VET 0353 www Nov Comms17 A SF what do the wild rabbits do in winter

what do the wild rabbits do in winter

While domestic rabbits are pleasantly warm and cozy in winter thanks to their owners, wild rabbits do not enjoy this luxury.

Preparing for the cold season

As early as autumn, the survival instinct of wild rabbits and brown hares kicks in, causing them to grow thicker and denser fur. This protects them from the very icy temperatures that can occur in winter.

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Field hares remain in their den during the winter and field rabbits retreat to their rabbit hole, but this is also subject to freezing temperatures.

Most rabbits will also build up a few fat pads for the winter starting in late summer, which can provide additional protection from the cold while compensating for any food shortages that may occur.

No hibernation for wild rabbits

While field hamsters hibernate to protect themselves from the cold, wild rabbits do not. They are very active even in winter, so you may see them hopping in the snow.

Behavior during the winter period

Rabbits also need to procure food during the cold season, so they go stalking when dusk falls.

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If the rabbits live in areas where there are many people, they may also venture out of their burrows during the day to forage for food. However, the main time will always be when darkness falls.

In order to protect themselves from the bitter cold, they increasingly retreat into their burrows, where they live together with the other rabbits of the pack.

However, wild rabbits do not allow themselves real rest throughout the year, because they are considered very active animals that absolutely love the snow.

What do wild rabbits eat in winter?

During the summer months, wild rabbits feed mainly on leaves, grasses and herbs. But in winter, there is no fresh, juicy greenery for the wild rabbits to eat.

However, they do not have to starve, because the animals have an extremely good set of teeth, which ensures that they can feed even hard food without any problems. Thus, during the cold and possibly snowy winter months, they also like to feed on branches or on tree bark.

In addition, keep an eye out for scrawny grasses, which is also considered a delicacy by domestic rabbits in the winter and, on top of that, is needed for the rabbits’ digestion to function smoothly.
Reproduction during the winter months

Since the young animals would not be able to survive after a birth in winter, nature has arranged the reproduction times of rabbits so that it takes place mainly in spring and summer.
Rabbits reproduce between March and August, so at least the young are strong enough to be viable by the onset of winter.

Nevertheless, the survival rate during the first winter is very low.
Wild rabbits in winter – an overview:

  • Wild rabbits do not hibernate, and they are exceedingly active in winter as well
  • They love snow and roam around in the dark to forage for food
  • Wild rabbits do not reproduce in winter
  • They feed on tree bark and branches, among other things, in winter
  • If you find hay, the wild rabbits also eat this in winter with great pleasure.
  • Already before winter the airy summer coat changes to a dense and thick winter coat, which provides the best possible insulation
  • In addition, small fat pads are formed, which provide optimal protection from the cold
  • Wild rabbits also like to retreat to their burrow in winter to cuddle with their conspecifics and thus keep warm

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