’m also a Colorado native. I still love me some, warm cozy knits. The softer the better, which is one reason I’m deeply attached to my bunnies. When it comes to domestic natural animal fibers, the Angoras are hard to beat if you like a bit of luxury.
Believe it or not, I actually purchased both my EAs here in Texas. There are not many Angora rabbit people here in greater Houston. Not surprising really, considering the heat and humidity we have 75% of the year. All my rabbits have to live indoors because of it, and cage cleaning is a daily chore. (Gets me into trouble. I do too much thinking while cleaning cages.)
Angus and Lola both came from breeders near, or in the Dallas area. Besides their location being a bit more amenable to rabbits, I think the biggest reason you’ll find the Angora breeds in certain parts of the state, like Dallas, is the big hair. When she’s fully grown out, Lola has very big hair. In the photograph featured with this post, she’s only halfway there. Even though she’s not quite 5, she is likely to be mostly retired too, since I have 2 large containers filled with Angora wool now.
Lola ended up becoming the largest of my rabbits. She weighs 8 lbs., which is one pound over the ARBA breed standard. (Angus fluctuates between 5-6 lbs.) She’s also a drama queen, not really unusual for does. Like wild rabbits, they’re solitary parents with babies born blind and helpless. It tends to make females hypervigilant about what’s going on in their environment. Even though Lola has never had kits, the instincts to be a good mother are still there. She needs gentle coaxing to get in the bunny elevator and rarely does it without rushing. Backing into a corner is a defensive behavior. She often does it when she knows it’s her turn for cage cleaning. I usually have to put my hands under her tummy, making it appear I am about to pick her up. Then of course, there is a bit of sweet talking.
(Which is needed by rabbits in general. Because they are prey animals, they will only cooperate if you keep a calm demeanor and earn their trust. Being emotionally out of control is a big no-no. Anyone who has ever owned a horse can probably relate.)
On the other hand, Lola’s not generally afraid of me, especially when I’m coming around with food and treats. She and Angus have different styles in the affection department. He’s a bit more in my face, usually rubbing his chin on me. (Rabbits have scent glands there. They use them to mark their property.) He’s basically saying “I own you, now rub my forehead.” Lola, on the other hand, just tucks her feet beneath her and settles down. To express her appreciation for the attention, she gives extravagant nose bonks.