Rabbits love to bask in the sun, especially after a very satisfying meal. Like us, too much sun is detrimental, as they can easily get sun-burnt on the ears or nose or, even develop cancer. They are even prone to heat stroke.
Providing adequate shade is essential: Make sure Bunny can easily gain access to areas with shade such as shade cloth netting etc. which can considerably reduce the harmful effects of the sun’s harmful UV rays.
On hot days, place wet towels across his living quarters – this will make him more comfortable as the water evaporates. Replace when dry.
“Bunny Icy Poles” are a must, when the temperature rises above 20 degrees Celsius. Take a couple of recycled plastic takeaway containers and fill them with water. (Treats like apple, banana, celery and carrot may be added also – as the heat may be putting him off his food). Freeze overnight until solid. Before use, place the container, upside down, under a running tap to release the large ice block. Give to Bunny the Icy Pole – he will lick it or even lie on it to reduce the effects of a hot day. Like us, cold food is more palatable on a hot day.
Freeze recycled plastic milk or drink bottle ¾ full with water. When you are ready to give to Bunny, top up with water. Place these around his sleeping quarters, for added cooling.
Water bowls can get very hot, so add ice cubes to them. If you have a self-watering system, fill 1/3; freeze, then top up with fresh water and place in his bowl or enclosure.
Heat can kill a rabbit. In the wild, he would have dug himself a nice deep burrow to get away from the heat. A coloured rabbit will get hotter than a white one. Panting will indicate that he is uncomfortable. We constructed, for our bunnies, an artificial ‘above ground’ tunnel made from a discarded broken corrugated plastic compost bin from our local ‘tip shop’ (a.k.a. landfill reclamation shop). The bin was split in half vertically and joined together like 2 large half pipes. The bunnies loved it. They sleep and play in it and the slits in the sides provide good ventilation. A very large PVC pipe could also be used.
Other materials we used for shade and shelter:
An old plastic dog kennel, plastic table used as a ‘verandah’ in front of the dog kennel which was covered with a very coarse fish net which provides shade and keeps the birds out of the bunny food. (Birds can also have lice).