During the peak of the winter, there was a heavy snowfall and wild wind blow one night. That startled everyone; I was so afraid for my little rabbit whose hutch is outdoors. “Dad, Let’s bring Tim in! He might be freezing by now” My little girl cried. Though I have already made Tim’s hutch weatherproof, I was still doubtful about his safety.

Do Rabbits Get Cold At Night
Do Rabbits Get Cold At Night

This is because I have treated several cases of hypothermia in the clinic. A fatal health condition in rabbits, caused by prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures. I couldn’t bring Tom into the house immediately because my home was already heated up for warmth. From my 25 experience with rabbits, I already discovered that an abrupt change in a rabbit’s body temperature can be fatal.

Rabbit’s fur has insulating functions and is used for making sweaters, duvets, socks, winter coats, and gloves for human use during winter. You may conclude that fur can perfectly shield rabbits from the cold. But that might not be the case! In this article, you will get in-depth answers to your questions and discover ways to protect your furry friend from the harsh weather at night.

Know About the Body Temperature of Rabbits 

Rabbits are warm-blooded furry fellows just like cats and dogs. A typical rabbit has a body temperature of 38 to 40 degrees centigrade. They can retain their internal body temperature despite the temperature of their surroundings. Metabolic processes help them to regulate their body temperature. These processes consume large amounts of energy. This is the reason why your rabbit tends to eat a lot during cold seasons. They need it for warmth!

How Do Rabbits Maintain Their Body Temperatures?

Do Rabbits Get Cold At Night
Do Rabbits Get Cold At Night

Rabbits retain their body temperature in some ways! Their fur protects them from the cold. When the weather becomes very cold, the hairs of rabbits stand erect by reflex. And cover their whole skin with fur. The fat in their body tissues also provides some warmth and protection against cold weather. When rabbits shiver, their muscles constrict and supply some amount of heat that helps the internal body of rabbits to resist the cold.

During blood circulation, the body temperature of rabbits is also regulated by the dilation and contraction of the blood vessels. When their blood vessels widen, more blood circulates quickly. Thus, warming up their bodies. These body functions allow rabbits to survive in different climates. However, extremely cold weather conditions can upset the process and harm your rabbits.

Do Rabbits Get Cold At Night?

Regardless of the temperature regulatory features, rabbits can get cold at night. When they are exposed for a long time to the cold weather without any protection. Wet conditions and chilly winds can drastically decrease the body temperature of rabbits! Healthy rabbits that are used to living outdoors can resist very low temperatures from 0 degrees centigrade. As long as they are protected from wetness and wind chills! 

Rabbits that have spent most of their lives indoors should not be moved outdoors—in a hutch—during winter. The extremely low weather outside can freeze them at night! You should allow them to move outdoors in the morning fall. So, they can slowly adapt to the cold temperature outside. Baby, aging, or sick rabbits may not adjust to the cold conditions outside even when provided with good hutches and healthy diets.  

They should not be left outdoors at night in winter.

Do Rabbits Love The Cold Weather?

Naturally, rabbits are built to thrive in cold conditions. It increases their energy levels and keeps them physically active. Some are more playful during the winter season. However, extremely cold weather can be detestable to them!

How Do Wild Rabbits Stay Warm At Night?

Wild rabbits dig burrows or hide in underground caves littered with grasses and straw. For warmth during the cold winter at night! They also grow thick furs that keep them warm in winter. Their body fat also supplies heat that warms them up.

Which Temperature Is Too Cold For Rabbits?

Rabbits can survive harsh temperatures as low as -2 degrees centigrade as long as there is no wetness and cold wind. Nevertheless, this temperature may be too cold for sick, aging, or baby rabbits. The most favorable temperature for rabbits is in the range of 15 to 20 degrees centigrade. 

Do Rabbits Need Light At Night For Warmth?

