Rabbits are abundant in the wild, and many keep them as pets. Some people have the mistaken assumption that rabbits hibernate in the winter. The truth is that neither wild nor pet rabbits hibernate.
However, it’s important to note that if the rabbits are exposed to colder conditions, they will change their appearance and behavior. If you’ve ever wondered how to care for your pet rabbit in the winter, we’ve got you covered. We’ll discuss how rabbits change during the winter and how to protect your rabbit from the colder conditions.
Do Pet Rabbits Hibernate?
No, pet rabbits do not hibernate, and neither do wild rabbits. People don’t see wild rabbits running through their yards in the winter because they tend to stay in one place when the temperatures drop. A pet rabbit is in a secure location, being kept warm, and fed, so they have even less reason to hibernate than a wild rabbit.
Ways Cold Affects Your Pet Rabbit
If your bunny lives inside, it won’t be affected by the winter. However, if they live outside, there are a few ways that winter will change your little furry friend.
If your rabbit lives outside, it will get a thicker coat in the winter months. This shedding will start in the fall, and your rabbit will have a thicker coat by winter. Sometimes, the color of the rabbit’s fur will change as well, with its winter coat being darker and the summer fur being lighter.
Eating Habit Changes
In the winter, you might notice your bunny eating more. They eat more to help stabilize their body temperature. This will happen if your rabbit lives outside but won’t occur if you keep it indoors.
Drinking Habit Changes
If you’ve noticed that your rabbit drinks a ton during the summer months, it’s because they are staying cool. In the winter, the rabbit will drink a lot less because they aren’t hot and don’t need to. Make sure you check our rabbit’s water bottle two or three times a day during the winter so that it doesn’t freeze.
Spending More Time in Their Bed
While bunnies don’t hibernate, you will find that your bunny spends more time snuggled in its bed during the winter season. They usually do this because the conditions are harsher, so they snuggle down into their beds to stay out of the wind and extreme conditions. With the tips in our next section, you can help your rabbit stay warm and safe during the brutal winter season.
How to Protect Your Pet Rabbit During the Cold Season
While rabbits are quite energetic during the fall, they tend to slow down during winter because of the cold.
Make sure that your rabbit has shelter from winter storms and the wind. You should put its hutch in an area that blocks against the wind, snow, rain, and sleet. You don’t want a cold wind blowing into your rabbit’s hutch and making it uncomfortable. You can place a cardboard box in the hutch lined with barley straw or paper to keep your pet insulated from the cold. If you have an outdoor hutch made of wire mesh, you can drape a tarp over it to shield the rabbit from the elements.
Keep Them Dry
Rabbits don’t like to live in wet or damp conditions. Make sure that you keep the rabbit hutch dry and clean. If you see that water is somehow seeping into the hutch, it’s best to move it to another location.
Feed Them a Little More
Rabbits constantly consume hay, but during the winter, you should increase your supplies since they will eat more.
Protect Your Furry Friend
While you’ve done everything possible to make your rabbit cozy and warm during the winter, you must also protect your furry friend from predators. While predators are also out and about in the warm months, they are looking for food more during the cold winter.
During the winter, animals such as badgers and foxes are hungrier and bolder, which means they will work hard to get through the hutch to your pet. Ensure the hutch is durable enough to stop a predator from breaking through and making your rabbit a meal.
Make Sure to Give Them Access to Their Run
Even though it’s winter and cold outside, your rabbit still needs to be able to get exercise. If it’s too frosty outside for your rabbit to run and play, you can take it indoors in a secure room for exercise.
Contrary to popular belief, rabbits do not hibernate in the winter. However, its eating habits will change, and its fur will grow thicker. If your pet rabbit is kept outside, it will get a bit slower during the winter season, but it will still come out to exercise, eat, and sit in the sun. If you have your rabbit in a hutch outside, it’s essential to keep your rabbit warm, cozy, and dry during the cold of the winter.