How To Keep a Bunny Safe Outside

Keeping an outdoor pet rabbit safe from weather, predators and more.

Skylar dePolo

9/5/20235 min read

Lisa's bunny
Lisa's bunny
Should a bunny be kept outside?

Housing a rabbit outside requires more than just a hutch. You must keep predators away, keep bunnies in, protect from weather, provide secure area, include run/play area, and prevent loneliness. Whether or not you choose to keep your rabbit outside is completely up to you.

Is it okay for the hutch to be in the yard?

A covered, screened in patio area is much safer for your rabbits than being out in the yard. Having the hutch close to the side of your house will not only help to keep the hutch temperature stable, but will also make your rabbit feel more secure. Being outside where a wild animal can walk up to the hutch is much more dangerous. Even if you have locks on the doors of the hutch to prevent any predators from entering, even just the sight of a predator can scare your rabbit to death. Being outside also leaves your rabbit more susceptible to disease and fleas or ticks. Not only will keeping the hutch in a covered, screened in area keep your rabbits safe from predators, it will also help protect them from weather events.

Will a bunny get lonely outside?

Rabbits are social animals, so it is best to keep them in pairs. If you only have one rabbit, you must give them attention for at least an hour every day. Having just one rabbit can cause it to become lonely and depressed. Bunnies from separate litters, or that are different genders, do not typically get along. Introducing bunnies that do not know each other, especially if they are adults, can lead to your rabbits fighting and severely injuring one another. Adopting two bunnies that are already bonded is a great option, especially if you don't have hours a day to spend one-on-one time with your rabbit. If you have two bonded rabbits that are nice to each other, they will have plenty of company outside.

What should the enclosure look like?

Outdoor bunnies need a hutch to keep them safe. The roof should be slanted to allow easy runoff from rain, and made of roofing material (like for a house) or something similar that repels water and can withstand at least 5 years, or as long as you plan on having a hutch. Rabbits typically live 8-12 years, so you may need to replace the hutch once or twice during that time, depending on the quality of materials used. You also need to attach a playpen or run to give your bunny room to exercise. If this is out in the yard, you need a cover on top and on bottom of the run. This will keep predators from coming in and your bunnies from getting out. You can use a material like plastic for the top, or you can use chicken wire. For the bottom of the run, and if your hutch does not have a bottom, use a material such as plastic or concrete that is easy to clean. Bunnies can (and will) chew on anything and everything. If there are no edges of the material that they can get hold of, they will not be able to chew on it. Using stone, such as paving stones, will help to keep a rabbit's nails short. If you would like to allow your rabbit to fresh grass, or dirt or whatever is below the enclosure, you can put chicken wire on the ground to keep your bunny from digging its way out. If you do this, just make sure whatever grass you have is rabbit safe, and that there are no harmful chemicals/pesticides that your rabbit could potentially ingest. The walls of hutches are typically made of wood, just make sure that the wood is safe for rabbits, and any treated wood or wood that is toxic to rabbits should only be used on the outside or roof of the hutch where they cannot reach. Any wire, such as for the walls, should have no more than one inch spacing between the wires/bars. Most rabbits can fit through any space two inches or wider. Raccoons can open most types of locks used on rabbit hutches, so use a clip in addition to the regular latch.

Is chicken wire safe for the floor of the hutch?

It is safe for a small portion of the hutch floor to be chicken wire. The covered, enclosed section of the hutch should have a solid floor. This ensures that your rabbit has a safe, comfortable place to sleep and feel secure. Using chicken wire on the floor underneath the litter box may make cleanup easier for those little poops that somehow go everywhere, no matter how many litter boxes you have. Just make sure the spacing is less than 1/2 inch to ensure your rabbit's feet cannot get stuck.

What about in the winter or summer?

Rabbits can withstand temperature variation better than most small animals/rodents. However, they are still delicate creatures. If your bunny has been inside for its entire life, then putting them outside may not be the best idea. Not only is there a change in temperature and humidity for your rabbit, but there are many different noises outside than there are inside. If you do try to move your indoor rabbit outside, do so during fall or springtime when there are no extreme temperatures.

Winter: Below 40 degrees is when you may need to take extra precautions to keep your rabbits warm. Having a well insulated enclosed area will stay warmer then more exposed parts of the hutch, and will not have wind chill. In the winter, provide towels or blankets in the hutch. During night, especially if there is greater than a 20 degree difference from during the day, cover exposed portions of the hutch with a warm, heavy material, such as an old comforter. Make sure to uncover them when the sun comes up so that they receive fresh air and do not overheat. You can also get a heating pad to keep your rabbits warm. There are some made for chicks/chickens that have the power cable covered in a hard plastic that is difficult for a rabbit to chew through.

Summer: Above 90 degrees is a concern for rabbits. Providing plenty of shade and cool, fresh water can help keep your rabbit cool. Taking empty bottles, such as from juice or sports drinks, filling them with water and freezing them is one of the best ways to keep your bunny cool in the blistering heat. Take the frozen bottle, or two, and put it in the hutch/playpen, and this will act as a small air conditioner for your rabbit.

*Where I live it does not usually get below 30 degrees in the winter, and gets over 100 degrees during the summer. Some temperatures listed may be more or less comfortable for your rabbit, depending on the conditions they are used to. If it feels cold or hot outside to you, your bunny will probably feel at least as cold or hot as you.


If you feel confident that you can keep your rabbit safe and comfortable outside, then go ahead! Just remember to go out everyday and check on them, feed them, make sure they have clean, fresh water, and fresh hay.