In the wild, rabbits would spend their time jumping, digging, eating, running and socialising. It is important to provide them with plenty of enrichment (in other words, something to do!) to encourage them to perform their natural behaviours. Luckily, there are lots of exciting ways we can do this and on the plus side, it’s inexpensive and you can get as creative or crafty as you like!
Any bunny toy or accessory that safely encourages your rabbit to be active and stimulates them positively affects their day-to-day. There are lots of ways we can enrich them, but don’t be disheartened if they toss something aside, or don’t seem interested for too long – this is actually a form of play!
Making use of cardboard and cardboard boxes has never been simpler! Rabbits love cardboard, and there is so much you, and they, can do with it. In the wild, rabbits have burrows, so creating them a tunnel or den to hide in and travel through, will keep them mobile and also allow them to feel safe. Don’t forget to ensure any tunnels and hide-outs you make have an entrance and exit hole. Rabbits are prey species, so in order to feel safe from predators, they need to know they can make a quick escape and not feel trapped. It’s also best to keep their tunnel and/or hiding spot in the same place, so once you’ve cleaned their enclosure, pop it back where it was so they continue to use it.
Your rabbit may want to change your design to the cardboard themselves, which again, is just them playing and enjoying themselves! Once it’s a bit too dilapidated for play, just replace it with another.
Digging is another natural behaviour for rabbits in the wild, so your pet rabbit will benefit from somewhere to dig. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – a large, low-sided litter tray filled with soil will suffice.
As much as it’s great to encourage digging, just make sure can’t dig out of their enclosure.
Willow balls are a great example of a toy your rabbit may enjoy playing with. You can also pop some hay, grass or pellets in it, to encourage them to forage too.
You can also buy solid, plastic baby toys including rattles and stacking cups, for food to be hidden in and/or for them to throw about (make sure there aren’t any small parts for them to swallow!).
Rabbits would benefit from having a platform in their enclosure so they can survey their surroundings, to make sure there aren’t any predators lurking around. It’s also great for them to stretch their legs.
We need to ensure we are feeding our rabbits a very specific diet to promote good health, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make it fun for them! There are lots of ways we can incorporate their food and treats into enrichment:
Rabbit chew toys are a great treat and twin up as a way to enrich your bunny
Save the empty cardboard tube from a toilet roll or kitchen roll, pole some holes in it and stuff it full with hay or grass for your rabbit to pick out
Use an empty egg carton (bonus that it’s cardboard!) and fill the holes with hay and pellets, turf, grass or their favourite greens
Sprinkle their pellets or favourite herbs amongst the hay or grass so they have to forage for it
Create a turf tray – use a litter tray or plastic flower pot and fill it with turf from your local garden centre
Hopefully, you’ll feel well equipped to provide your bunnies with the best rabbit toys. Remember to alternate the toys you give them to keep it exciting for them – you’ll know they like it because they’ll chin rub!