Do Outdoor Rabbits Need Heat Lamps?

Even though rabbits do have a variety of different ways that they are able to regulate their own body temperature, they are prone to developing hypothermia and becoming uncomfortably cold if their body temperatures are allowed to drop too low.

In particular, this statement especially rings true to baby rabbits who have not yet been able to develop body fat and fur. 

Heat lamps are the best solution for keeping rabbits of all ages warm in the outdoors and allow rabbits to be able to cope during the colder, winter months without their body temperatures dropping to a dangerously low level.

However, even though heat lamps can help to provide plenty of safety against hypothermia, as well as help to keep rabbits comforted, precautionary steps do need to be taken in order to ensure that no fires are accidentally started and that your rabbits are not overheated.

Generally speaking, rabbits are able to maintain their normal, healthy body temperatures to anywhere from around 101 to 103 degrees. So, with that being said, if their core body temperatures are allowed to drop below the minimum healthy temperature range of around 101 degrees, it means that rabbits can then become sick, and be at risk of developing hypothermia.

On the flip side, even though it’s important to keep rabbits cozy and warm if they are exposed to temperatures that are above 85 degrees, it does mean that rabbits can then be at risk of overheating and becoming both distressed and sick - so it’s very important to make sure that you are using your outdoor heat lamp correctly.

To ensure that you are using the right heat lamp and other heating equipment for your rabbit, we recommend that you visit your local pet store, as most pet stores carry heating lamps that are specifically designed to help safely regulate the temperature of small animals, such as rabbits and guinea pigs.

Needless to say, regardless of which heating lamp you choose to use to keep your rabbits warm while outdoors, we strongly recommend that you opt to use a heat emitter that contains a red light bulb (or a bulb that does not emit any artificial, visible light) otherwise this could interfere with the natural circadian rhythm of your rabbits, not to mention causing them to become stressed or upset.

We also recommend that you set the heating lamp up on one side of your rabbit's enclosure so that they are able to move into cooler spots if needed.

How do I keep my outdoor rabbit warm?

If you’ve recently added an outdoor rabbit to your family, then you’ll need to make sure that you are giving it all the warmth it needs to remain comfortable and at a healthy temperature range of between 101 to 103 degrees.

As we have already mentioned, a heating lamp is the easiest way to keep rabbits warm while outdoors (especially during the colder, winter months). There are a variety of other ways that you can help to keep your rabbit warm, whether alongside the heating lamp or as an alternative. Let’s take a look at them.

If you would like an alternative to a heating lamp, you could always opt to purchase a heating pad, which is very similar to a heating lamp. If you would like a recommendation, then the K&H Pet Products Small Animal Heated Pad is perfect for small animals such as rabbits.

Offering a low-maintenance and hassle-free way to keep your bunnies warm, this heating pad is thermostatically controlled and will be able to automatically respond to temperature changes of your rabbit’s body temperatures in order to prevent them from becoming too hot.

In addition to this, the material of this heating pad is also completely chew-resistant and all cables have been encased within a sturdy steel casing - which makes it excellent value for money, while also ensuring that you’ll be able to use it with complete peace of mind that your rabbits will be safe.

Besides this, when using a heat lamp for your rabbits, we also strongly recommend that you ensure that you are using a digital thermometer that will allow you to safely monitor the temperature of the heating lamp accurately.

However, if you don’t want to use a thermometer, then you could also opt to use a thermostat as a slight alternative, as these will be able to better regulate heat and keep the temperature consistent as their lights will turn on and off.

Once you have decided whether or not you would like to use a thermostat or thermometer (or perhaps even both) you should also consider adding a thermal gradient to the enclosure that you are keeping your rabbits within.

If you aren’t too sure what one is, a thermal gradient is a temperature technique commonly used within animal enclosures that make one portion of an enclosure warm, and the other side cool and more chilly.

Thanks to this, it will then mean that the rabbits are given the freedom to move around the enclosure and freely alternate between the warmer side and cooler side, which will help them to stay comfortable and their bodies at a healthy temperature.

Plus, if you happen to own a baby rabbit or are preparing for the colder, winter months, then you should also consider changing up your rabbit’s usual paper bedding for something that is going to be able to offer a little extra warmth.

One of the most popular types of bedding used for outdoor rabbits is the FALADor pet Small Animal Bed, which is a cute little blanket that has been made of a super warm fleece material that will ensure that your little rabbit is better able to maintain its body temperature throughout the colder months. 

Thanks to its sloping design, the outer edges of this bed will curl inwards as soon as your rabbit settles down into it, which will help to make your rabbit feel comfortable, while also helping to ensure that its temperature stays at a healthy range of between 101 to 103 degrees.