Since rabbits are prey animals and so won't show any illness
until it is probably too late, rabbit keepers must check
their pets often and learn what is normal for each animal
and what is not, so that the smallest sign of a problem will
stand out to you and you can fix the issue before it becomes
serious. Rabbits can get into life-threatening trouble much
more quickly than you might think. Err on the side of
caution when your rabbit's health is involved.
Rabbits do best in a cool environment around fifty-five
degrees Fahrenheit (12.7 degrees Celsius). Remember that in
the wild rabbits stay underground during most of the day,
coming out in the early morning and late evening to eat.
If your rabbits live in your air-conditioned home where the
air is kept under seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit (twenty-
four degrees Celsius) they will probably do fine, as long as
you remember to leave on the air-conditioning when you leave
the house in the morning. Also remember that even in the
cool spring and fall when you don't really need the air-
conditioner on, the afternoons still may get very warm
inside a closed up house.
If you don't have air-conditioning, keep a fan running near
the rabbit cage. Freeze some gallon plastic milk jugs and
put one between the fan and the rabbits and you have made
your own air-conditioner of sorts. Or put the jug into a
container to catch the condensation and put it directly into
the rabbit's cage.
You might also keep some spare water bottles in your freezer
and set up an extra (frozen) water bottle in the morning of
warm days so that the rabbits have cool water to drink all
day as the ice melts. Cool water is a major way for a rabbit
to cool its insides.
If your rabbits live outside, this is a much more serious
subject. Outdoor rabbits in most climates, even if their
hutches are well-shaded, are likely to be exposed to
temperatures that are at least uncomfortable to the rabbit
and possibly high enough to be harmful. High humidity adds
to the danger, as do long hair and lop ears, overweight,
illness and young or old age.
If you have no choice but to keep your rabbits outdoors
during the day, consider putting the cage into your
ventilated garage or on a porch with a fan running on the
hutch. Also keep a small cage inside so that on really hot
days or when the weather is wild you can bring the bunnies
inside for their protection. Whatever you do, make sure that
outdoor cages are in deep shade during all parts of the day.
Don't learn the hard way about the sun's movement through
the day by losing your rabbits to heatstroke.
You might take a cue from owners of large rabbitrys who use
a misting system to cool their outdoor rabbit hutches. You
could do the same by placing the hutches in deep all-day
shade under a tree and running a hose to an Arizona Mist
System (designed to cool humans in their patio chairs) that
mists the hutches during the hot parts of the day.
You can attach a timer so that the mister runs only when you
have scheduled it to do so. Set the mister so that only one
end of the cage is sprayed or so that only the area around
the cage is sprayed. You want to cool the rabbits, but it
wouldn't be good for them to make them stay constantly wet.
Note: If a rabbit starts sneezing often, stop the water
cooling and bring it inside, it may be getting a respiratory
problem, and those are very dangerous in rabbits.
Here are some Really "Hot" Stuffed Plush Rabbits