Rabbit on snow

Do rabbits get cold at night? How cold is too cold?

How cold is too cold for bunnies? And what can we do to make sure that our rabbits stay safe and warm, especially over the winter months? Find out how to care for your bunny when the temperature drops.

By Craig, bunny lover and HVAC expert at Appliance Analysts.

While we’re sitting cosy and warm at home, it’s easy to worry about how our bunnies are faring out in the cold.

But how cold is too cold for a rabbit?

Rabbits are cold weather animals. They’re highly temperature resistant, and can handle temperatures down to almost 30oF (-2oC). With a well-insulated hutch, they’ll be fine even in near-freezing conditions. You can always check by measuring their temperature – which should be between 101-103oF (38-39.5oC). If it’s under 100oF (37.8oC), it’s time to warm them up. And if that doesn’t help, get in touch with your vet.

Do rabbits feel the cold?

Even if it’s freezing outside – your teeth are chattering, you can’t get enough layers on, and you’d give anything from a hot cup of tea – your bunnies are probably A-OK.

Rabbits are made to survive the winter. They’re found all over the coldest parts of the world – from Antarctica to Russia. Their winter coats make them much tougher than they are cute. (Which is pretty darn tough).

That said, there is a chance that one of your rabbits gets too cold. Either from illness, or from extreme temperatures. 

A quick way to check if your rabbit’s feeling the cold is to feel their ears. Overly hot or cold ears are a tell-tale sign of a bunny’s fever. If in doubt, give your vet a shout. (Same goes for their other extremities, like their paws.)

What if it gets too cold? How can I help?

Even the hardiest rabbit won’t enjoy sub-freezing temperatures. And they’ll get pretty frustrated at their water bottle becoming frozen!

Consider moving (The rabbits!)

Your best bet is to simply move them into a shed or garage. Moving them straight into the home isn’t a good idea. It’s likely too warm, and the sudden temperature change may shock them

Have you ever been in a major city’s underground system during winter? Above ground you have about 5 layers on – hats, scarves, gloves, everything. Then you go onto the metro or underground, and you’re suddenly overheating, feeling dizzy, and can’t focus. That’s what it’s like for a rabbit when they suddenly get brought indoors. Except they can’t take their jacket off!

Your goal isn’t to make them as warm as you would need to be. Instead, it’s just to keep them above freezing. I know – it can feel harsh and even cruel. But it’s their natural environment, and they’re used to it. 

A touch of refurbishment

Being small wooden structures, rabbit homes can easily deteriorate over the years. One of the most important things in winter is to make sure there’s no water getting into the hutch itself. Reapplying coating, or even sealing off gaps can go a long way.

Make sure they’re also elevated above the ground to avoid the base becoming damp from the ground. This can be as simple as placing bricks underneath the edges.

A note on wind and dampness

A bigger culprit than the cold will be wet and dampness. Rabbits can handle cold – but being overexposed to wet conditions with strong winds can make them uncomfortable. Their hutch should always be dry and comfortable – just like their natural burrows would be. Soaking in icy damp bedding and wood isn’t comfortable for anyone!

Wrap them up!

A go-to should always be a combination of an old blanket (or even carpet) underneath a waterproof material (like a tarpaulin). This will help keep your buns safe, dry, and warm at very little cost or effort. Some hutch manufacturers sell custom-made covers for their hutches.

Do make sure they can still get plenty of sunlight during the day. I know, the days are short and dark, but every little helps!

Making sure that they’ve got plenty of thick bedding can also go a long way. Adding an extra layer of newspaper beneath their standard bedding can go a long way.

Share the love

One way that rabbits naturally deal with the cold is to face it together. Such internally warm animals know to cuddle up against each other, and produce a ton of heat this way. Having multiple rabbits, and making sure they’re happy to snuggle with each other, is an easy way to check they’re dealing with the cold well.

Consider a heated pad

Heated pads are becoming incredibly popular in the bunny-keeping world. These are simple, small pads that provide a gentle heat for a bunny to enjoy.

They can make a real difference, and the best part is that your rabbit can decide whether they need that heat or not.

(Jonathan writes: we use the Snugglesafe heat pad, which goes in the microwave for a few minutes then stays warm for around 10 hours. You can have a look at it on Amazon US here, Amazon UK here).

One of the most difficult parts of looking after animals can be figuring out what they need, and what they’re thinking (other than about food). Giving them the option to heat themselves is a great way to get over this.

What about getting too hot?

This is where the issue becomes a little serious. Rabbits can tolerate plenty of cold, but they’re not made for the heat.

Their bodies are like wearing the biggest coat you’ve ever tried on – all the time. Maybe even two of them.

Temperatures much higher than 75oF (24oC) can start to cause them problems. Now while you wouldn’t be buying them their own portable air conditioner, there are a few you things you can do to help. Including:

  • Make sure they have plenty of shade
  • Put down hard flooring like slate, marble, or tile
  • Buy a second water bottle and freeze it overnight. Alternate between the two.
  • Clean their hutch more often to avoid their droppings getting… funky.


Animals are different from us, but that doesn’t mean we don’t worry about their wellbeing.

It’s hard to imagine spending endless dark nights in cold weather, but that’s what rabbits are used to. So although it feels harsh, it’s important to let animals be animals. Keep that warm cosy bed to yourself!

I hope this article has helped answer whether or not your outdoor conditions might be too cold for your bunnies.

If we’ve helped you out today, please consider checking out some more of our bunny related posts!

If you want to find out more about the Snugglesafe heatpad, check out our review (we own two of these).

You can read about the outdoor hutch (with winter cover and run) we use here, and if you’re looking to keep your bunnies from being bored then check out the toys that our rabbits have loved playing with.

Posted by Jonathan