Why Do Some Rabbits Have Red Eyes?

Thanks for the question, Rabbit!  Of course you asked one about rabbits!  You might be surprised but, rabbits don’t really have red eyes. It’s just that their eyes look red to us when we see them.

albino rabbit

So what’s going on then? These rabbits’ eyes have no color! People have a colored circle around a black circle in our eyes. Sometimes it’s blue, brown, green, gray, or black. This part of the eye is called an iris. But… the rabbits with red eyes don’t have a red iris. Their iris is clear. Clear means it has no color at all, like a window.

Can you see the green part?  That’s the iris.

When a rabbit has eyes that look red, it probably also no color in their skin or hair. These rabbits are really albino rabbits. Most of their body parts and hair will look very white. Because their iris is clear (no color), we can see into their eye, all the way to the back.

albino rat
Hello! I’m an albino rat!

The back of the eye is very thin. It has tiny tubes filled with blood. These tubes are called blood vessels and they move blood around in the body. Look at your arm. See those blue lines?  Those are blood vessels too.  Now we know why these rabbits’ eyes look red. It’s because we can see the red blood in the back of their eyes!

Many animals can be albino, people too! If you have an albino animal at home, you need to be careful. Albino animals’ eyes will get hurt if they are around too much sunlight or bright lights.


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