How do wild rabbits get water in the winter?
All animals need food and water as a basic necessity to survive during the year. All of them have their way of getting adequate food and water that is necessary for survival, whether it is during summer, winter, autumn, or spring. Changing season does not mean that the animal will survive without food or water, even when it is snowing; animals need their food water to live.
Some animals hibernate during winters which include bats, beers, bees, snakes, etc. Although, it is a lot harder to find food and water for wild animals during winter because the grass and other food sources dry off and the water freezes because of snow in the forest during winters.
Wild rabbits do not hibernate. During winters, wild rabbits are usually under their shelters. They only move out of the tent when they have to find water or food. If it has snowed, they can get plenty of water.
If there is no snow, they will look for collected water on plants, ponds, puddles or small streams. The rabbit does not need a large amount of water. Even if it collects some water, it is enough for him not to stay hydrated.
How do wild rabbits get water in the winter?
Most of the times wild rabbits get their moisture from the food that they eat; they will also drink from puddles, stream, small water bodies and dewdrops on plants but this is not as common as them getting their hydration from the food that they are eating.
On the other hand, domesticated rabbits have their water bowl and water bottles from which they will drink water. Domesticated rabbits, just like wild rabbits, can also get their water from the food that they eat but as they are kept at homes, they are provided with clean drinking water in their water bowls and sipper bottles as well. They are privileged when it comes to food and water as compared to wild rabbits.
How wild rabbits and domesticated rabbits drink water during winters are from:
- Water bowl – water bowl can be provided to a tame rabbit to drink water from during summers and winters. They can drink fresh, clean water from a water bowl. The water bowl should be kept clean during all the seasons.
- Sipper bottle – sipper bottles that are made up of metals are preferable as compared to plastic bottles because the rabbit can chew the plastic. If the rabbit does not drink from the sipper, you can smear the banana on it till he starts drinking water from it. It depends on the rabbit’s preference, which way he wants to drink water from, either a water bowl or a sipper bottle.
- Leafy green vegetables – leafy green vegetables are a good way to provide water or moisture to wild rabbits, especially. They feed on the greens and get a good portion of their water from these greens.
- Puddles/streams/dewdrops/snow –the water in winters is usually acquired from puddles or streams if there are any available. If there is snow, then wild rabbits get water easily from snow or the dewdrops that are on plants.
What do wild rabbits eat and drink in the winter?
There is a difference in what wild rabbits and domesticated rabbits eat or drink due to the distinct environments that they live in. The diets of wild rabbits differ during different seasons. Wild rabbits maintain a plant-based diet during the colder and warmer season.
During colder seasons, they maintain a wood-based diet such as buds, pine needles, twigs; gnaw tree barks and the remaining green plants that are there during colder seasons.
During the warmer seasons, they eat a plant-based diet such as grasses, clover, leafy weeds, wildflowers, tree seedlings and other vegetable plants and flowers. Timothy and oat are the types of hay that the wild rabbits can eat.
Pellets with seeds are a good nutritional source for the rabbit. Different types of fresh vegetables and fruits are also good for wild rabbits.
Wild rabbits and domesticated rabbits both drink water during all the seasons. Goat milk can also be given to wild rabbits and domesticated rabbits. If the mother of the wild baby rabbit is not around, goat milk can be fed to the baby rabbit. Adult rabbits can also be given packet milk which is of a good brand.
Taking care of wild rabbits during winters
If you have a yard and rabbits come in it during the winters, place twigs, young trees, shrub buds and small branches in your yard. It is better to not put vegetables and fruits because, in this way, you will attract other animals in your yard.
You do not want a lot of wild animals in your yard because they can destroy your yard and might be the carrier of harmful diseases which can come in your yard with wild animals coming in. You can put chicken wire around plants that you do not want to destroy.
It is not always a very good idea to attract wild animals because they can be dependent on unnatural food sources and stop searching for food on their own. But during wintertime, if you want to help them find food easily, you can do this practice.
Where do rabbits live during winters?
Wild rabbits and domesticated differ in where they live during winters.
- Wild rabbits –Wild rabbits do not migrate during winters; they live in the burrows that they dig for themselves. Cottontail rabbit does not dig a burrow, so it lives in the burrow that is dug by any other animal if it is empty.
- Cottontail rabbits just crawl in an empty burrow and live there during winters to stay warm. In areas with houses, rabbits find shelters like garages, under cars etc. to keep themselves warm during winters. Wild rabbit is naturally resourceful; it will find a place for itself to live in. Wild rabbits do have a very bad survival rate during winters. Recently, a study has shown that only 2 out of 226 rabbits reach the age of 2. Only 30 % of wild rabbits live during winters. They do have a good reproduction rate.
- Domesticated rabbits – It is okay to keep your rabbit outside during winters, but you need to make some arrangements. If you are keeping your rabbit outside during winter, it is important that you make arrangements for its accommodation. Rabbits cope up with moderately cold weather pretty well if they have a dry area in their shelter in which they are living in. You can build a hutch for your rabbit to keep it warm. You can put mesh doors and make sure the ventilation takes place.
- You can cover the hutch with a blanket or a hutch cover to insulate it. You can even move the hutch to the garage or under the shelter to keep it warm. Make sure to provide your rabbit with a warm bed because they prefer warm bedding. You can even use a greenhouse heater to keep the area warm and to keep the temperature above the freezing point.
Do rabbits eat snow for water?
The rabbits that are kept as pets need to be given water by their owners. Rabbits, like other pets, need water to drink all the time. If the water freezes because it is kept outside, then you can keep two bowls.
When one freezes, you can provide them with another bowl of fresh water to drink. There are a few rabbits that can eat snow and drink the dew off the plants. This compensates the water intake of these rabbits. Wild rabbits are living in such an environment which makes them a lot tougher than the domesticated rabbits. They can eat snow and search for other food and water sources to ensure their survival.
Rabbits do not hibernate during winters, so they have to look for food and water for survival. Domesticated rabbits have the luxury of getting their food and water provided, but wild rabbits have to search for their food water even in winters.
They are usually under their shelter, and they come out of the shelter when they have to find water or food. If it has snowed, they can get plenty of water. If there is no snow, they will look for collected water on plants, ponds, puddles, or small streams.
They get their water intake from the food that they eat as well. If you want to help a wild rabbit that comes in your yard during winters, place twigs, barks, and small branches, etc. in your yard but do no continue this practice because then the wild rabbit will be dependent on you for providing him with food and water.
Wild rabbits do eat snow for water during winters as well, but domesticated rabbits do not do this. Wild rabbits, specifically, cottontails find an empty burrow dug by other animals and make it their shelter to live in during winters.