The good thing about dogs and cats is that they can communicate with you by barking or meowing. But when you have a bunny, it may come to snuggle near you but will not communicate. Hence, at times it can get difficult to understand what exactly they need.
One of the major questions that many people have is whether rabbits are comfortable in cold weather or not. Some people keep them with them inside the house while some others prefer to keep them outdoors in their separate accommodation.
Often in winters, the temperature may drop to minus degrees. Is it safe to keep your bunnies in such cold weather at night?
Let us check this out.
How Much Cold Can Rabbit Tolerate?
Rabbits are mainly animals of the cold weather. They are resistant to temperature falls and can be comfortable even at a lower temperature of about -2 degrees. But you should keep a check of their body temperatures to know whether they are doing well or not. Ideally, rabbits should have a body temperature that is between 101 degrees F to 103 degrees F.
Though the rabbits can survive in freezing temperatures, too, if you find their body temperature has fallen 100 degrees F, you should immediately take the necessary steps to warm them up. One of the things that you can do is to keep a heating pad in their hutch. But if you find that the body temperature is not resuming back to normal even after the measures taken, you should surely consult the vet once.
Does Your Rabbit Feel Cold Too When You Are Shivering?
If you have a pet dog, it might jump in your blanket too when you are comfortable in it on a cold, shivering night. But this is not the case with your bunnies. While you do not have the courage to come out of your blankets, your bunnies are super comfortable in the furry coat that they have. These coats do not just make these animals cute but also ready for the harsh winters.
But that does not mean at all that these bunnies cannot fall sick. One of them can fall sick due to the weather conditions or some other reasons. How can you know when the rabbit is ill?
- You might feel that the ears of the rabbit are either too warm or too cold than usual.
- You might also feel the same thing about its paws.
If you feel such a situation, you should not wait and immediately call up the vet or take your rabbit to the clinic.
What to Do in Extreme Temperatures?
Though these furry animals are made for winters, that does not mean they can survive extremely harsh temperatures. Rabbits can be comfortable at a temperature of -2 degrees F, but if the temperature falls below that, this can get difficult for the rabbits to tolerate.
If the temperature outside is getting too chilled, here are some things you should do.
Shift the Hutch:
When it is about shifting the hutch somewhere else, it does not mean that you will carry it in your house. When it is winter, you must be using heaters, warm upholsteries, and other elements to keep the interiors warm. Now, this warm interior can make the rabbits uncomfortable too. They need a temperature that is not warm but is above the freezing temperature. So you can either shift their hutch inside your garage or can even keep it on your porch if it has a shed.
Refurbishing the Hutch:
Apart from shifting the hutch to the right place, it is also crucial to provide some refurbishing touch. The rabbits can tolerate chilling temperature but cannot tolerate damp and moisture. The mist will accumulate on the roof of the hutch, and if there is any gap, the frozen mist may dampen the walls too. This can make your rabbits uncomfortable. You can use sealings and other options to cover up such gaps. Make sure to close the door carefully so that no wind can enter the hutch.
Offering a Warm Floor:
You can cover the hutch floor with plastic and then with a carpet or an old blanket. Keep your bunnies on this. This will keep the rabbits stay in exactly the temperature in which they should be.
A Heating Pad:
If you stay at a place where the temperature drops down much below the freezing temperature at nights, you should consider having a heating pad in the hutch of your rabbits. It helps in controlling the temperature of the place so that your rabbits can stay comfortable. But make sure that you use them only when the temperature has dropped extensively. Overwarming the hutch can make the rabbits even more uncomfortable.
Keep Them in A Group:
Do you know rabbits can share each other’s body warmth to keep themselves warm even in the coldest temperatures? So, if the temperatures are just slightly below the freezing temperature, such as -2 degrees F or so, you do not have to do anything about it. Just let the bunnies snuggle up with each other. They will sleep snuggling with each other and be comfortable how you feel comfortable cuddling your pillow under the blanket.
Precautions to Follow
While you can follow these eminent steps to protect the rabbits from extremely cold temperatures, there are some precautionary measures.
- Do not show up extra love by putting up the blankets or a heating pad on the hutch floor every day without knowing the temperature. Overheating can cause higher discomfort.
- Make sure to check the temperature outside each night so that you can be sure what your rabbits need.
- Also, check the body temperature of your rabbits to know whether they are ill or not.
Rabbits do not need much attention, even during the winter nights. You do not have to worry about them until and unless it is too cold outside. A freezing degree temperature will not harm your rabbits; you should have concerns only if the temperature falls much below the freezing degrees.