Digging the carpet, chewing the skirting boards, chewing toys and scratching the couch are all ‘bad habits’ that we wish our bunnies would not have. However, we need to remember that rabbits in the wild dig burrows and dig for food.
They chew sticks and tear up bark and spend their day foraging (often exploring up to two acres from the burrow!). These wild instincts are not lost in our pet rabbits but we are often unreasonably asking them to suppress these natural tendencies.
In the case of our pet rabbits food is delivered twice a day from the fridge and hay is always down for them to munch on…if they are confined to a small hutch all day long they have hours and hours to spend.
If we do not provide them with enough exercise, entertainment and a companionship, they become bored and frustrated. We need to allow pet rabbits to appropriately dig and chew through giving them suitable toys.
Rabbits are individuals and you will have to find what particular type of toy suits them best. Are they a digger? A chewer? Do they like to throw things around? To push things? Do they prefer toys that make noises? It can be fun exploring the toy possibilities for your little creatures.
Boxes or enclosed litter trays full of hay, blue clam baby pools full of hay and treats, baby swimming pools full of dirt (if you have the room) are good ideas. Rabbits love these and this allows them to dig and make burrows. When it is burrowed out (and your rabbit is safely in their bed) you can stomp them flat and your bunny can start again.
Here is a long list of play toys for your bunny:
- large paper bags
- hay packed toilet rolls
- treats in a large box of shredded newspaper
- treats in a hollow treat ball
- untreated branches from apple, lemon trees & dethorned rose branches
- willow sticks/branches
- dried out pinecones
- cat toys
- old cardboard boxes
- untreated seagrass doormats
- hard plastic baby toys like keys and rattles which can be tossed around
- little plastic trucks about 10cm higher or bigger
- stuffed toys
- jungle gym type kids toys; rabbits like to investigate high places (make sure they are sturdy)
- hanging parrot toys or solid baby mobiles in their hutches
- wooden or basket tunnels to run through and hide in
- upturned large plant pots
- clay pipes to run through
- rabbit piñatas! Make from cardboard skeleton with non inked paper layered over using flour/water glue. Make hollow and stuff with hay and a tablespoon of dried fruit (this is a treat and should not be overfed!)
- and most importantly you!
Agility training is a great way of entertaining both yourself and your rabbit. Teaching rabbits to go through tunnels and jump over hurdles is very rewarding and a great party trick.