Due to your rabbit’s coarse, thick fur…
The cold never seems to bother them at all.
However, can they fully depend on it?
And could they survive the freezing weather outside?
Read on to learn more:
- The coldest temperature a rabbit can handle.
- 7 clear signs to know if your bunny’s freezing.
- Whether rabbits get cold at night and die from it.
- 13 practical tips to keep your bunny warm at night.
- And so much more…
Do rabbits get cold at night?
Rabbits can get cold at night if they’re not in good condition and the temperature’s too low. They may also not do well due to rain or strong winds. But this might happen to kits or young rabbits.. As they can’t control their body temperature properly – like adults. While this ability’s reduced in old rabbits.
Bunnies, regardless of breed, have thick coats.
It’s nature’s way of helping them endure chilly temperatures.
Also, experts say rabbits shed every 3 months.
However, they shed less than usual on cold days.
They do this to keep their fur dense and allow them to survive during winter.
But still, don’t be at ease.
The factors I said earlier can still make a furry bunny vulnerable to cold.
And to prevent this, here’s a query you may have in mind…
What temperature is too cold for rabbits?
In general, below 50°F (20°C) can be too cold for most rabbits. Meanwhile, others may tolerate temperatures as low as 20°F (-6.67°C).
Based on experts, the ideal temperatures for domestic bunnies are between 50-68°F (10-20°C).
But this may also depend on a rabbit’s condition. As well as the type of weather they’re used to.
For example, ill bunnies may struggle to control their body temperatures.
On the other hand, some rabbits who are used to freezing climates might do better in the cold than those who aren’t.
Now that we’re talking about bunnies’ tolerance…
You may also have this question in mind…
Can rabbits die from cold?
Rabbits can die from cold and being wet, especially unhealthy ones if no action’s taken. This might happen if their body temperature becomes abnormally low. Which may cause their system to shut down and lead to death.
What I just described’s called ‘hypothermia.’
Experts say it’s a fatal condition that you should treat fast. As it progresses within only a few hours.
“How do rabbits get this?”
Usually, healthy bunnies tolerate low temperatures well.
However, some rabbits are at high risk.
Say those of old or young age. As well as bunnies who aren’t in good shape.
They can’t control their body temperature because of their condition.
Thus, they may not do well in freezing weather. Or stand having wet fur despite strong winds.
But besides this, hypothermia can also be due to the following:
- Blood loss.
- Poisoning (e.g., plants, food).
- Illness (e.g., womb infection, severe allergic reactions).
At first, rabbits will experience shortness of breath. As well as an irregular heartbeat.
When resting, the normal heart rate of bunnies is from 140-180 beats per minute. So you’ll know something’s wrong if it’s lower or higher than the said range.
It may also reduce their immunity to infections.
And it can cause damage to their:
- Blood vessels.
These complications can lead to coma or, worse, death.
Studies show that rabbits who developed hypothermia had temperatures below 97.9°F (36.6°C).
Also, they’re 5 times more prone to death than bunnies with normal body temperatures.
So watch out for these symptoms of hypothermia in rabbits:
- Pale gums.
Note: Bunnies can also get a cold due to poor room temperature. It’s called ‘snuffles.’ But it’s mostly a result of bacteria.
What to do?
In times like this, you must perform first aid quickly.
Here’s how you can help raise your rabbit’s body temperature:
- Pour hot water into zip locks or plastic bottles.
- Wrap a towel around it. Do this to avoid burning your bunny’s skin.
- Put the hot containers around and under your rabbit.
- Check their body temperature.
- Wait until it returns to normal – 101.3-104 °F (38.3-39.4C).
- Remove the hot containers and warm towels once they reach the said temperature.
- Call your vet and bring your bunny to the clinic immediately.
If you’re unfamiliar with step #4, follow the easy guide below:
How to get your rabbit’s body temperature
- Bring your bunny to a quiet room.
- Put them on your lap or a table. But ensure you place a towel underneath the rabbit first.
- Lubricate the tip of your thermometer. (You can use Vaseline for this.)
- Using 1 hand, hold your bunny upright with their back against you. Keep their 2 forelegs supported and pointing up to the sky.
- Rest their rear end on your lap or the table.
- If they’re anxious, calm them down by gently stroking the top of their head. Or speaking to them softly.
- Once calm, slowly insert the tip of the thermometer in their anus by 1 inch at most.
- Turn on the thermometer to read the temperature.
- Remove it when done.
Other important reminders
To prevent hurting your fur baby and get an accurate reading…
Avoid inserting the thermometer too deep.
But if it isn’t in all the way…
You may also get an extremely low temperature.
So the general rule here’s to ensure that the silver tip’s covered. Meanwhile, only a little bit of the plastic goes inside.
Also, lube the tip properly. If done right, your rabbit wouldn’t even notice that a foreign object’s in their bum.
Now, for a more accurate result…
You can get your rabbit’s temperature 3 times in a row. And consider the last one as the final reading.
Note: If you have a female rabbit, you’ll notice 2 holes in their rear end. Typically, the more visible opening is the vagina. But if you gently press around the area, you’ll see a slit under it – near the base of their tail base. That’s the anus wherein you’ll insert the tip of the thermometer.
Want to see how it’s done?
