The Real Giant Rabbits That Inspired Peter Jackson For "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
Yes, these giant rabbits really do exist, and yes, you can have one in your house if you want it. Plus: exclusive video!
In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the wizard Radagast the Brown rides on a sleigh pulled by giant "Rhosgobel Rabbits" — creatures that were very much not in J.R.R. Tolkein's beloved book.
In this exclusive clip from the extended edition Blu-ray for the film (out Nov. 5), director and co-screenwriter Peter Jackson reveals that these fantasy rabbits are based on quite real giant rabbits that exist in real life and are real.
The most common breed of giant rabbit is called the Flemish Giant, and they've actually been around since roughly the 16th century.
By 1893, Flemish Giants became a standardized domesticated breed for pets as well.
They weigh on average about 15 pounds but they can grow as big as 22 pounds for males, and 20 pounds for females.
According to the National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders — yes, that is a real thing — the Flemish Giant is recognized to come in seven varieties (or colors).
Considered to be docile and gentle, they can make for excellent pets.
Their lifespan runs from just 5–10 years, though, so be sure to soak up the rabbit-y goodness, because it won't last long.
This is what they look like at a few months old.
This is what they look like as newborns.
And the world of giant rabbit breeders is, evidently, quite competitive.
Bizarrely, the photos of giant rabbits Jackson and his team found online appear to have been altered — not of the giant rabbit, but of the man holding the giant rabbit.
It would appear the prestige of owning a giant rabbit is so irresistible that some guy apparently felt it necessary to trick people into thinking he was the one holding it.
Because who doesn't want a photo of themselves holding a giant rabbit?