Should rabbit sleep in cage?
Ideas for Making a Homemade Rabbit Cage
Adrienne Kruzer is a veterinary technician with more than 15 years of experience providing healthcare to domestic and exotic animals. She is trained as a Fear Free Certified Professional to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets.
Updated on 06/03/22
Dr. Diehl is a passionate veterinarian pursuing specialty medicine with over 6 years’ experience with exotic pets. She now works with a team of other experienced vets to provide the best advice and care for their clients’ pets.
Rabbit cages can be expensive, and most rabbits need a lot more space than the average store-bought cage provides, especially if it is not a dwarf or mini breed. Many rabbit owners transform small bedrooms or large closets into rabbit-proofed rooms for their bunnies to run around in but this isn’t possible for everyone. Making a cage for your rabbit is a great way to save some money and ensure it is perfect for your specific rabbit and your space.
Cage Sizes for Rabbits
Rabbits need a secure yet large enclosure to sleep, eat, and spend their time in when they can’t be supervised. These enclosures are not a replacement for an exercise space but are instead meant to be used at night and when you aren’t at home with your rabbit. According to the American Rabbit Breeders Association and Michigan State University , the following table should be used to help determine the minimum floor space of your homemade rabbit cage.
|Weight of Rabbit||Minimum Cage Floor Space|
|Less than 4.4 lbs||1.5 sq. ft.|
|4.4-8.8 lbs||3 sq. ft.|
|8.8-11.9 lbs||4 sq. ft.|
|Greater than 11.9 lbs||5 sq. ft.|
Materials for Rabbit Cages
All the materials that you use to build a rabbit cage need to be safe for use around a rabbit. Rabbits may chew on materials, especially if you don’t provide them with enough chew toys, so you don’t want to use treated or painted wood on surfaces that your rabbit could potentially nibble on. This can include lumber, plywood, wood composite panels, plexiglass or acrylic sheets, screen, and chicken wire. Many other materials from your local home improvement store are good options if you plan to build an outdoor hutch otherwise plastic storage bins, exercise pen panels, and other creative items may also be used.
Aside from ensuring the materials you use to build the cage are not going to be toxic to your rabbit if it chews it, you’ll want to make sure any openings in the cage are not big enough for your rabbit to escape or get stuck in. Cage floors can have a flat bottom or a wire bottom for feces to drop through, but if you opt for a wire bottom, make sure the holes aren’t too small. If so, a rabbit’s foot or leg could get stuck; attempt to provide padding in areas of the enclosure to avoid hock sores developing. Lids and doors should be secure, and there shouldn’t be any protruding screws, nails, wire pieces, or sharp edges that could poke or cut your rabbit.
Types of Homemade Cages
There are a few main types of homemade rabbit cages: hutches, x-pens, revised dog crates, and containers. One type may work better in your home and for your specific rabbit than another.
While usually used for outdoor rabbits, hutches are wooden cages that have at least two sections for your rabbit to use as a retreat. The largest part of the hutch is usually a wooden frame covered in chicken wire and is open to the elements while the second, smaller part of the hutch is an enclosed sleeping area meant to protect your rabbit from the wind, rain, hot sun, and other unwanted weather. These are not often used indoors since most of the designs involve allowing the feces to drop through the bottom onto the ground but some designs are made for indoor use. Indoor hutches are built from scratch but can be completely custom.
If you don’t have other pets that could pose a danger to your rabbit, a homemade cage made of exercise panels—commonly referred to as an x-pen—can be used. Small square panels designed to connect together can be purchased and a shallow kiddie pool, puppy pee pads, a tarp, or another surface to help keep your floor clean can be used as the base of the «cage.» This option does not have a lid, though, so it is not ideal for households with small children, dogs, or cats who could cause harm to your rabbit.
If you like the idea of an x-pen but want a lid on your cage, a large dog crate can be used to house your bunny. These crates come with a removable tray for easy cleaning and to keep your floors clean and some even have more than one door. This option is not good for small rabbits because of the cage bar spacing on some larger dog crates.
