9 Reasons To Keep Your Bunny Indoors
Outdoor rabbits are exposed to extremes of weather: heat, cold, thunder, lightning, rain, and wind. Of these conditions, heat is particularly dangerous. Rabbits can quickly overheat in even moderately warm temperatures and need to be kept consistently cool in the summer. In cold weather, a rabbit's delicate appendages can easily succumb to frostbite and drinking water can freeze, causing the rabbit to become dehydrated.
Outdoor rabbits are prone to insect/tick bites and fly strike (flies laying eggs on the rabbit and the larvae burrow into the rabbit’s flesh). Fly strike can cause abscesses which can cause the rabbit to become septic and die if not treated.
Outdoor rabbits are exposed to parasites and diseases carried by other animals; e.g., raccoons carry Baylisascaris procyonis, which rabbits can pick up on the ground and ingest (by grooming their feet), and which can then migrate to the rabbit’s brain, where it is fatal. RHDV-2 is now present in Georgia and is highly transmissable and fatal.
Outdoor rabbits often become the victims of poisoning from pesticides, herbicides, and/or fertilizers. Even if your neighbor uses them, rain can wash the chemicals onto your property. In many areas, ground and air spraying of toxic chemicals is used due to the threat of West Nile Virus and Zika Virus.
Outdoor rabbits often are often neglected or forgotten once the novelty wears off. Their food and water may become infested with insects, bacteria, or molds. They do not get the human interaction they need in order to develop trust and often become extremely hard to handle as a result.
Outdoor rabbits are “out of sight,” if not “out of mind,” and this makes it almost impossible for owners to become adequately familiar with their bunny’s “normal behaviors.” When you are not thoroughly familiar with your bunny’s normal behaviors, it is difficult to recognize subtle signs of illness/injury in time to prevent emergency visits.
Outdoor rabbits experience fear from unfamiliar sounds. Prey animals naturally want to hide in a quiet, secure location until the source of loud noise has passed or moved away. If they are confined in an outside location, they cannot escape the noises surrounding them. Things that seem common to us, such as neighborhood children playing, lawnmowers, or traffic, can cause them to panic and possible cause themselves injury or even die of shock.
Outdoor rabbits often become the victims of predators (dogs, cats, hawks, raccoons, snakes) and can suffer fatal heart attacks from even the approach of a predator.
Outdoor rabbits (especially those housed in hutches) often get little or no exercise. Rabbits that are let loose in a yard for exercise face all of the above dangers, as well as road hazards and the risk of getting lost if they escape from the yard.
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