Keeping Rabbits Indoors or Outdoors: Evaluating the Pros and Cons of Rabbit Houses- January 2024

Are you thinking of buying a pet rabbit? Or are you already an owner of a snuggly bunny but need help determining where to keep them? 

People usually keep rabbit houses outside, since they assume these animals give off a foul odour. Having a rabbit as a pet is a long-term commitment, requiring lots of love and care. Here we will answer the most commonly asked questions about rabbits and their living habits. 

How Long Does a Rabbit Live?

Rabbits are great pets to keep. Some long-haired rabbits require daily grooming. They live for around five to eight years, which depends on their environment and type of breed. Certain breeds of bunnies can live as long as twelve years. 

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You must be wondering how long rabbits live as pets outside. The lifespan of rabbits living outside is shorter than those residing within homes.

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Rabbits as Pets: Pros and Cons

Rabbits are lovely pet companions and are easy to manage. But bunnies don’t need to suit your lifestyle. Therefore, it is crucial to consider the pros and cons before you bring one home.

Pros

Rabbits are social animals; if appropriately trained, they integrate well into the family. They have a docile temperament and are faithful as pets. Being particularly good with children makes rabbits popular among households with little kids. 

There are a variety of rabbit breeds that you can choose from. Every breed of domestic rabbit has its characteristic traits. Bunnies are also hygienic and can even be potty trained, just like cats and dogs. 

Cons

Destruction is one of the most popular traits of rabbits that makes them unlikable by some. They tend to chew on everything they see, even hard objects such as floors, furniture and gardens. 

Read More: A Beginner’s Guide to Rabbit Care Essentials. How to Keep Your Little Partners Happy and Comfortable? July 2023

Because they are messy, owners must constantly clean their rabbit houses almost every hour. While they may be social animals, they do not like to stay with cats and dogs. The main reason is that cats and dogs are predators of rabbits in the natural environment. 

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What Temp is Too Hot for Rabbits?

Rabbits can regulate body temperature with their ears. They cannot tolerate temperatures above 77 degrees Fahrenheit, making them overheated. 

This is why you must keep them in a ventilated space where the temperature is controlled. Overheating is particularly common in obese, young and fuzzy rabbits. Signs of heat exhaustion which you should keep an eye on include:

  • Fast breathing with an open mouth
  • Wet nose
  • Hot ears
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How Much Space do Rabbits Need?

No animal will want you to keep them in a cage or box them up, including your pet rabbit. You are responsible for providing them with a living space, no matter where you decide to keep your pet rabbit. The size and dimensions of the rabbit houses include:

  • Sufficient horizontal space so they hop at least three times from one end to the other.
  • Sufficient vertical space so your bunny can stand on its hind leg without touching the ceiling.
  • Sufficient floor space so that your rabbit can stretch easily. 

Rabbit houses must be around six feet long, two feet wide and two feet high and apply to indoor and outdoor rabbit houses. 

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Why Should Rabbits be Kept Outdoors?

Contrary to what most people think, pet rabbits are not wild animals but belong to the same family. Because of this reason, some of the owners think rabbits are happiest living outside in open spaces. Certain natural behaviours of rabbits make it necessary for them to be surrounded by nature. These habits include: 

  • Running
  • Hopping
  • Digging
  • Chewing
  • Foraging

Those who believe that rabbits should live outside think they have a longer chance of survival outdoors. Also, there are various dangers if you build rabbits’ houses inside. These dangers include: 

  • Electrocution if they chew on wires
  • Poisoning from cleaning supplies
  • Accidentally stepped on 
  • Getting stuck in cramped places
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Why Should Rabbits be Kept Indoors?

There may be dangers if you build your rabbit indoor house, but there are plenty of reasons to do so. Most importantly, indoor rabbits are safe from harsh weather, especially in winter. Indoor pet bunnies are also safe from predators and will not pick up diseases from gardens. 