Large storage containers are another easy option for a homemade rabbit cage. The downside to this option is that there is no door, and if you want to put a lid on the container, you’ll have to cut out a lot of holes to provide adequate ventilation. Some people opt to cut an entry door out of the side of the container. This way, their rabbit can go in and out of it as they please and then place this container inside an exercise pen.
The Spruce Pets uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- Ockert, K. Determining Cage Size for Rabbits. Michigan State UniversityMSU Extension. 2015. Accessed April 13, 2022
Should I Cover A Rabbit Cage at Night?
Should I cover my rabbit’s cage at night? Rabbit care is a delicate yet rewarding process. As a pet parent, the most important things are to keep your bunnies happy and ensure they have a good sleep. Generally, rabbits are crepuscular. This means while you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep, your bunnies are wide awake, ready to play. So, you may find that they are restless all through the night. If you’re in this position, you may wonder, should I cover my rabbits’ cage at night?
The answer is yes. It’s okay to cover your rabbit’s cage at night. You can also protect their cage whether you leave the lights on or not.
It makes their home feel like a private territory. The covering will prevent them from being distracted by movements around your home. Moreover, it’s a lot easier to fall asleep when there’s nothing to do.
So, if you are a rabbit owner and you are considering covering your cage, keep reading. This article will give more insight on:
- Is it safe to cover my rabbit’s cage?
- Do rabbits like Blankets over their Cage?
- When should I protect my rabbit’s cage?
- Do rabbits like the dark?
- Do rabbits need Light at Night?
- Can I Leave my Rabbit in the Dark?
Is It Safe To Cover My Rabbits’ Cage?
This depends on how you cover your rabbit’s cage. The housing should have good ventilation and air. So if you cover all the vents or air spaces, you may end up harming your rabbits. When protecting your rabbit’s cage, you should wrap the sides and leave the top open.
This way, their ventilation will not be compromised, and they will stay healthy. Moreover, covering the sides will give them a limited view of what is happening outside their cage. This helps to keep them quiet at night.
Additionally, the material you use to cover your rabbit’s cage goes a long way in determining their safety. Bunnies like to pull and chew away anything that comes their way. So, you must be careful not to use materials that can be potentially toxic for them. Usually, a fleece blanket does an excellent job.
Do Rabbits Like Blankets Over Their Cage?
Usually, bunnies like to sleep or snuggle up in comfy blankets or beddings. They also like dark, poorly lit areas. By nature, these things make them feel safe and very comfortable. So, it will feel like an extra layer of protection if you cover your rabbit’s cage. And rabbits dig that!
How To Cover Your Rabbit’s Cage?
Although you can use a blanket to cover your bunny’s hutch, you should protect it entirely. There will be no space for air if you do, and your rabbit will not breathe correctly.
So, you should leave room in some corners, preferably at the top. Make sure that space won’t undermine the purpose of covering them in the first place. If you are covering the cage because you want them to be quiet, you shouldn’t view distractions.
Before you cover your rabbits with a blanket, make sure they are comfortable. You should check if your bunny’s litter needs to be cleaned or if it needs water. Comfort is vital in determining whether you should cover your rabbit cage.
If they have suitable bedding and other essentials, they won’t be too restless or skittish. So, when you cover the cage, your pets will lay comfortably and hopefully fall asleep if you need them to.
- Take off the covering during the day.
Rabbits are playful creatures, and they love to have interactions with their environment. This includes you. It is best not to keep them locked away without any opportunity to bond or play with you.
So, if you’re awake or close by, remove the blanket. Your bunnies will be nervous every time they hear a strange noise without being able to see the cause.
You should leave the cage uncovered when they are not asleep. It will keep your pets aware of their surroundings and make them feel a lot more comfortable.
If the blanket is too thick, it may cause the cage to be too hot for your rabbit. You should ensure that the covering does not affect the temperature of the hutch.
On the other hand, if you intend to keep your outdoor bunnies warm with the blanket, make sure that it works well.
