What temperature is too cold for rabbits?
How cold can rabbits tolerate? The ideal temperature for rabbits is between 10 to 21 degrees Celsius. A temperature lower than the said range may leave you with a bunny craving for warmth. Fortunately, rabbits have remarkable survival skills even in colder temperatures, but at times they appreciate some human help. This article will teach you how to keep rabbits warm in winter.
When the temperature keeps dropping, it might be wise to relocate your rabbits indoors. If you decide to keep them outdoors, make sure you are doing everything you can to keep your pet rabbits warm and safe from wind, water, and damp.
The risk of hypothermia
It is common knowledge that the human body’s normal temperature is around 37 degrees. However, as for rabbits, they should be kept at around 38–40 degrees. If its temperature runs more than 40 degrees, it is considered a fever. When the body temperature falls below normal, the case is considered hypothermia. Clinical signs of hypothermia include:
- An extreme drop in body temperature
- Lethargy and lack of movement
- Signs of distress
- Stupor (in advanced stages)
If you think your rabbit is suffering from hypothermia, keep your furry pet warm in warm towels. Do seek help from the nearest veterinary clinic in your area.
In preparation for winter
The cold season may pose a threat to your bunny’s health. As such, it is important to take precautions and keep your rabbit warm and safe.
Adjustments to your rabbit’s hutch
Ensure that the housing of your rabbit is comfortable and in good condition. The easiest and simplest adjustment to make is relocating the hutch to a warmer area. Bringing it indoors or to a heated garage is even better.
Check for any damages in the walls of the hutch for replacement. You may use newspaper to block any gaps, keeping the cold air out. If the wall or the door is covered in mesh, you may cover them in plastic wrap. This allows your bunny to see through them and at the same time prevents cool air from entering. Make sure to leave space for proper ventilation.
Insulate your rabbit’s hutch
Having sheets of newspaper and a warm blanket should be enough. Use these things to cover an outdoor tarp. In this way, the hutch will be insulated against snow and rain. Aside from that, it also keeps the hutch sufficiently warm.
Provide a little box or a rabbit’s bed from pet stores that will serve as its private hut where the rabbit can freely climb in and out. The sleeping area should have a couple of bedding material such as dust-free hay. Do not give your rabbit a blanket as he may likely chew on it, causing intestinal blockage.
Straw serves well as an insulator, which is helpful in keeping rabbits warm. You may give to your rabbit a packed straw in the form of a wooden nesting box. Your bunny will probably love to snuggle inside. Just remember to clean the straw every two days.
Rabbit care during winter
Check water bottles and bowls.
Water bottles and bowls are likely to freeze during the winter season. As a result, your rabbit may not have water to drink. Make sure to check them a few times a day and replace them promptly when it freezes. It is very important for your rabbit to drink as soon as it is thirsty.
As a precaution, try wrapping the water bottle in an old towel. Try looking for water bottles designed for winter use.
Rabbits need to exercise even in bad weather.
You may allow your rabbits to play in the snow. Just be sure to dry them off before putting them back in their hut. Use a towel to dry them thoroughly. Give them time to naturally warm up indoors. Avoid putting them by a heater to dry.
Keep rabbits in pairs.
Most experts, if not all, recommend to rear rabbits in pairs. There is no better way to feel warm than by snuggling together with a friend. In addition, it is a good way to provide socialisation. Check out this article, The 6 Most Loved Rabbit Breeds, for further advice on the type of rabbit that you should get. Also, keep in mind these few reminders:
- The introduction should be done with enough time for adjustments before the winter season. Note that rabbits can be territorial, and caging them together at the first meeting can end disastrously. Instead, look for a neutral space for their first meeting.
- Use a water bottle in breaking up two fighting rabbits and try to introduce them again in an hour or so.
- Once you think they are comfortable with each other, you may put them in one cage for short periods. With time, you may be able to keep them together in one cage for the long run.
- If the introduction phase did not turn out well, it is best to cage them separately. Aggressive or territorial rabbits may pose a threat to one another.
Keep their clutches clean at all times.
When left unsupervised, your rabbit’s cage will be left with the aroma of the urine and not only that, urine may also freeze. Make sure to deal with it timely and appropriately. Remove clumps of urine and any traces of debris on a daily basis especially on the bedding area.
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