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Will My Rabbit Run Away if I Let It Outside? Safety Tips & More

Adam Mann

By Adam Mann

rabbit running on field

While a rabbit that’s well cared for shouldn’t try to run away if you let them outside, that doesn’t mean you should give them free rein on your lawn. Even if they’re not trying to run away, they can wind up lost, and there are tons of potential dangers for your rabbit outside even if they never leave your yard.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t take them outside, it just means you need to take some precautions when doing so. We’ll break down everything you need to know here.

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Do Rabbits Run Away?

While pet rabbits are unlikely to try and run away if you’re properly caring for them, that doesn’t mean you should just let them loose outside. That’s because while they might not try to run away, it’s extremely easy for them to wind up lost.

They could be playing games, following scents, or just enjoying the fresh grass while they’re hopping about. Before long, they don’t know where they are or how to get back home! This and other factors are why you need to take extra precautions when letting your pet rabbit enjoy the great outdoors.

rabbit running on grass
Image Credit: Pentium5, Shutterstock

How to Safely Take Your Rabbit Outside

There’s nothing wrong with taking your pet rabbit outside. In fact, there are numerous benefits to doing so. But if you’re planning on taking your pet rabbit outside, there are a few precautions you’ll need to take. We’ve highlighted six tips you should always follow.

1. Wait for the Right Weather

Rabbits are extremely sensitive creatures, and if you take them outside without somewhere for them to get away from the heat or to warm up in the cold, they can quickly get too hot or too cold. The ideal temperature range for rabbits is between 55°F and 70°F, although they can withstand temperatures up to 85°F for short periods of time.


2. Fence Them In

Himalayan rabbit
Image Credit: JumpStory

Rabbits like to wander, and if you don’t physically keep them from wandering, they can get away. Not only that but many rabbits think a game of chase is the definition of fun, so even if they’re not trying to run away, they could end up getting lost while trying to play with you. A simple fence can keep this from becoming a problem the next time you want to let them out.


3. Keep an Eye Out for Predators

Rabbits are a natural prey species, but when you keep them in captivity, they don’t have the natural instincts to survive in the wild. They rely on you to keep an eye out for predators, which means keeping an eye on the sky for hawks and other types of birds that might think they look like a tasty and easy-to-grab meal, even if you’re standing close by.


4. Introduce Grass to Their Diet First

white holland lop bunny rabbit wearing a leash exploring in the grass
Image Credit: Katy-Miele, Shutterstock

While there’s nothing wrong with your rabbit eating some grass from time to time, it can upset your rabbit’s stomach if they’ve never had it before. When you let your rabbit outside, they will eat some grass, so ensuring it’s not brand-new to their system can help keep them from getting sick.


5. Ensure the Outdoor Grass Is Safe

When your rabbit is outside, they’re going to chomp on the grass some, and you’re not going to be able to stop it. Usually, this isn’t a problem, but if you treat your grass with chemicals, you shouldn’t put your rabbit around it. Your rabbit will eat the grass with the chemicals on them, and these chemicals can make your rabbit sick or even kill them if they eat too much.


6. Give Them Shade & Water

Rabbit drinking from a water bottle inside cage
Image Credit: Inna Reznik, Shutterstock

Whenever your rabbit heads outside, you need to give them a place in the shade to stay cool and have constant access to water whenever they’re out and about. If you don’t give them either of these things, they can quickly overheat.

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How to Find a Lost Rabbit

If you went outside and your rabbit is already lost, it’s up to you to find them. If you’re hoping for your rabbit to come back on their own, it’s not likely. It’s not that they won’t want to come home, it’s that they won’t know how.

1. Look Close to Home

When your rabbit winds up lost, they’re not likely to go far from your home. They’ll wander a bit, but they will likely find somewhere to hunker down and wait. Eventually, if you don’t find them, they might wander out a bit further, but usually, they don’t make it too far!

a black flemish giant rabbit sitting on the ground
Image Credit: Natasha Bolbot, Shutterstock

2. Look Under Things

When your rabbit realizes they’re lost, they will get scared. And when your rabbit’s scared, they will look for somewhere to hide. One of the easiest places for your rabbit to hide is under things, so it’s where you’ll want to look when searching.

Rabbits can make themselves extremely small, so you’ll need to look under even extremely small objects if you want to try and find them.


3. Use Food & Treats

Pets know the sound of their food and treats opening and closing, so when you’re going around searching for them, shake their food and treat containers a bit. Whatever food they like the most is what you should use. Hopefully, when they hear the container, they’ll come running up to you!

young rabbit fauve de Bourgogne on grass in front of white background
Image Credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

4. Let People Know

If you’ve lost your pet rabbit, you need to let people know about it. Pet rabbits don’t act like wild rabbits, and there’s a good chance someone else will pick them out while they’re out. If they know you’ve lost your rabbit, they can return it to you, but if they don’t know, they won’t know where to take them.


5. Check Shelters & Rescues

Often when people find a pet rabbit and they don’t know who owns it, they’ll take it to a local shelter or rescue. If the rescue or shelter knows you lost them, they’ll reach out to you so you can pick them up.

White rabbits of the giant Chinchilla breed
Image Credit: taya_xxmeimei, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Just because your rabbit shouldn’t run away from you if you let them outside doesn’t mean you should let them loose outside without taking a few precautions first. It doesn’t take long for something to happen to your rabbit or for them to get lost, so always treat a rabbit like they’re trying to get away, even if they aren’t.


Featured Image Credit: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

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