Have you recently adopted a rabbit, and with winter approaching, you’re wondering how you’ll keep your bun warm? Perhaps you’ve tried placing a towel or blanket in their cage, but they prefer ripping it up and using it as a litter box. This has you wondering…
Should you cover your rabbit’s cage at night, and is it safe?
Covering a rabbit’s cage at night is unnecessary unless temperatures drop below 15℉. Rabbits are naturally able to keep themselves warm, thanks to their thick fur coats. Some people cover their rabbit’s cage at night for protection against predators, the cold, or if they have a skittish rabbit.
If you’re contemplating covering your rabbit’s cage at night but are unsure of the pros and cons, this guide will provide you with all the facts you need.
Do Rabbits Get Cold at Night?
Rabbits can get cold at night, especially in an outdoor hutch. Your bun has thick fur that helps keep them comfortable during winter.
Have you ever noticed that your floppy-eared friend becomes way more active and playful when the weather is cooler outside?
This is because rabbits love the cold; in fact, the cold revitalizes them.
However, sometimes, the cool temperature can become too much for your rabbit. The perfect room temperature for rabbits should be between 60℉ to 70℉, but they can also tolerate temperatures of around 40℉ to 75℉.
If your bun lives outside, it can withstand temperatures as low as 15℉.
Although it’s not always possible to have a safe indoor environment for your rabbit, it’s vital to ensure the hutch is kept dry and out of the wind to prevent your bun from suffering from frostbite or developing hypothermia.
Watch out for these signs if you suspect your bun is getting too cold:
- When you pick them up their ears and feet are cold.
- They have a shallow and slow heartbeat.
- They don’t move or move very slowly when you check on them.
- They assume the “loaf” position (puff themselves up and tuck their legs underneath themselves to reduce the surface area exposed to the cold) to keep themselves warm.
If your bun displays these symptoms and has a very slow heartbeat, you must get them to the vet as they can die from hypothermia.
Here are a few suggestions on how you can keep your outdoor bun a little warmer during the winter months:
- Raise the hutch or rabbit cage off the ground (frost forms on the ground) to prevent frost from covering the hutch.
- Block any cracks or gaps in the hutch to prevent chilly drafts.
- Provide your bun with extra bedding for insulation, such as hay or shredded newspaper.
- Cover the hutch with a waterproof tarp to prevent your bun from getting wet.
Is It Okay to Cover the Bunny Cage at Night?
While putting a blanket over your bunny’s cage for comfort makes sense to you, some rabbits freak out if their vision is blocked. As prey animals, rabbits need to be alert and prefer to be able to see their surroundings.
But each rabbit is different.
Let’s take a look at some situations when it’s okay to cover a bunny cage at night:
Some rabbits are easily stressed out and struggle to wind down. They can become quite skittish at night. This all depends on your rabbit’s personality.
It may be hard for your bun to settle down at night because it’s much quieter when the household sleeps.
If your rabbits see something unusual, they’ll usually start thumping the bottom of their hutch, disturbing your family who is trying to sleep.
Covering the cage at night might help your skittish rabbit to settle down easier.
If you have an outdoor setup for your bun and are aware of predators that frequent your garden, it may be a good idea to cover the hutch with a blanket at night. However, just because you’ve covered the hutch doesn’t mean the predator (or your rabbit) can’t still pick up the scent of your bun.
It’s okay to place a waterproof blanket over your rabbit’s outdoor hutch at night in cold weather. The blanket will offer extra warmth and prevent hypothermia if the temperatures drop too low.
Ensure you don’t make the hutch too warm, which will upset your rabbit and cause discomfort.
How to Properly Cover Your Rabbit Cage
Remember that bunnies have natural ways to keep themselves warm, such as pulling themselves into a “loaf position.”
While it is okay to cover a rabbit’s cage at night in some situations, you also need to ensure that there is still good ventilation and that your rabbit doesn’t overheat.
Follow these steps on how to cover your rabbit cage properly:
1. Avoid using threadbare blankets to cover the rabbit cage. Your bun won’t be able to resist chewing on the loose threads and eating it (which can lead to a blockage in the digestive tract and possibly even death).
2. Only cover the top of the cage and allow the blanket to hang over the edges.
3. Ensure good ventilation in the cage by leaving a decent space uncovered at the bottom of the cage for airflow.
4. Ensure the cage’s top is strong enough to hold the weight of the blanket, as you don’t want the blanket and cage to collapse on your bunny.
Do Rabbits Like Blankets Over Their Cage?
Every rabbit is different. In general, they don’t like blankets obscuring their vision.
Covering the cage can cause quite a lot of stress for your bun, as they are naturally alert animals.
Wild rabbits hide in burrows or nests, and their vision is never blocked in case they have to escape a predator.
Is It Okay to Leave Bunnies in the Dark?
It is okay to leave your bun in the dark.
Rabbits enjoy having a safe resting area to sleep in. An ideal sleeping area is dark and sheltered from noise.
Remember, rabbits are crepuscular (most active during dawn and dusk) and can see in the dark.
They also sleep on and off throughout the day, with no real set time for sleeping.
My Last Bunny Thoughts
Even though covering your floppy-eared friend’s cage with a blanket at night may seem like a kind and caring thing to do, it isn’t really necessary (or advisable).
Obscuring your bunny’s view has the opposite effect and can result in a very stressed-out rabbit.
Instead, provide your bun with a cardboard box in their living area that they can snuggle into when they need some peace and quiet. This will keep your bun comfortable and happy.