Ways to enrich your pet rabbit’s life
A bored bunny can be a very naughty bunny... biting the wire of their pens causing
mis-aligned teeth, chewing electrical cords, or paying unwanted amorous attention
to your legs when you are nearby. Toys, and things to do, are a necessity, for their
happiness as well as your own. A play area is essential as rabbits feel trapped if left
locked in a cage. A friend is the best toy of all! This article is about how to enrich
your rabbit’s life to reduce habits caused by boredom.
Creating a Rabbit Play Area
A charming rabbit home with play area can be set up in the family area of your
home quite quickly and cheaply. Rabbits need space to hop around. Locking a
rabbit in a cage or hutch without a penned area to run around and stand up in is
cruel. All you need are playpen panels, a small kennel or hutch, a thick, clear sheet
of plastic to protect your carpet or tiles, a litter tray and ceramic food and water
dishes. Children will never tire of their rabbits if they are included in the home like
this. They will also delight in decorating the wire panels with name tags or seasonal
decorations (just make sure they are above chewing height!). A minimum running
area would be two square meters. If you have a large home you can go bigger. The
rabbit playpen can be taken outside on the grass under supervision but must have
PHOTO OF A RABBIT PLAY AREA OUTDOORS
|Note the rain proof kennel and shade tree. Rabbit pellets are kept dry inside kennel.
Rabbits Need a Friend
Every rabbit needs a friend of their own kind for when you are at work or not
interacting with him or her. Adopt a rabbit of the opposite sex as they will get on
better. Ensure both rabbits are desexed. Introduce them on a table then in a
playpen not in your current rabbit’s territory to save fights.
Rabbit Toys and Treats
Having things around their play area to crawl through, jump over and explore are
always entertaining. These can be ceramic or plastic pipe offcuts, or even flower
pots. The addition of scraps of food for foraging is also a way of keeping them
busy. Commercial toy balls and dangling rods that hold foods, entertain them for
as long as there is food there. But just sprinkling odd treats (like Peters Foraging
mix) in and about their environ, or a few sultanas, will be well appreciated, as long
as you don’t go overboard and create a fat, unhealthy bunny. Make them work for
it. Offering your rabbit a treat when you first approach them is a great way to make
them come running to great you.
Bunny World has a delightful range of rabbit toys to keep your bunny safely occupied.
Making Rabbit Toys
Making toys can be cheap and entertaining for the children in the family. Old toilet
roll middles can make a bunny very happy. Simply take some straw or hay, fold in
half and twist, then stuff into your toilet roll, leaving a bit out both ends. Make sure
you stuff it very tight so that it takes a while for the bunny to get the contents out.
I even put bits of carrot amongst the straw when I twist so that the rolls really smell
good and they want to attack them whole heartedly. Even when they are empty,
does especially like to move the rolls around. Tossing them from corner to corner,
to see how they look – rearranging the furniture in their space. Bucks tend to
demolish them completely in order to get to the food – they aren’t known for their
How to use Boxes for Rabbit Play
Boxes of any size – not just to jump on – but to turn over, sit in, discover treats
under – are all worth a lot of entertainment value. Don’t be surprised if they chew
their way through the sides, and stand them on end to sit in and “hide” from you.
Just be aware that if you have baby rabbits, you need to count them at dinner time
in case they are under a box somewhere! Also check under food bowls! You never
know where they might be hiding. Children can interact with their rabbit by creating
rabbit ‘warrens’ using cardboard boxes or decorating and making ‘doors’ in a box
then sitting back and watching the fun their rabbit has with the box.
Buying Rabbit Toys
Commercial rabbit toys can be fun as well. No rabbit play area would be complete
without a tunnel. You can buy these in pet shops or discount shops. We have
always found that lightweight balls with bells in them are great entertainment. My
bunnies prefer the barrel shaped kitty toys with a bell in them – they can play with
them, and then, when its dinner time, do their impression of a row of inmates,
clanking their bowls back and forth to get our attention. Bunnies always know how
to get your attention, of course... they can throw a heavy ceramic bowl out the
hutch door when you open it, or their empty water bottle. I have also seen them
play “basketball” with their ball toy into the food bowl... Of course, when you take
them along to the local rabbit show and enter the most talented section, they will
just sit and look at you...
Soft Rabbit Toys
A stuffed toy is also a great companion for your house bunny. Your leg will be
subjected to much less activity if your buck rabbit has a friend to drag around the
floor and cuddle up to at night. I have found when I was working long hours, I was
replaced by Jessica Rabbit in my bunny’s affections during the day, but when I was
home, he would hide her away and pretend I was still the centre of his life. A polite
lie, but one we could both live with and the cat was very glad he had found a new
One good thing about bunnies is that you can wash their soft rabbit toys, and give
them back again, and they will be like a brand new gift again!
Safe Rabbit Toys
At least, with the hand-made rabbit toys, the pipes, the flower pots (which make for adorable photos) and the balls to push and toss, life isn’t boring for too long.
Breeds such as dutch and rex especially, are always naturally curious and love to
watch you and work out how to do things. They can work out simple catches to
open, routes to the things you didn’t want touched, and sliding doors are definitely
not a barrier for most of them, so I would recommend a playpen for your bunny
when you are not at home. Just remember, remote control buttons are tasty when
you are trying to find the animal planet channel.
Pet Rabbit Desexing
The amorosity of the male house rabbit in this article refers to an undesexed male
rabbit’s habits. Desexing your pet rabbit stops this behaviour and also limits any
possible aggression. It can take several weeks after desexing for the hormones to
settle and your male rabbit to calm down. Female rabbits also become better pets
after desexing which also stops them from getting cancers in their female parts that
they are prone to.
If you would like more information about this you can click to read an article about Pet Rabbit Desexing.