With so many people starting to add a pet rabbit to their home, we have noticed more and more people specifically reaching out and asking about how to care for their rabbit in the colder months of the year.
Although rabbits can be very hardy animals with wild rabbits being able to survive in most areas of the world, pet rabbits are very different.
Due to this, we have rightly seen a number of rabbit owners reaching out and asking if their rabbits can freeze to death in winter or not.
It is good to see so many responsible pet owners thinking ahead and factoring in the health of their pet rabbits and with so many people reaching out, we have decided to publish this dedicated article on the topic.
Our hope is that we will be able to help our readers winterproof their rabbit’s hutch throughout the colder months of the year to help get their rabbit through the winter.
In some areas though, it will simply be too cold for a pet rabbit to stay outside and you will have to bring your rabbit indoors to protect it from the cold.
Can Rabbits Freeze To Death?
Rabbits can freeze to death in the winter months if it gets cold enough and a rabbit freezing to death is, unfortunately, more common than most people think.
Most of the time, the rabbit that froze to death could have been saved if the owners had taken some simple steps to winterproof their hutch too.
One of the worst pieces of “advice” that we see time and time again on social media about leaving rabbits outdoors during the winter months is that wild rabbits live outdoors and they are fine.
Although wild rabbits do live outdoors during the winter months, they still have a high death rate and wild rabbits have usually evolved over time to be able to live through the normal winter temperatures in that location.
On top of that, most wild rabbits will huddle together for warmth to increase their chances of survival when it gets cold.
Pet rabbits are usually alone so unable to huddle with other rabbits and are often species of rabbits with softer coats so they are usually designed for warmer climates meaning they are not naturally able to take the cold temperatures that local wild rabbits can.
What Temperature Is Too Cold For Rabbits?
The general recommended temperatures for rabbits is from 12° to 21°C (55° to 70°F) and anything below that starting to have an effect on the survival rate of the rabbit.
It is generally considered that most rabbit species are within range of freezing to death at temperature ranges of -6.6° to -1°C (20° to 30°F).
Keep in mind that this is the ambient temperature, the temperature in your rabbit’s hutch can be warmer if it has some suitable bedding or a chicken coop heater but wind chill can still counter these.
The species of rabbit that you have and the amount of air that it is able to trap in its coat will also come into play too but for the most part, if you live in an area where it gets very cold you should be trying to bring your pet rabbits indoors.
There are general risks to your rabbits in colder temperatures that also pose a risk to their life outside of freezing to death such as hyperthermia too.
Although we have seen some excellent rabbit hutches that have been winterproofed to ensure that the rabbits inside will be fine with the winter cold, it does generally cost a large amount of money to do it correctly for colder areas when you can just bring your rabbit inside of the house for a couple of months.
Are Rabbits Ok Outside In The Winter?
Rabbits can be ok outside in the winter depending on your local temperature. Most healthy adult rabbits will be fine in areas that go down to around 4.5°C/40°F but even this can pose some risks to some rabbits.
This is why the recommended temperature range for rabbits is 12° to 21°C (55° to 70°F) as it keeps your rabbits core temperature within a safe range.
Provided your local area will stay within the recommended temperature ranges for rabbits throughout winter then you should be fine.
You can also winterproof your rabbit’s cage by putting a Rabbit Hutch Cover on it to insulate the heat and to block out the wind from adding a wind chill factor.
Although these rabbit hutch covers can work well in some areas, it really is difficult to work out how well they work to safely use them.
Although they do a great job of blocking out the wind chill, it is still hard to work out the actual benefit that they provide to be confident in using them.
Some people will also add chicken coop heater to their rabbit hutches but there are too many variables to factor in to make this a suitable option for everyone too.
How To Protect Your Rabbit From The Cold In Winter!
The best way to protect your rabbit from the cold in winter is to bring your rabbit indoors. If you are in any doubt if it is too cold for your rabbit to be outdoors then it probably is and you should try to bring your rabbit inside to keep it warm for the winter months.
All of the other methods to protect your rabbit from freezing to death or having other problems with the cold in the winter months will depend on a number of variables so it’s not as easy as saying do something and your rabbit will be safe.
Some people have done as little as pack their rabbits sleeping chamber in their hutch with extra bedding where as others have gone as far to manually install a chicken coop heater with many people trying everything in between.
In colder areas, some of these may still not be enough to keep your rabbit safe too, especially if it has a thinner coat and is not able to retain much air to warm up.
The more rabbits you have in the hutch does help your rabbits huddle together to share their heat but on the flipside of that, it also puts more rabbits in potential danger if you are in an area that does get particularly cold during the winter months.
That brings our article going over if rabbits can freeze to death to an end. Unfortunately, as with most questions like this, there are simply too many variables for us to give you an exact answer of what you should be doing to keep your rabbit safe in winter if you do have to leave it outside. As we have said multiple times throughout the article, the best option is to always bring your rabbits indoors for the colder months and keep them as warm as possible.