Rabbit owners are truly lucky in the sense that their pets are relatively low-maintenance.
They don’t need to be walked after every meal, nor do they need long playtimes to drain their energy levels before the couch gets attacked (yes, dogs, we’re looking at you!)
However, as with any pet you bring home, there are some things you will need to monitor.
One of these factors is your rabbit’s temperature. Are you worried about their ears being too warm?
Let’s find out if it is a cause of concern and what could be the reason behind it!
Should Rabbit Ears Be Warm?
Understanding whether your rabbit’s ears should be warm or not first requires us to figure out how these little creatures regulate their body temperature.
Rabbits have a rather peculiar way of temperature regulation. They control their internal body temperature through a network of blood vessels in their ears.
This means that high thermic exchanges occur through the blood vessels found in your bunny’s ears.
You can think of them acting with the same mechanism as our sweat glands. Just like humans sweat to cool down their bodies, similarly, bunnies use their large, floppy ears as thermo-regulators to release heat from their bodies.
This is usually why rabbit ears are slightly warm to the touch.
Research conducted by the University of Michigan also revealed that rabbits consume less food and use more energy to release heat from their ears during the summers.
However, it is important to keep in mind that rabbit ears going from slightly warm to hot, or staying warm for a long time, can be signs that something is wrong.
Why Are My Rabbit’s Ears Warm?
Have you noticed that your rabbit’s ears are getting warmer or staying hot the whole day?
If this is paired with lethargy, heavy panting, and loss of appetite, your rabbit could be having a heatstroke.
Contacting your vet is the best way to act if your rabbit is having a heatstroke.
Also called hyperthermia in rabbits, it can cause increased heart rate, rapid breathing and become potentially life-threatening if left untreated.
Hyperthermia in Rabbits
When the temperatures rise above 92*F, your rabbits can be at risk of hyperthermia or a heat stroke.
Overweight rabbits are more at risk of hyperthermia, so keeping your bunny fit can help prevent this.’
Symptoms of Hyperthermia
- Change of color of the rabbit’s body (blue lips or ears)
- Fast heart rate
- Wet nose and drooling
- Blood-tinged discharge from the mouth
If you notice any of these symptoms, try to lower your rabbit’s body temperature immediately.
Bring them indoors and place them near the fan. You can also wrap them in a cool towel for a few minutes and offer chilled water to drink.
How to Reduce the Risk of Hyperthermia
Here are some excellent ways to reduce the risk of your bunnies developing hyperthermia over the summers.
- Keep your rabbits in a well-ventilated hutch. Their living temperature shouldn’t increase over 80*F.
- Place a fan near the hutch to maintain proper airflow.
- Use water sprinklers to wet the hutch’s roof.
- Keep your bunnies hydrated by offering fresh, cold water every few hours.
Extra Tips for Your Rabbit’s Health
Now that you know the perfect temperature that your rabbit’s ears should be, you can make efforts to ensure they are comfortable and safe.
Keeping them cool and comfortable during the summers will reduce the risk of hyperthermia.
Here are some other tips to keep your little bunnies happily hopping about.
- Try to make sure your rabbits get plenty of time outside their cage each day. While rabbits love having a secure little nest to themselves, they also need a way to expend their energy.
- Allow your rabbits 3-4 hours of hopping about in the sun. This can be in your backyard or even in a room with the curtains drawn to let in the sunlight.
- Book regular appointments with your vet for general checkups. These should be done at least twice a year so the vet can diagnose any problems early on and treat them ASAP.
- Get them vaccinated and spayed on time.
- Offer your bunnies a balanced diet of hay, veggies, and rabbit pellets. Proper nutrition with any supplements suggested by your vet is the best way to maintain your bunny’s best health.
It is a relief to know that your rabbit’s slightly warm ears aren’t something to worry about too much.
However, if the warmth persists even after the bunny has had time to cool off and relax, then you should definitely take note.
When warm ears are paired with lethargy, unwillingness to eat food, and appearing uncomfortable, it can be a sign of hyperthermia in your rabbit.
Don’t worry, though! Quick action and a trip to the vets’ will treat this problem effectively.
Your vet will prescribe medication and environment changes to ensure your bunny is back to normal and hopping about happy soon enough.
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