Rabbits are very responsive to light! Overexposure to light at night can have negative effects on them. It can even damage their eyesight! Rabbits love the night and can see in darkness. It’s not necessary to put the light on! Just provide enough warmth for them at night and they are okay.

Do Rabbits Like To Sleep In The Dark?

Yes, rabbits love to hide in the dark while sleeping. They feel safer that way! Provide a cave-like structure inside your rabbit’s hutch that allows them to hide. It could be a tunnel made from fabrics. A cardboard or wooden box. Anything that can hide them! Nonetheless, ensure it’s not something that can be chewed. Especially if your rabbits just nibble on anything! It can harm them if care is not taken. 

Should I Cover My Rabbit’s Cage At Night?

Covering your rabbit’s cage may be unnecessary at night. If your rabbit stays in the house with you, providing a warm cave-like bed can be the best option. If he lives outdoors, then the hutch should be made weather-proof and secure for them. 

What Should My Rabbit Sleep On?

It is not advisable to use blankets or fabric materials as bedding in your rabbit’s hutch. They may eat its soft materials, which can be harmful to them. Hay or straw litter on the floor of their hutch can be the best option. It provides warmth for them as they sleep. But, it has to be renewed regularly. They can easily get moist and hoard mold or insects that can discomfort your furry friend. Consider getting a cave-like bed with a very dense fabric floor they find hard to chew. Anyway, your rabbit’s habits will help you decide on the best bedding for them.

Should I Allow My Bunny To Sleep On My Bed?

Do not allow your rabbits to sleep with you on your bed. They are little and very fragile! And you can easily suppress them unconsciously as you turn in your sleep. They may even disturb your sleep by biting your toes or scratching your face. More so, they can foul your bed with their urine or droppings. The smell may take longer to fade away even after heavy-duty laundry. I know you wouldn’t want that!

Do Rabbits Get Cold Inside The House?

If your house temperature is around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, your rabbit will not feel cold. Their thick fur helps them adapt to the cold weather. Naturally, they can withstand cold conditions just like their wild fellows. However, they get cold easily when they are exposed to wetness and wind chills. Your rabbit will do just fine if your house is protected from these! Outdoor rabbits will be more comfortable in the cold night if their hutch is weather-proof too.

Can Rabbits Die From The Cold?

Yes, rabbits exposed to extremely cold temperatures for a long time can die. Especially when soaked in the wet cold and blown by wind chills! But they can withstand very cold conditions when placed in a wet-free and wind-blocked hutch or tunnel.

How Do I Know My Rabbit Is Cold?

You will notice the following when your rabbit is cold:

  • Their ears and nose are very cold when touched 
  • Their ear sags 
  • They lie in a curled posture with their feet tucked in 
  • Persistent shivering and sneezing 

What To Do When You See These Signs 

The easiest way to warm up a cold rabbit is to use a heating pad. Place a towel on a microwave and allow it to heat up for about 40 seconds. Wrap it up and allow your bunny to cuddle onto it in a sitting position. You should also take him to your vet for more examination and treatment if need be.

How Do I Know My Rabbit Is Comfortable At Night?

Do Rabbits Get Cold At Night

You will know that your rabbits are satisfied and warm when they lie with a loosened body with their full length stretched.

Health Problems Caused By Over-exposing Your Rabbits To The Cold At Night 

  • Hypothermia: Your rabbit is likely to develop hypothermia when its body temperature declines to an extreme level. After staying long in freezing or wet conditions! It is often marked by shivering and sickly, pale lips and gums, inactivity, and weakness. Warm up your bunny and take him to your vet as soon as you notice these signs.
  • Frostbite: very low temperatures can freeze the ears, nose, and toes of rabbits. The skin becomes pale blue, and blood flow ceases! And you may see frost on delicate parts of their body. In extreme cases, frostbite can make your rabbit’s ears fall off. Massage your rabbit’s body parts with a towel soaked in warm water. And wrap him up with a heating pad as soon as you notice these signs! Do not use a heat radiator directly on their skin. It can injure their skin! Take your rabbit to a vet for further treatment.
  • Arthritis: aging rabbits may have aching arthritis due to prolonged exposure to cold conditions, especially to wet cold. Ensure you protect them against these.
  • Weak Immune System: Extremely cold temperatures can weaken your rabbit’s immune system. And make their body vulnerable to diseases.

