I’ve changed what I planned for today to write something more topical for the weather here today. We are getting a very early taste of winter this year in Georgia with a freeze warning for tonight and possibly our first snow too. Since some winters we really don’t get any snow at all, this is likely to be an unusually cold night for us.
It made me think of bitter cold winter nights growing up in northern Ohio. When thinking of rabbits and cold winter nights, I can’t help but think of my first house rabbit experience with Thumper. My dad came home from work one day with Thumper for my brother who had just lost his hamster. None of us knew anything about having a rabbit as a pet and poor mom was scrambling trying to come up with the right food and accommodations for the new family addition.
Thumper was just a couple of pounds, he fit easily in my hands. He was still very much a baby bunny. Winters in Ohio are bitterly cold and the one when Thumper arrived in our home was no different. Even though we were keeping him inside the house, he caught cold. Listening to him begin to sneeze almost continuously, we found a vet for him and took him in for his first visit. We found out that rabbits and especially baby rabbits can be sensitive to cold and drafts. A fur coat is not enough to keep warm enough when it is really cold, even if the rabbit is indoors. We found out we needed to get Thumper into a warmer part of the house and it would be best if we could get his cage off the floor, especially at night when it was coldest and cover it up to protect him from drafts. Getting Thumper warmer, allowed him to recover from his cold and live a decade with my family.
When Blaine and I got Tigger and Shadow, then Portia and now Leo, we had lived in Georgia for a time already. The winters are not the bitter cold of Ohio. It is more moderate here, but still I realized it was going to be important even with indoor house rabbits to keep them warm in the winter time and out of drafts. We have never placed cages or pens on outer walls of the house that can be chillier. At night-time we gauge the temperature of the house and cover cages with a sheet or blanket at least partly depending on how cold it seems or whether there is a chilly wind outside that could make the house draftier too. We make sure with covers to cages that there is an open space and not absolute 100% coverage. We want to be sure that there is fresh air circulation into the cage. We would give piles of hay so that the rabbits could snuggle into that too as well as have it to eat. It was good at those times to make sure the in cage litter boxes were really clean in case the rabbits wanted to sleep in their box.
So before we go to bed tonight, we will be sure to be tucking in some cover around Leo’s cage to keep him safe from any colder drafts on this freezing night to come.