Can Rabbits Freeze to Death?

Wild rabbits can withstand different temperatures around the world. On the contrary, it is challenging for pet rabbits to withstand harsh winters and summer.

They are highly sensitive creatures and require intensive care so they can live a long, happy life.

Pet rabbits are vulnerable to the cold and must be kept at an ideal temperature so they can spend their days comfortably.

Let’s explore what happens if a rabbit is left in cold temperatures it can’t withstand and what you can do to ensure your rabbit is safe during winter.

Can Rabbits Freeze to Death?

Yes, your pet rabbit really can freeze to death. In fact, there are different ways it can die, such as hypothermia, frostbite, and other illness and diseases related to cold.

People argue that wild rabbits can withstand freezing temperatures in nature’s habitat. Hence, pet rabbits can also survive the cold with their instincts.

However, that is not true.

First of all, the number of wild rabbits dying in winter has undoubtedly gone down, but that’s because they have adapted to the weather in their surroundings over time.

Secondly, wild rabbits live together in large numbers, so they are able to get close and cuddle together in order to keep each other warm.

On the contrary, pet rabbits are kept in pet stores or homes where the temperature is usually warm. So, they are accustomed to cozy and warm environments.

Adjusting to the cold can be challenging for them for this very reason.

In addition to this, most pet rabbits do not have companions, which means they can’t protect themselves when they feel cold.

This is why it is recommended to keep a pair of rabbits together instead of only getting a single rabbit. It keeps their nerves calm and helps them adjust to new environments faster.

It is also essential to remember that every rabbit species has a different fur coat, and the idea temperature may also differ.

As a rule of thumb, keep your pet rabbit at 60° F, which will be absolutely perfect for them to spend their day comfortably.

What’s the Lowest Temperature Rabbits Can Survive In?

Rabbits can survive in the cold. They can withstand temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-2° C). They’ll be okay even in near-freezing circumstances if they have a well-insulated hutch

It’s easy to verify by taking a thermometer reading, which should be between 101 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit (38-39.5° C).

Can You Keep Your Pet Rabbit Outside in Winter?

Although it is better to keep your rabbit indoors, some people just don’t have the space. In this case, you can keep your rabbit outdoors even during winter.

However, it is important to note that the hutch must be warm and covered enough to allow ventilation and also protect from the cold, harsh winds.

A temperature of 55° to 77° F is ideal for your pet rabbit. Anything higher or below will be challenging for your pet to survive.

It is essential to ensure that the outside temperature is not below 40° F. Moreover, they must not be left alone and should be kept dry at all costs.

At times, you may also have to make these calls yourself. If it doesn’t get too cold in your region during the night, you can keep the hutch outside.

If that’s not the case, the temperatures in your area can drop down to a freezing point, so it is better to keep your pet rabbit indoors.

How Can You Prevent Your Pet Rabbit From Freezing to Death?

If the temperature in your area drops below the freezing point quite often, it is better to take safety measures to ensure your pet rabbit stays warm in the harsh winter.

Pet parents whose rabbits have died due to cold temperatures could have saved their pets if they had taken suitable measures in time.

Here is what you can do to ensure your pet rabbit doesn’t freeze to death:

Prepare for the Weather Before Winter Arrives

A smart thing to do is to prepare well before the season arrives. It will give you enough time to ensure that you have taken all the necessary steps to protect your little bunny. 

If you only have a single pet rabbit, consider getting them a friend during winter so they have enough time to bond and get ready for winter so they can cuddle and keep each other warm.

Furthermore, if you must keep your rabbit outside, you should do so before the season begins. This gives the rabbits the time they need to naturally prepare for colder nights as their fur coats thicken.

Later, when winter is over, they will start shedding the extra fur to adjust to a warmer temperature.

Prepping the Hutch or Cage

Whether you keep your pet rabbit outdoors or indoors, it is necessary to maintain their housing as per the weather. 

It is essential to ensure that you place the hutch or cage in an area that is sheltered from the harsh cold winds.

Since a cage is open from all sides, you must provide substantial coverage so that rabbit doesn’t end up freezing. Many people prefer a roofing tin to ensure protection.

Furthermore, you will also need coverage from the sides so that your pet rabbit stays warm and cozy.

Hutches made of wood provide ample protection but still need to be prepared to make sure there is ventilation and safety from harsh winds.

It is critical to provide coverage during winter storms or strong winds if your hutch is placed outside. You can cover the front or large openings of the hutch with a big canvas.

It should be heavy enough to provide protection to the little bunnies inside. You must also ensure that it is tied or tucked tightly and doesn’t blow up due to the pressure of the winds.

You must also make sure there is space for ventilation, and the rabbits don’t suffocate because of lack of it.

Keep Your Bunny Dry

During winter, you must keep your rabbit dry. Their thick coat might keep them warm in a cold temperature, but rabbits find it hard to stay warm if water reaches their skin.

Unfortunately, it is pretty common for rabbits to knock over their water bowl and get wet from it. You can tie or attach the water dish to the cage, so it stays stable.

Another thing you can try to keep your rabbit from getting wet because of the water dish is to keep it off the floor and not fill it up to the brim.

This way, there won’t be any puddles on the ground that can make your rabbit wet.

Some cages come with a bottom tray which keeps the waste and any liquid residue away from the rabbits. Such a cage will help your rabbit stay safe from all kinds of illnesses that the bacteria from the waste might cause.

Furthermore, it will prevent your rabbit from getting wet since any spilled water will land on the tray directly through the wire bottom.

Bedding and Nesting

The bedding you provide your rabbit for nesting is an excellent way for your pet to keep warm. The nesting box should be large enough for the rabbit to fit in comfortably.

They must also have enough room to turn around easily and should also have space to enter and exit without difficulty.

However, the point of the nesting box is to provide warmth to your pet. It should not be bigger than the rabbit itself. Otherwise, cold air will still reach the rabbit.

You can use shavings, straw, or hay to ensure your pet stays warm in their personal cozy corner. This space will make it easier for the rabbit to sleep comfortably during cold nights.

Don’t Leave Your Rabbit Alone

It is essential to keep an eye on your rabbit during cold temperatures to ensure their safety.

At times, you may catch their shelter cover that has gotten loose or spilled water in the cage making your pet rabbit.

Hence, you might be able to help your pet if you catch them before their condition worsens. Hypothermia is a common illness in rabbits during winter.

If your rabbit is lethargic, not eating as per usual, has ears, nose, or paws cold to the touch, and has labored breathing, they could be suffering from hypothermia.

Pets rabbits can die fairly quickly and literally freeze to death if hypothermia if precautions aren’t taken for the season.

The Bottom Line

All animals need protection from harsh winter temperatures. If you take the proper preventive measures for your pet rabbit, they will go through the season comfortably.

Illnesses caused due to cold winds can be quite severe. Hence it is essential to prepare before winter arrives to provide protection to your pet rabbit.

It is essential to keep an eye on your pet throughout the winter season so you may know if something is wrong and take action immediately.

This may cause inconvenience, but this little prevention might just help save the life of your pet.

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