The fur of the cute rabbits is fluffy soft and hardly anyone can resist the urge to run their hand over the warm and soft fur.
But is this fur really always warm?
Whether rabbits can freeze, what the signs look like and what you can do about it, you will now learn in this article.
Can rabbits freeze?
Yes, rabbits can get cold too. Just because they have fur doesn’t mean they don’t mind low temperatures.
However, there are breed differences: some breeds have a thick coat with a dense top coat, while others, such as lion-headed rabbits, have an apparently voluminous coat, but the undercoat and the density of the top coat leave a lot to be desired.
A rather high sensitivity to cold.
Since you surely want your rabbits to feel comfortable with you, it is certainly not in your interest that your furry animals – in good German – freeze off a branch.
For this reason, we will now explain to you exactly how you can recognize freezing rabbits.
Typical signs: How to recognize a freezing rabbit
To recognize that your rabbit is freezing, there are some clues regarding his behavior and also in his body language.
Typical signs of freezing are:
- A typical fur ball appears
- Your rabbit shivers
- The rabbit makes itself small and round
- The animal is calmer than usual
Now let’s take a closer look….
- a furball develops
Since you are a responsible pet owner and know that rabbits are not suitable for single keeping, you certainly own several animals.
If you observe your animals cuddling together in their little house, you probably won’t think twice about this behavior at first. But when the temperatures drop, you should look a little closer.
If your rabbits lie close together for a long period of time or noticeably often, or even pile up, this may be a desperate attempt to warm each other up.
Yes, rabbits can also shiver when they are cold.
However, a freezing rabbit will most likely retreat to a shelter when it is cold. For this reason, sometimes it is not readily apparent to you that your rabbit is shivering.
For this reason, watch your rabbits a little more closely every now and then, and don’t just give them glances.
Attention: The trembling can also have other reasons. You can find out what they are here.
- small and round
No, this does not mean that your rabbit is getting fat, but that it curls up in the cold to better store the body’s own heat.
Snuggled up in the hay nest in the rabbit hutch it is a little easier to bear than outside in the cold!
- the animals are calmer than usual
If you notice that your rabbits are unusually quiet, it could be that they are freezing. Those that are freezing will retreat and cut back all activity to a minimum in order to spend more energy warming their bodies.
Note: Rabbits generally become quieter in the winter. So this is not a cause for alarm at first. However, be sure to look more closely at what is causing the change in behavior.
Keeping rabbits in winter: Apartment, balcony or garden?
This is a subject where opinions differ: while some claim that rabbits belong outside in all weathers, others are of the opinion that it can make sense to bring the animals indoors during the winter.
There is no universal right or wrong here.
Whether your rabbits are suitable for keeping outside in winter depends on various factors.
For example, it plays a big role how your rabbits have been kept so far. If your rabbits are used to being kept indoors only, it would be tactically unwise to try to re-home them during the coldest part of the year – logical, right?
However, if your rabbits have always lived outside on the balcony or in the garden, they will have much thicker fur over the winter months than their indoor counterparts.
However, you should always pay a little attention to the breed here, because as previously mentioned, there are breeds that are not suitable for year-round outdoor living.
If your rabbits live in the garden all year round and you don’t want to bring them indoors, but you feel that they get a little cold from time to time, then keeping them on the balcony during the winter months might be a compromise.
On the balcony, the animals are usually a little more protected from the wind and weather.
In addition, house walls store heat to a certain extent and give it off to their surroundings. So it may well be that your rabbits are a little warmer on the balcony than in the garden.
5 tips to help your rabbits get through the winter well.
To make the winter months as pleasant as possible for your furry friends, there are a few precautions you can take. We will now explain how you can actively increase the well-being of your animals with the help of these five tips.
- an insulated barn
Have you ever sat in a room in the winter where you could feel the cold creeping into the room through the cracks of the windows and under the crack of the door?
That is not a nice feeling – neither for humans nor animals! Especially if you plan to keep your rabbits outside during the winter months, you should make sure that the hutch and shelter are well insulated.
This way, the heat that the rabbits give off to their environment can’t escape as easily and the cold air from outside has less opportunity to get inside. In this way, the air inside the hutch is warmer than outside. So if your rabbits are hopping around their enclosure in the deepest snow, they can always warm up inside the hutch if they start to get cold.
Winterize your rabbit hutch: the XXL guide
- more hay and straw
While we often sleep with thin or even no blanket at all in the summer, we tend to prefer a thick winter down blanket when the temperatures are low.
This is also the case for your rabbits!
For this reason you should offer them the possibility to protect their sleeping place against the cold during the cold months. Giving them extra hay and straw is highly recommended.
In addition, make sure that your enclosure also has shelters where several animals can sleep. This way the animals can snuggle up to each other if necessary and give each other warmth – besides, cuddling is just sooooo nice!
- off into the apartment
No one likes to see their rabbits suffer.
If you find that your rabbits are freezing both in the garden and on the balcony, the only thing that will help in the end is a move to the warm apartment.
From March/April the outside temperature usually rises again, so that the animals can move back into their home in the garden or on the balcony.
But beware! Animals that are kept indoors over the winter have significantly less winter coat than other rabbits. Therefore, accustom the animals gradually to the still quite cool temperatures in spring by putting them temporarily outside during the day and bringing them back into the apartment at night. In this way, the animals can slowly adapt to the ambient temperature. 4.
- a warm blanket
It can make a big difference to cover the coop with a fleece blanket when it’s cold. Again, this creates a type of insulation that provides warmth to the animals and protects them from the cold and freezing wind.
However, make sure that your animals can get enough sunlight despite the blanket. At night, the blanket can cover the entire hutch, but during the day, the rabbits would like to be able to see something of the world. 😉 5.
- create more space for movement
If you rest, you rust – and freeze!
Movement creates warmth – which is why many people and animals shiver when they are cold.
This knowledge can be actively used to specifically combat the feeling of cold.
Place food, water, hiding places and other furnishings as widely as possible so that your rabbits have to move around a lot to meet their needs.
However, make sure you place things so they can’t disappear under a thick layer of snow when it snows.
Especially with regard to water, you should be vigilant – because water freezes. Therefore, check the water bowl regularly and avoid metal bowls, as they are more sensitive to cold than ceramic bowls.
Even in winter, it is important that your animals can find something to eat and drink around the clock to enable them to live a happy life with maximum well-being.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
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