How Do I Keep My Rabbit Warm In His Hutch?

  • Bring in some changes to your bunny’s hutch to make it weatherproof and secure. Build some legs or place bricks under the hutch so that the floor will be above the cold ground. Install windbreaks and some layers of insulation around the hutch. You can also make a den-like bed that your rabbits can sneak into—in his hutch. On cold nights!
  • Get good heating pads for your rabbits. You can warm up the pads and lay them in your bunny’s hutch. It will emit heat that will keep your bunny warm for some hours. Also, provide enough space for your rabbits to stay once they get too hot and move away from the pad.
  • Most people prefer using blankets inside their rabbit’s hutch. I would advise you to go for bedding. Litter the hutch floor with hay and straw they can easily burrow into for warmth. And replace it daily to ensure your rabbit’s hutch is wet-free and comfortable.

Which Hutch Should I Buy For My Rabbit’s Maximum Protection From The Cold Weather?

We recommend any of these hutches to protect your rabbits from the cold winter at night. 

  • Aivituvin Rabbit Indoor and Outdoor Hutch: It’s a waterproof, anti-corrosive, and ultra-durable wooden hutch. Its roof is designed to protect your rabbit from all kinds of harsh weather conditions. It is spacious and a good shield from predators. Its parts are easily adjustable! The roof can be unsealed with ease whenever you want to clean the inside. Its entrance door slides down a slope to allow your bunnies to enter and exit with ease. With its firmly fastened bolt, you will be sure that your little friend is secured from predators.
  • Good Life Wooden Outdoor Indoor Hutch: This is a 2-story weatherproof hutch that allows your pet to move freely inside and outside. They can also stay upstairs and downstairs.  It has a hinged roof with a weatherproof coating and can be unlocked from the back. It has an adjustable plastic tub for easy cleaning. The wood panel at its back blocks out the rain and wind from entering your rabbit’s dwelling. Its metal lattice and firmly fixed hatch keep predators away when locked.

Good House Beds For Indoor Rabbits 

If your pet rabbit lives with you indoors, these cave-like beds are good for them. 

  • Yuepet Bunny Warm Cave Beds: this cave bed gives your rabbits privacy and a sense of safety. He can lay on it any time he wants to rest or sleep. It’s a cozy home You can also unfold it as a floor sofa for your rabbits to sit on. It’s a cozy home for your rabbit who loves hideouts! It’s soft, warm, and very comfortable for dwarf rabbits. It is made up of high-quality, warm, odor-free materials. The bottom surface is skid-resistant. It also has a fitting, inner pad that can easily be removed and cleaned. It’s very easy to wash!
  • BWOGUE Bed Warm Cave: it’s a quiet, private cave made from high-density foam and soft fabrics. It has a warm, soft, cushion inside which your furry friend can lie on for maximum comfort. This tent bed is a cozy place for your rabbit to hide, rest, sleep, and play. It has its shape intact even after washing.

Do Rabbits Get Cold At Night – Conclusion 

Pet rabbits are naturally resistant to cold weather because of their thick furs and body metabolism. However, they can easily get cold at night when exposed for a long time to wetness and wind chills from winter. Prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures can also harm them if treatment is delayed. It is your duty as a responsible rabbit parent to protect your bunny from the cold winter if you want their well-being.

About the Author

Dr Esther Praag

Dr ès sc. Esther van Praag is a renowned researcher and scientist in the field of rabbit biology and diseases. She received her doctorate degree from Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has published numerous papers in top scientific journals and has received numerous awards and honors for her work. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Esther-Van-Praag-2

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