Have you ever noticed that the temperature of your rabbits’ ears can sometimes fluctuate quite a bit?
Have you always wondered why the ears are sometimes warm and sometimes cold?
In this article you will learn everything about rabbit ears and will know exactly what the temperature of the ears means – and whether you need to take action.
Cool or cold rabbit ears? A small but subtle difference
Body temperature fluctuations are perfectly normal and are not a cause for concern per se.
The ideal temperature of rabbit ears is roughly in the range of their normal body temperature – that is, between 38.5°C and 39.5°C.
However, because rabbits regulate their temperature primarily through their ears, sometimes the ears may feel a little warmer and sometimes a little colder.
Cool ears are not a cause for concern at first. They indicate that your rabbit is a little chilly and is trying to warm up its body a little more.
However, if you notice that your rabbit’s ears are not just cool, but really cold, then this fact should make you sit up and take notice: Cold ears are quite often a symptom of problems with your rabbit’s gastrointestinal tract.
As you probably know, rabbits have a very sensitive digestive system, which can quickly be affected by incorrect feeding or even infections.
Therefore, watch your rabbit a little more closely if it has cold ears and check the temperature of the ears regularly to notice any changes right away.
Also pay attention to how your pet is behaving otherwise.
Is it fit?
Does it eat normally?
Does it drink little or normally?
Is it restless in any way?
Does it defecate and if so, what is the consistency and color?
What is the overall impression of the rabbit?
All these questions need to be answered in order to be able to look at and classify the cold ears in the overall picture.
Note, however, that the ears of your animals can feel warmer or colder if you yourself have particularly cold or warm hands! If possible, it is always advisable to let a second person feel the ears.
If you get the impression that there is something wrong with your rabbit, you should take your rabbit to a veterinarian you trust!
This is especially true if your rabbit is showing cold ears in combination with constipation symptoms, because you need to act fast! First aid can be given by massaging your rabbit’s belly and taking a temperature. However, this is no substitute for a visit to the vet!
If your rabbit’s ears are only cold for a short time and he is behaving normally, there is no reason to worry.
Especially outdoors, when temperatures drop and your rabbit is outside the sheltered hutch a lot, the ears may be temporarily colder than usual.
However, if your rabbit is so cold that it is shivering and otherwise showing symptoms in addition to cold ears, then be good enough to relocate your animals to a warmer place until spring arrives.
The meaning of warm or even hot rabbit ears.
In contrast to cool ears, warm ears mean that your rabbit is just too hot and is in the process of cooling down through the ears to restore balance to the organism.
In general, however, it can be said that cooler ears are better than warm ears. This is mainly because rabbits can manage cooler temperatures better than warm ones.
Especially in the cold winter months, when you keep your animals indoors and like it cozy and warm yourself, it can quickly get TOO warm for your rabbits. It is therefore not recommended that you turn the heating up full blast, but for the sake of your animals, make sure that the room temperature is between 18°C and 20°C – at least where your rabbits are.
Also, be sure not to place your animal’s enclosure directly in front of the heater!
If you notice that your rabbit’s ears are not only warm, but even hot, then all alarm bells should ring. Hot ears are always a sign of high fever. Wait is no longer appropriate, take the temperature of your rabbit (if possible) and bring it to the vet as soon as possible.
When can you tell the state of health from the ears?
Sometimes it’s not so easy to tell if your rabbit’s ears are indicating a problem, or really just acting as a tool to regulate temperature for more menial reasons.
Rabbits are prey animals and therefore tend to be on the lower end of the food chain. In addition, the animals are very socially inclined and only feel so really safe in a group – alone they quickly suffer from great (death) fears.
In view of this, their survival instinct vehemently advises them not to show weakness under any circumstances.
Weak, sick and old animals are often cast out of the group and are easy prey for foxes and co.
Of course, there is no real danger to your rabbit in your enclosure if it shows pain or otherwise ‘weakness’, but this circumstance is not apparent to your rabbit.
So it will try with all its might to make its disease symptoms almost invisible.
This can lead to big problems if your rabbit does not tell you – or tells you late – that something is wrong. Therefore, keep a close eye on your rabbit’s behavior and check their activity, drinking and eating behavior, body and ear temperature as well as digestion regularly in order to be able to react early.
Cold ears alone are not a symptom of disease, but in combination with other symptoms can give an indication of where the problems may be anchored.
Tip: Learn if rabbit ears can break here.
How to measure your rabbit’s body temperature correctly
It may always be necessary to check your pet’s body temperature – both to detect fever and hypothermia.
In order to make this measurement as easy and stress-free as possible for your rabbit, here is a short step-by-step guide on this topic.
- supine position
First, take your rabbit out of the enclosure and place it on its back. Make sure your rabbit is lying softly by placing it on a soft surface or your lap.
Also, although your rabbit will struggle when you turn it onto its back, it will quickly stop once you position it on your lap.
- the C formation
Support your rabbit’s head and shoulders – preferably with your belly – a bit while it is on your lap.
The rabbit’s hind legs should be positioned with the pads facing the ceiling.
The rabbit as a whole is now lying there like a C, open towards the ceiling. Only in this position is it possible for you to insert the clinical thermometer naturally and without resistance into the animal’s rectum. 3.
- support the hind legs
Taking the body temperature means a lot of stress for your animals. For one thing, taking the temperature itself isn’t exactly pleasant, and for another, your rabbit won’t be thrilled about being on its back.
To prevent it from starting to kick its hind legs or otherwise struggle, the hind legs should be immobilized. This is best done with a second person acting as a helping hand, so you can focus entirely on the measuring itself.
- let’s go
After all precautions have been taken and your rabbit keeps still, you can now start with the measurement.
Be careful not to insert the thermometer too deep into the anus of the animal!
If in doubt, ask a veterinarian to show you how to take a temperature, because if you insert the thermometer too deeply, you may injure the rabbit’s intestines!
Cold ears after castration
Did you know that rabbit ears are always cold after your pet has been neutered?
This is primarily due to the anesthesia, which causes the rabbit’s body temperature to drop. Therefore, to prevent hypothermia, it is mandatory to always keep the rabbit warm during surgery.
Even after surgery, the animal’s body needs some time to regulate its temperature on its own. Therefore, you should bring your rabbit to a warm place for a few hours after the surgery, where it can recover in peace.
However, always check that your rabbit is not getting too warm!
My name is Mark and the senior editor
I take great pride in being the best possible author and giving you the knowledge that i have on all different types of animals!
I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
The website will draw have authors who are vets, pet owners, and local pet breeders. All who will contribute their fantastic knowledge which in turn will be able to help you i hope.
There is a lot of information on the internet so it may be hard to know where exactly is the best place to start learning. But we will write articles that get straight to the point, and give you all the information that you need with no fluff!
If you have any questions please leave a comment on the article, and i will reply to you!