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Keeping your pet rabbit inside will make them a regular part of the family as compared to if they live outside. 

Conditions for Keeping a Rabbit 

No matter what pet owners claim or argue, the fact is that pet rabbits can survive both indoor and outdoor environments and thrive in them. You must look after certain things before bringing your cuddly pet home.

Ample Living Space

Ensure you keep your pet rabbit houses where they can hop and jump around. You can also make a rabbit pen with the measurements in this article.

Space for Exercise

Wild rabbits have a range of about 20 acres, where they hop as much as three miles daily. Similar to the wild ones, pet rabbits also need exercise. Rabbit outdoor enclosure must easily access the outdoor space to run and hop. 

If you plan to keep your rabbit houses outside, you must give them sufficient time during the day to exercise. A few pet owners place rabbit houses outdoors to provide the bunnies with easy access. 

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keeping rabbits indoors

If you do not have an outdoor open space, you can also make a rabbit-proof room, where you allow your pet rabbits to run. Sectioning off a room with a puppy pen may also work. Placing this puppy pen where the family gathers will also help them socialize with others. 

Time for Socialization

Rabbits love being social with their fellow rabbits and are happy when they have a friend. Some of the pet bunnies love spending time with their pet parents too. Regardless of where you decide to keep your pet rabbit, visit them and spend time with them every day. Socialization is essential for owners with a single rabbit. 

If you decide to keep your rabbit houses indoors, you should keep them where they can watch you and your family. Outdoor rabbit houses should be placed near the house, where your rabbit can see you and does not feel alone. 

Safe Environment

Safety must always be your prime concern when building rabbit houses. Rabbits chew and gnaw on anything they find, so ensure you rabbit-proof anything within their reach. 

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There are pet deterrents available in the market. You must also cover your baseboards and furniture legs if your pet lives indoors with you. 

If you keep your rabbit houses outside, then make sure to protect them from predators. Dig proofing your outdoor space so that your rabbits cannot dig themselves out. It will also stop predators from digging their way in.

Can I Move My Rabbits Around and Change Their Rabbit Houses?

Is it getting too hot or cold outside? You must be thinking of moving your rabbit to an indoor home. It is recommended not to change and move your rabbit houses with the season. If it is getting too cold outside, you can ensure that the bedding material and rabbit houses have proper insulation. 

It is also essential to protect your rabbit houses from wind or rain. Covering it with a tarp can be a good option that won’t be heavy on your pockets. Having a rabbit companion for your pet can also keep them warm all night. 

Taking Care of Indoor or Outdoor Rabbits When You Are Away

It is also your responsibility to ensure that someone looks after your rabbit houses, when you are away for a long time. Ensure that the person you hire for caretaking knows all the rules about your bunny’s welfare. Remember to provide emergency contact numbers in case of any medical situation. 

Read More: Indoor or Outdoor Rabbits? Which is Better for Your Bunny

While it is ideal not to move your rabbit to a boarding facility, if necessary, consider one. But, just like a pet sitter, the boarding facility you select must have proper equipment and knowledge about rabbit caretaking.

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Final Thoughts! 

Rabbits are wonderful pets, but they require proper attention and care from you. You won’t be a good caretaker if you plan to keep your rabbits in a cage and not give them adequate time. 

As a good pet parent, it is your responsibility that you give them the attention that they need. Take them for exercise and give them ample time to enjoy physical and social activities. 

Most importantly, thinking twice before adopting a rabbit would be best, as it is a lifetime commitment. Rabbits are social and get attached to their caretakers easily. If you abandon them at any point in life, it may ultimately affect their health.

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Katie is a passionate writer and avid reader with a deep love for pets. Her mission is to assist pet parents in providing the best care possible for their furry friends. In addition to her work in the pet industry, Katie also tackles serious issues such as human rights violations and crime, and is tirelessly advocating for a society where minority voices are heard loud and clear.

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