Here’s a short clip you can check out:
How do I know if my rabbit is cold?
Shivering’s one of the most visible signs that your rabbit is cold. They may also do a ‘bunny loaf’ or lie down with their feet tucked underneath to conserve body heat.
For non-visual signs, you’ll also notice that your bunny’s ears and limbs are cold to the touch.
Before we go on, here’s a quick trivia.
Studies say that trembling’s an automatic body response to cold.
You can observe this in warm-blooded creatures. Say mammals – including but not limited to humans and rabbits.
The nerves, a.k.a. small sensors in the skin, send signals to the brain.
These will make the muscles all over the body shiver.
And because this process exerts energy…
It’ll create warmth. Which can help raise body temperature.
You might also like: 15 Easy Ways To Help Wild Rabbits In Winter
Now, do you observe some of these in your fur baby at night?
Below are some tips to help them sleep comfortably.
How do I keep my rabbit warm at night?
#1: Move them indoors
If your bunnies stay in an outdoor hutch, relocate them during cold months. (But if not, skip to tip #9.)
You can put them inside your house. Or place them in a:
- Car-free/unused garage.
However, before doing so, ensure they still have an exercise area. Or enough space to run and hop around.
Note: If you’ll put your bunnies in a garage, ensure it’s unused. Research found that exhaust gases are dangerous to rabbits when inhaled. It can damage their lungs and affect their function.
#2: Keep them off the ground
To prevent their outdoor hutch from being damp, raise it by at least 4 in (10.16 cm).
#3: Provide a cardboard box
Give your rabbit a place to hide and stay warm.
The easiest option is to put a cardboard box inside their hutch.
Just put at least 2 holes in it. Also, pay close attention to your bunny to prevent them from chewing a huge amount of it.
They may swallow big chunks of cardboard. And this can result in:
- Upset stomach.
- Intestinal obstruction.
If you want to know more, read this next: Can Rabbits Eat Cardboard? 3 Dangers, 5 Reasons & 3 Tips
#4: Give them access to a warmer area
If you have an outdoor bunny, avoid leaving them outside without any options.
Ensure they can go inside a rabbit-proofed part of your house if they feel cold. Or have access to a dry, warm shed.
#5: Cover a portion of their hutch
Let me tell you first that this isn’t ideal at all times.
Also, you shouldn’t cover all sides or the entire cage.
Ensure your bunny still gets air inside. And that the material you’ll wrap around it’s made of breathable fabric (e.g., cotton, linen, polyester).
Now, how does covering your rabbit’s hutch help?
In the wild, bunnies dig and stay in burrows.
They use them as a hiding place in times of danger.
But burrows can also be a:
- Nest for young kits (young rabbits).
- Place to keep them dry and warm.
Plus, digging helps trim your rabbit’s nails and keep them busy.
Thus, some bunnies may find peace in dark, cramped spaces too. And covering their hutch can block winds as well.
#6: Ensure their sleeping spot’s warm and comfy
Whether your rabbit stays inside or outside…
Their resting place must be away from:
- Cold breeze.
- Openings (e.g., doors, windows).
#7: Supply bundles of hay
Experts say rabbits need at least 1 bundle of quality hay daily.
But to help them survive cold nights, ensure you give them a box with lots of it.
Do this to provide them extra warmth.
#8: Put extra bedding
Wind or moisture can still seep into your rabbit’s hutch through its base.
So if it’s freezing outside, place more bedding in their cage for additional insulation.
For this, use whatever material your fur baby likes best.
However, soft straw’s ideal for most outdoor rabbits.
Note: Don’t worry. Your bunny will modify their sleeping spot and move their bedding if it’s too warm.
#9: Offer lukewarm water
When the weather’s hot, rabbits usually prefer a cold drink.
Specifically water with a temperature above 75°F (23.9°C), specialists say.
But if they’re cold, some bunnies like drinking warm water.
And giving some to your rabbit may also help them regulate their temperature.
#10: Adjust the room temperature
If you have an indoor bunny, raise the temperature a bit for their comfort.
The recommended temperatures are around 50-68°F (10-20°C).
Besides this, you can also make a DIY hot pack to change the temperature around your rabbit.
- Fill up bottles or a few ziplock plastics with hot water.
- Cover them with a towel.
- Put them around your bunny.
#11: Consider getting a heat mat
Replacing the water of a DIY hot pack can be too much work for some – especially at night.
So if your rabbit’s in dire need of warmth…
You may invest in a heat mat as well. Look for a product for small animals like this one.
Then have your bunny use it during cold nights.
#12: Dry them with a towel
If you see your rabbit wet at night, gently rub their fur with a dry, clean towel.
Try to absorb as much excess water as you can.
Using a hair dryer’s fine as well.
But ensure you put it in a gentle, warm setting – not too hot.
Note: Afterward, you might as well put your rabbit over a heating mat to keep them warm through the night.
#13: Bring them to animal emergency
Lastly, if your bunny’s case’s more severe than simply getting cold…
What you might be seeing are symptoms of hypothermia.
Some of its early signs are the following:
- Loss of coordination.
Again, it’s a condition that you shouldn’t take lightly.
So contact your vet and take them to the clinic immediately. Or call an animal emergency if it’s too late at night.