Cold weather concerns
In general, rabbits tolerate cold weather well given that their coats have grown to adapt to the temperatures and that they have access to proper shelter. They are best kept at temperatures of 55°F (12.7°C) to 72°F (22.2°C) and 30% to 70% relative humidity. However, rabbits can even be housed outdoors if necessary in temperatures under 40°F if protected from the cold.
How do I keep my rabbit warm?
Protection from cold, drafts, and moisture in the winter can be accomplished by giving a covered nesting box containing straw, shavings, or other insulative material.
If your rabbit is outdoors, before the winter, make sure their shelter is tightly sealed with no leaky drafts and water tight. You can use roof sealant from a local home improvement store to patch any leaks you find. The sides of their hutch should also be waterproofed. Its coating will wear and may need to be reapplied every couple of years as necessary to keep the damp from entering the hutch and stop the wood from rotting.
Some other items you can use to keep your bunny warm include the following:
- Heating pads
- Heated bowls
- Heated houses
Can my rabbit play in the snow?
Yes, your healthy indoor rabbit may safely play in the snow outside for short periods of time of 10-20 minutes. Avoid slushy or wet snow and make sure to dry them well once they come back inside. Please also be mindful of the usual outdoor dangers. If your rabbit does not appear to be enjoying the experience and spends the time huddling, then please bring them inside ASAP.
A safer choice may be bringing a litter tray or box of snow indoors for rabbits to play with.
A few video experiences:
- u/AlphaPack456. (2019). I’ve seen lots of rabbits in the snow so I wanted to try it
- u/MisterKittles17. (2018). First Day in the Snow
- Rabbit Rehome. Winter Care for Rabbits
- Save a Fluff. Caring for your rabbits in cold weather
- RSPCA. Rabbit Winter Care Advice [PDF]
- Margie Wilson. (2014). Winter Rabbit Care
- The Rabbit House. Winter Accommodation for Rabbits
- Bunny Approved. (2015). Winter Bunnies – How to Protect Rabbits from the Cold
Below are some discussions on the topic.
- Bunny Lovers Unite. (2008). How can I keep my bunnies warm?
- Bonnie Ballard and Ryan Cheek, Exotic Animal Medicine for the Veterinary Technician, 2010.
- Rabbit Rehome, Winter Care for Rabbits