The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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Taking care of rabbits can be very satisfying and it makes sense why these cuddly little animals are so popular to keep as pets. If you’re new to owning rabbits, then you might be curious about how you’re supposed to take care of them.
You might have seen that some people tend to cover their rabbits’ cage at night to keep them safe, but is this really necessary?
Read on to learn more about whether or not you should cover your rabbits’ cage at night. Whether you have multiple rabbits or you’re just taking care of one, the answer is going to be the same.
You’ll learn why you might want to cover the cage in certain situations as well as whether it’s practical to cover the cage at night no matter what.
You Don’t Really Need to Cover the Rabbit Cage
The first thing to note is that you don’t really necessarily need to cover the rabbit cage at night. Lots of rabbit owners tend to do this but it isn’t an absolute necessity. There are some specific reasons why you might want to cover a rabbit cage at night but most rabbits aren’t going to need you to do this for them.
If this isn’t a necessary action to take, then why do so many rabbit owners seem to be adamant about covering the rabbit cage at night? Well, this behavior might go back to the days when people used to keep rabbits outside.
In the past, people would keep rabbits outdoors in little pens that they would need to protect from predators.
Covering the rabbit pen with a large blanket would keep the rabbits much safer from potential threats back then. This means that the habit that people have developed for covering rabbit cages indoors likely has its roots in a protective action that was taken in the past.
You likely don’t have predators to worry about in your own home but there might still be a few reasons why you would consider covering a rabbit cage at night.
If You Have a Skittish Rabbit
Rabbit owners who are taking care of rabbits that are particularly skittish might benefit from covering the rabbit cage at night. Some rabbits are wary of people and things in the house. This might make it tough for your rabbit to settle down at night so that it can sleep properly.
If you know that you have a very nervous rabbit, then it might make sense to go ahead and cover the cage at night. This might help the rabbit to feel more at ease so that it can sleep well at night. Just understand that this isn’t a typical situation and that most rabbits do not require you to cover the cage at night so that they can sleep.
In fact, you’d be better off by just providing your rabbit with a nice place to hide while inside its cage. Many rabbit owners will put a cardboard box or some type of hidey-hole inside the rabbit cage. It makes it so that the rabbits have a place to escape to when they feel threatened or scared.
Your rabbit will then be able to do what it wants while it’s nighttime. Overall, this is a more sensible action to take that will keep your rabbit happier than placing a blanket over the cage. If you wish to protect your rabbit and allow it to relax at night, then go with the cardboard box idea.
It’s a good idea to learn your rabbit’s normal noises and actions and be observant of any changes that could clue you into its moods.
Warmth could be another reason to consider covering the rabbit cage up. You might just want to ensure that your rabbits are as warm as possible so that they can sleep well and feel comfortable. However, you should know that rabbits are actually not all that bothered by colder temperatures.
Rabbits are capable of surviving in very cold temperatures and they actually have natural defense mechanisms that help them in the cold. If a rabbit gets too cold, then it can just puff itself up so that it will feel warm again. Most owners think that it’s quite cute when they see their rabbits doing this.
It’s actually more problematic during the summer months when things might be too warm. You should likely be more concerned with whether or not your rabbit feels too hot. The colder temperatures are not going to be much of a bother to your rabbit.
There’s also the fact that you don’t likely keep your house ice-cold in the first place. Most modern homes are going to have some type of heating solution that keeps things comfortable even during the coldest months of the year.
If you’re placing a blanket over your rabbit’s cage to keep it warm, then you should know that you don’t really need to do that.
The Blanket Might Make Your Rabbit Upset
Did you know that placing a blanket over a rabbit’s cage could actually make it feel upset? Your rabbit isn’t necessarily going to like having its vision obscured by a blanket. If you put a blanket over the cage, then the rabbit isn’t going to be able to see what is going on around it any longer.
Rabbits like to be able to see what’s happening in the house and your blanket idea might be counterproductive. This makes your rabbit feel as if it can’t see predators or potential threats that it needs to look out for.
Overall, you just aren’t helping your rabbit by doing this even if your heart is in the right place.
Your Rabbit Can’t See in the Dark
Lots of animals are able to see in the dark but rabbits aren’t one of those animals that can do this. If you place a blanket over the cage at night, then your rabbits will no longer be able to see properly.
It should already be dark at night, aside from a little bit of ambient light from other sources, and this just makes it even harder for your rabbit to navigate the cage.
If your rabbit can’t see to get around in the cage, then it’ll likely just feel more agitated. Rabbits don’t necessarily need total darkness to be able to sleep. So you aren’t really doing your rabbits any favors by covering the cage up in this fashion.
A few rabbit owners have even reported that their rabbits are a little bit afraid of the dark. In this situation, it might be more beneficial to leave on a dim light for your rabbits. This is pretty much doing the opposite of putting a blanket over the rabbit cage at night.
Potential Harm to the Respiratory System
Another reason why you shouldn’t put a blanket over the cage at night is that it might harm your rabbit’s respiratory systems. You see, placing a blanket over the cage is going to limit the amount of air circulation.
Rabbits have a somewhat delicate respiratory system to begin with and this could wind up being an aggravation.
For the most part, placing a blanket over the cage is unlikely to cause significant issues. However, it’s most definitely not going to help your rabbit in any way either. If you have your rabbits in a large cage or pen, then they’re less likely to develop respiratory problems but there isn’t a point in covering the pen anyway.
If you want to keep your rabbits safe, then you should just avoid covering the cage with a blanket. It doesn’t really provide your rabbits with comfort as you might think it does. You wouldn’t want to contribute to potential health issues such as respiratory problems by accident.