Is your rabbit starting to chew on things in her cage that aren’t toys? Is she hopping around and “spazzing” out? She might be bored.
Rabbits do not have the same communication tools as dogs and cats. They don’t bark at you, mew, or grab your ankle to let you know they are bored. They may look at you but their body language is not as easy to read if you’re used to the world of canines and felines.
Rabbits need mental stimulation and can become stressed like any other animal. They are also curious creatures who have an innate desire to “work” on projects.
Without an outlet to exercise and play, rabbits can become depressed, fat, and may start to crawl and chew on things like your favorite chair or your speaker wires! Toys will help in “bunny-proofing” your home. She won’t need to look outside of the items that you have provided for her to find amusement and exercise.
So, you’re probably wondering, how much will it cost to provide a good environment for my rabbit and how much space will this take up? It can be free or only a few bucks to create a “bunny disneyland” for your pet and the space you’ll need is relative to the rabbit. You can always “fence” off parts of a room for a rabbit to play and when playtime is over, put it away and open the space back up.
Here’s some toys you can make:
1: a paper towel or toilet paper rolls: your rabbit can chew on them, carry them around, toss them, and it’s cheap!
2: a cardboard box with some rabbit sized holes cut out: She can hop in, look out, hop out, hop in, and if you hid a few treats under some hay, she’ll be happy.
3: rubber balls: typically you may find these in the dog toy section. Buy the smaller lighter ones so they aren’t too clunky for your rabbit. Rabbits like to nudge them with their noses and then chase the ball.
4: phonebook: rip the covers off and let your rabbit shred the phonebook. Rabbits are project oriented and a phonebook is a great “project” that allows her to dig, discover if there’s anything beneath the layers, and play with the shredded pages.
5: a clean dishtowel: rabbits like to bunch it up, scoot it around, and sometimes hide under it.
6: hard plastic caps from laundry detergent and softener bottles: your rabbit can pick these up, scratch at the them, and you can play games where you stack the caps and your rabbits knocks them down. Do not use caps from drain openers or other cleaners that are poisonous. Detergent caps are the best.
Here’s a few affordable and fun toys:
1: Maze Haven: Create a horizontal and/or vertical labyrinth of cubby holes, pathways and hideouts for your rabbit to explore. Change just the inside by switching around the panels. This toy feeds into your rabbit’s natural instinct to map surroundings as a survival tactic. You can arrange the maze differently to keep your rabbit on her toes.
2: Cotton Cottage with a ramp: This cardboard house has two upper levels with ramps between for easy jumping access, and several doors and windows for running through and peeking out. Rabbits can hop around, look out, hop in and out, and play. Cats also like this toy!
3: Woven grass balls: These can be found at any pet store that sells supplies for small pets. It’s safe and chewable. Your rabbit can push it, nudge it, and eat it. It promotes good dental health as well as exercise.
4: Bunnyluv.com makes custom toys: They are bright, colorful, plastic toys in various shapes with bells inside. Rabbits like to play with them and hear the bells jungle. Bunnyluv also rescues and rehouse rabbits. Proceeds go to caring for the rabbits they currently are fostering.
Rabbits love to have things to do. They like having “jobs” and tasks. If you give your rabbit a few extra minutes each day of playtime, you will notice a change in personality for the better. I’m sure your cotton-tailed buddy will thank you for it!