In Real Life
rabbits come in a variety of colors. Most of these colors are a result of breeding for appearance in domestic breeds of rabbit (though as with any animal, breeding exclusively for color can sometimes lead to health problems). Wild rabbits and hares are almost invariably gray or brown in order to aid in camouflage, though some will have white winter coats to blend in with the snow.
In fiction however, rabbits are frequently depicted as pure white, regardless of breed or season.
This may be due to the fact that bunnies and the color white both have associations with innocence and gentleness. It may also be that any animal which is pure white tends to be visually striking and easy to watch. Or it could just be that a white bunny is so darn cute
It is also likely due in part to The Coconut Effect
. White is a color favored in pet rabbits, so if a person's first exposure to rabbits is through someone's pet it is likely to make them expect to see more of the same.
Eye color also plays into this trope. Most colors of rabbits simply have Brown Eyes
. White rabbits however can have blue or what rabbit breeders call "ruby" eyes. The ruby eyes can be portrayed as sinister red
, or as a cute
The bunny can be either all or mostly white or light grey.
The white or light grey bunny is likely to be played to one of two extremes. It may personify gentleness and innocence, in which case it is likely to be a pet or friend to a pure
character. Or it may play a deliberate subversion of that perception by being evil or vicious
, in which case characters will probably approach it unsuspectingly only to get a nasty surprise.
Not to be confused with Follow the White Rabbit
. Subtrope of Typical Cartoon Animal Colors
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Anime and Manga
- In the "Land of Waves" arc of Naruto Naruto "accidentally" throws a shuriken at a white bunny and narrowly misses. However, Kakashi notes that a wild rabbit should not be that color at that time of year and figures out that it's a decoy, cue rogue ninja with a big-ass sword.
- Ruby, the protagonist of Jewelpet.
- The Killer Rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Definitely of the deceptively gentle-looking variety
- Harvey the pooka is depicted as a giant white rabbit. His best friend Elwood is a very sweet, gentle man.
- The title character of Who Framed Roger Rabbit is white-furred with blue eyes
- Resident Evil. In the first film Alice recovers a memory of life in the Hive before the T-virus outbreak. An Umbrella researcher injects first the T-Virus and then its antidote into a white rabbit. The whole film is about the extreme evil of the Umbrella Mega Corp., so using a white rabbit could represent the innocents put at risk by Umbrella's research.
- Boingo in Hoodwinked. He seems to be a white bunny of the innocent variety until he is revealed as the movie's villain.
- Flop the rabbit from Art The Gecko Makes A Friend.
- The Ur Example might be the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. Averted by the March Hare who is usually shown as brown.
- Largely averted in Watership Down where most rabbits are natural gray or brown. Played straight however with Silver, who is teased at Sandleford Warren because his fur is so light it's almost white.
- In The Emerald City of Oz Dorothy travels to Bunnybury, a city created by Glinda for all the pink-eyed white rabbits of the forest.
Live Action TV
- LOST named an early episode that used the Follow the White Rabbit plot "White Rabbit." In later seasons,actual rabbits appeared - white rabbits. They were often associated with Ben, and their scenes with him caring for them as a boy showed his own innocence.
- Justified in the Sherlock episode, The Hounds of Baskerville: The rabbits Dr Stapleton are working on are pure white: genetically engineered lab animals are usually white, because it's easier to see bioluminescence in a light-coloured specimen than in a darker one.
- The Easter Bunny is usually shown as white.
- Whenever there's a magician, they will almost always pull a rabbit from a hat, and that rabbit is most always white.
- Somewhat justified, as a white rabbit will be easier for the audience to see against any dark-colored backdrop. In the days before electric stage lighting, this was likely to be a prime consideration.
- Snowball, the main character of Bunnykill, is the only major white bunny of the main cast.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Fluttershy's pet is a white rabbit named Angel Bunny. Fluttershy is the sweetest and kindest member of the mane six. Angel himself is rather questionable in his disposition.
- In an Easter episode of South Park parodying The Da Vinci Code, the secret heir to the papacy is revealed to be a white rabbit named Snowball.
- The prototype Bugs Bunny from 1937, dubbed "Happy Rabbit". He didn't become something closer to the familiar old grey hare until two years later.
- Arthur: Buster Baxter and all the other rabbit people we meet are pure white.