You do not have to; it is not a necessity to cover a rabbit’s cage at night. But, some rabbit owners prefer to do this, especially when their rabbit is housed in an outdoor cage.
So, should you follow these owners and cover the rabbit cage at night or not?
Only you can decide. Take a look into why owners cover their rabbit cages. Weigh up their reasoning and the considerations of this action. You will make the judgment call if you will cover your rabbit’s cage at night or not.
Reasons Why Owners Want to Cover Rabbit’s Cage
Whether the rabbit’s cage is indoor or outdoor, It is good for some rabbit owners to cover it at night. Here are some of the specific reasons why the owners want to cover the rabbit cage at night:
Added Security for the Rabbits
In the past, most rabbit cages are outdoors. Covering the cage at night keeps them safe from any potential threats. It makes the owners worry less about any predators hovering outdoor. If this is your reason, it might have roots in the protective measures taken in the past.
Meanwhile, if you have an indoor rabbit, you can still cover their cage at night for added protection. Other rabbits are sensitive at night, and it makes them anxious. Covering the cage at night helps the rabbit not notice any movement while asleep.
But, you should know that rabbits feel upset when their cages are covered. If your rabbits cannot see their surroundings, they feel vulnerable to predators.
Rabbit is Skittish
Covering the rabbit cage at night is perfect for skittish rabbits. Although this is not normal behavior, and most rabbits do not require or like their cage covered, it is difficult for a nervous rabbit to fall asleep.
Rabbits are crepuscular; they sleep during the day and night while active during dawn or dusk. Covering the cage at night makes them feel at ease and helps them sleep well.
But, you have to remember that keeping your rabbits happy and healthy does not make them nervous.
Provide Proper Warmth
Some rabbit owners are concerned with their rabbits being cold. However, the fur coats of rabbits keep them warm enough. Although some rabbits appreciate being covered with blankets, others will pee on them, making it difficult for you to clean.
If you are worried about your rabbits getting cold, you can create a nest for them. Fill a box with hay.
But, if you provided a large rabbit cage that can accommodate a few more of them, that’s a better choice. Apart from can socialize with each other, your rabbits can remain warm by snuggling with each other.
However, if this option is almost impossible, you can cover the sides of the cage with a blanket or old rug to minimize the cold air from entering.
Recreate Natural Habitat
Covering your rabbit’s cage mimics their burrow in the wild. It makes them feel secure and hidden away from their predators.
Moreover, if the rabbit cage is outside, light pollution in cities may cause the rabbit to become disoriented. Rabbits need to be stimulated with the normal day and night cycle as they are crepuscular.
Covering the rabbit cage at night recreates their natural habitat and maintains their time stimulation.
It is in a rabbit’s nature to be curious about its surroundings. Rabbits are more active at dawn or dusk, which may disturb your sleep when they are curious about something outside their cage.
Covering their cage at night makes them nap through activities and lets you enjoy a nice sleep.
Advice from Fellow Rabbit Keeper
This may be the reason for some rabbit owners follow the advice of their fellows. It has been shared advice between rabbit owners to cover rabbit cages at night, and this had originated back in the times when rabbit cages were outdoors.
Rabbit cages outdoor are exposed to dangers and uncertainties, making the need to cover the cages to protect the rabbits at night from predators.
Aside from these reasons, rabbits enjoy sleeping in tiny, dark places. It makes them feel safest when sleeping in a dark corner. You can turn the lights off and cover their cage, but you have to create a safe space for your rabbits.
You can create hideouts for your rabbits in their cage; a fabric tunnel, wooden box, or blanket is fine. What’s important is you make them feel snug and protected. If you decide to make them more comfortable by covering their cage at night, you have to consider things.
Considerations When Covering Rabbits Cage
Covering the rabbit’s cage at night can be a good idea, but there are some things you need to consider to ensure it brings benefits to your rabbit and will not backfire.
Here are the considerations when you decide to cover your rabbit’s cage:
Only Cover Cage for Night Sleeping Schedules
Rabbits are primarily asleep during the day, and it is tempting to cover the cage, but it is best not to. Only cover the cage during their night sleep schedule. Otherwise, your rabbit will lack the mental stimulation they need from their environment.
Ensure Room for Air
Covering the cage reduces airflow, and rabbits are sensitive to ventilation. Unknowingly restricting them to room air is a high risk for respiratory infection.
Thus, ensure to leave room or space to provide sufficient ventilation. You can leave the top part of the cage opened or consider covering the openly exposed side. This way, your rabbit is safely protected.
Coldness is one of the factors the owners have to consider in rabbits housed in outdoor cages. Some use tarps to keep the warm inside the cage during cold seasons.
Covering their cage at night keeps the rabbits warm and safe but do not forget to leave room for ventilation. Meanwhile, during the day, keep the cage open for ventilation. Do not forget to set up enough bedding for the rabbit to cuddle in.
Rabbits are territorial beings, and they tend to assert ownership of their surroundings. That’s why some rabbits may be enraged and not appreciate that the covers obstruct the vision of their area.
Mental State of Rabbits
Covering the rabbit cage makes your rabbit panic. Would you not panic if you could not see outside? You have to leave a small uncovered space to let the rabbits see the surroundings and give them enough room to avoid claustrophobia.
Always look into these considerations when you decide to cover your rabbit’s cage at night. However, if covering your rabbit’s cage at night does not quiet them down, then you have to resort to other tactics, such as:
- Provide chew toys and remove toys that make noise.
- Give them food late at night.
- Shower them with enough attention.
It takes a lot of effort to quiet down your rabbit and tame their behavior. What’s important is during the trial and error process of providing the best care for your rabbits, you were patient and did not get mad at them.
What to Use to Cover Rabbits Cage At Night?
Normally, rabbit cages are covered at the bottom to bring comfort to your rabbits. The floor of the rabbit cage should be covered with layered bedding material and newspaper to make rabbits warm and prevent them from having foot pressure sores.
Meanwhile, if you plan to cover the top of the rabbit cage at night, you can use blankets, old rugs, or tarps. Blankets and old rugs are essential insulators that have to remain dry. That’s why it is better to use tarps for outdoor rabbit cages.
You do not have to cover the entire rabbit cage. Ventilation and stimulation are important for rabbits.
Rabbit Needs in their Cages
As discussed, the need to cover the rabbit cage at night depends on the preference and location of the cage. However, the concern about their needs changes when we talk about the rabbit’s needs inside their cage.
- Cage size: Rabbit cage needs to have enough space for the rabbit to roam around. You have to remember that rabbits are prominent and active. Rabbits need to stretch, stand up, and hop around the cage. Rabbit cages need to be 6 x 2 feet and at least 12 square feet.
- Materials made: Sides and top of rabbit cages can be made with wires, but the floor should be solid. Wires result in rabbit foot sores. Use wood, mats, or plastic padding on the cage flooring to ensure rabbits do not cut themselves.
It is optional for rabbit owners to cover their indoor rabbit cages but necessary for those who have them outdoors.
While covering the rabbit cages at night adds to their safety, it is essential to check their condition. Otherwise, your rabbits will panic and make a lot of noise; or worse, develop respiratory problems.