When Should I Cover My Rabbits’ Cage?
Unlike you, your bunnies cannot tell the hour or time of day. However, they recognize night and day, and that’s how they organize their sleep and play schedules.
If you raise your rabbits without regular exposure to light and darkness, their bodies will become confused. This means that they will not coordinate their bodies or differentiate between their active hours and sleep time.
Since rabbits are comfortable with sleeping under a cover, you should only cover their cages at night. You can also cover it when they are asleep during the day. They will come to identify that blanket as a signal for sleep, so you must be consistent.
You can also create a boundary between their sleep areas and the space they play in. This way, you can always keep their ‘bedrooms’ dim and cozy.
For outdoor rabbits, using an extra cover on their cages will keep them warm on cold nights. It will also shield them from predators while you are asleep.
Do Rabbits Like The Dark?
You may have noticed that your bunnies like to hide away in dark corners. That’s right, it’s intentional. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are scared or nervous.
In fact, rabbits like dark, cool places. It makes them feel safe and protected.
So, the answer is yes. Rabbits like the dark. This doesn’t mean that you should only keep them in covered places. They need a balanced exposure to sunlight and darkness to thrive. As you raise your rabbit, you’ll learn what it likes and the most comfortable spots.
Can Rabbits Sleep in The Dark?
Since they often stay up at night, rabbits end up sleeping through the day. They frequently stir in the evening and begin complete activities at dusk. So, their bodies are accustomed to sleeping when there’s light, especially in the afternoons.
So, it’s normal to wonder if they will sleep if you cover their cages.
All your bunny needs is a warm and cozy atmosphere, and dimly lit hutches often do the trick. Moreover, your rabbit is less likely to play if it feels exhausted. It is not unusual to fall asleep in comfortable places, and rabbits are comfortable in the dark.
That’s why it’s okay to cover your rabbit’s cage at night. Just make sure you only do that when you want them to feel comfortable or at night. This way, their bodies won’t get confused about the time of day.
Do rabbits need Light at Night?
Naturally, rabbits are active in the evening and early hours of the morning till mid-morning. So, their eyes are adjusted to carrying out activities with very little light. Therefore they can cope quite nicely without you putting out light for them. After all, they cope in the wild.
Some nights, however, you’ll need to leave lights out for your rabbits in the night.
If you allow your rabbits to roam around your home at night, you can leave a little light on. This will guide them as they navigate your home and reduce their skittishness.
The reason for this is that rabbits are sensitive. If they hear sudden movements from you or other pets in the house, they may become anxious and noisy. All they need is a dim light to identify strange sounds while going about their business.
Rabbits cannot see in complete darkness. They need a measure of light to be aware of their surroundings. This is why you may indulge your rabbit with a bit of night light, especially if you keep them outdoors.
Often, they can sense movements and even smell other animals or people. If there is total darkness, they will be unable to figure out what it is, making them agitated. In such instances, they will become restless and make noises.
So, it’s vital to help your rabbit feel as safe and secure as possible.
Can I Leave my Rabbit in the Dark?
No matter how long you have raised rabbits, you must not forget that they are different from you. Therefore, they can survive under certain particular circumstances. In this case, rabbits don’t have a problem with darkness.
Unlike you, their bodies become accustomed to it since they are crepuscular by nature. So, the answer is yes. You can leave your rabbit in the dark. That’s why it’s also safe to wonder if you should cover your rabbit’s cage at night.
In fact, bunnies need a good balance of natural light and darkness to thrive. So, you shouldn’t worry about them being terrified of the dark. It’s healthy for them.
So, if you’ve been asking “should I cover my rabbit’s cage at night?” You’ve got the answers you’ve been seeking. We hope the tips in this article will help you in taking good care of your rabbit so that they can live a comfortable life.
- Why Is My Pet Rabbit Not Eating or Drinking?
- How Many Times a Day Should I Feed My Bunny?
- Is Feeding A Baby Rabbit Difficult?
- Can Rabbits Wear Collars?