WHY SHOULD MY BUNNY SLEEP INSIDE
Bunnies are intelligent, loving animals. They are very social so they need a lot of love and attention from their owner. While being outside gives them access to fresh air and sunshine, it also exposes them to predators, weather and other dangers you may not be aware of. Their greatest risk of death comes from predators. If you live in the city, this is still a threat. Raccoons, coyotes, owls, hawks, cats and dogs are on the list of animals that could kill your pet. They don't even have to get to your rabbit to cause their death. Rabbits have acute vision, hearing and smell. They can sense the presence of a predator in the yard next door. This can cause them to panic and inadvertently injure themselves. It can also scare them to death, literally. Some predators, like raccoons, can even open hutches. Wire cages aren't always enough to protect a rabbit. At the very least, your rabbit should be brought inside at night when predators are most active.
Weather is another issue that greatly affects rabbits. They aren't physically able to handle high temperatures and should be brought indoors if the thermometer goes above 80. They can't sweat so they aren't able to cool themselves down. They can easily die of heatstroke when exposed to the sun for even short periods of time. If you absolutely cannot bring your rabbit inside, you need be sure the rabbit hutch is in an area of the yard that is always shaded. To help cool your rabbit during hot days, give them a frozen water bottle to rest against.
Even if your rabbit is lucky enough to escape predators and survive the heat, living outdoors is not a quality life. Imagine living your life in a small, confined space with nothing to do. You get fed every day, but no one plays with you or pays any attention to you. Wouldn't you become bored, lonely and depressed? Rabbits are sensitive creatures who share the same feelings and emotions that we do. They crave human interaction. When you get a rabbit, you are responsible for filling that need.
Rabbits also need as much exercise as a dog or cat. Hutches are too small to allow them the exercise that is so crucial to their good health. Rabbits are easily litter box trained. This allows them to spend time indoors as a member of the family. You should rabbit proof one area of your house to allow your pet room to roam. Rabbits love to chew so it is imperative that you get all cords covered or put them out of reach.
Another danger of keeping your rabbit outside is that you likely won't be aware of any health problems. Rabbits tend to hide their symptoms until they are very sick because they are prey animals. If your rabbit lives outside in a hutch, you won't pick up on the small changes in behavior that signal a health problem. When your rabbit lives indoors with the family, you become familiar with their habits and patterns so it is easy to notice a subtle change in their behavior. Something as simple as not eating for a day or quietly resting in a different area can be a sign that there is trouble. They need immediate attention. It is considered an emergency if a rabbit doesn't eat for 24 hours and they should be taken to the vet right away.
Being stuck outside in a hutch is not a fun life. Bringing your rabbit inside the house to live with your family is easier than you might think. You will find that it is worth the extra effort. You can discover their fun personalities and develop a deeper connection with your pet. For more information on improving the life of your rabbit, visit our RABBIT RESOURCES page.