How do I stop my rabbit from being bored?
A bored rabbit is a rabbit that has a higher risk of developing diseases, overweight problems or anxiety for example. If your pet nibbles its bars, it may be a sign that it wants to do more activities. How can you prevent your rabbit from becoming bored? We give you all the tips to keep your rabbit busy on a daily basis.
If You want that your rabbit won’t be bored anymore, never leave him in its cage all day long or bring him another playmate, offer him more toys, more play time, more affection and outings out of the pen.
Before we look at how to prevent your rabbit from getting too bored, let’s see what are the signs of boredom in rabbits and the reasons that can cause boredom:
How to know if your rabbit is bored?
Rabbits are sociable animals, and each has his own character and sometimes even his own needs and enrichments and habits.
You read it right, rabbits have personalities.
To ignore this is to expose your rabbit to trouble and its consequences, such as stress and rabbit diseases.
It is therefore important to know how to detect trouble in a rabbit and to act quickly in order to help your rabbit have a more interesting life and occupations even if you are away from home.
Here are the signs of boredom in rabbits:
- Overeating and sudden weight gain in your rabbit
- Chewing on objects and things that shouldn’t be chewed on, like a rabbit chewing on plastic toys or the bars or walls of its pen while making noise to get your attention, is a cry for help!
- A rabbit that makes a mess and destroys its enclosure
- When a rabbit starts to dig too much in its pen, it is actually trying to escape!
- Over-grooming is a sign of stress and boredom, you will notice too much hair in the pen, this is usually due to boredom when it is not due to a skin disease or parasite.
As you can see, boredom can have serious consequences in rabbits such as destructive behaviors and aggressiveness, they may even start biting and scratching when you want to hold them.
The causes of boredom in rabbits:
There are generally three reasons that can make a rabbit bored, here they are:
1- When the rabbit doesn’t have enough freedom & living space, I’m for free roam during the day and a spacious enclosure at night. If you don’t want to leave your rabbit free in the house, at least use a play pen or an exercise pen, to allow your rabbit to run around and stretch its legs.
2- The other cause of boredom in rabbits is when they don’t have enough enrichment, toys and play time. Rabbits love to dig, chew things and drill and you must satisfy these natural needs.
3- The reason rabbits that have everything still get bored is when they don’t get enough attention . Rabbits are creatures like us, sociable and need to interact with rabbits or at least humans or other pets. If you don’t interact with your rabbit, the loneliness will eventually cause it to get bored and all the problems that will follow.
A new pen companion for your rabbit
The rabbit being a rather sociable animal, the first idea is to take him a companion of a different sex.
However, before making this decision, it is important to weigh the pros and cons.
It is important to know that a rabbit living alone, in total freedom and accompanied by a human presence can be very happy, it will also depend on the character of your rabbit.
However, if your absences are prolonged because of work, your rabbit may suffer and in this case, the presence of a fellow rabbit will be welcome.
However, you must be aware that veterinary fees can be high for two animals, so give priority to quality rather than quantity.
Also, cohabitation is not always easy and can take time, so it is better to think carefully before embarking on another adoption.
Never leave a rabbit in a cage all day long
Rabbits like to have space to let off steam and frolic. In order to prevent your pet from getting bored, you will need to take time to establish a quality bond with it.
Knowing that most rabbits hate to be carried, consider sitting on the floor instead, so you can be at his height and closer to him. You can also invent games that will suit him and in which he will like to take part, such as hiding a few treats in his living space.
We must not forget the wild origins of our companions who are busy looking for their food all day long. So if your rabbit spends his day sleeping in a cage, he will tend to get bored and get fat, not to lack of activity!
Make access to food less easy to create a challenge
Another way to avoid boredom is to occupy your rabbit by enriching its living space either with food or games.
As explained previously, you can hide the greenery and the extruded food in different areas of the house, motivating your rabbit to look for it rather than just bending down to catch its food, it will take time and more importantly, it will give your rabbit some physical exercise.
There is a wooden tree on Amazon (You can hang some vegetables there too) ; that will be a good stimulant for your companion. You will be able to plant pieces of vegetables or branches when the season allows it.
They can also be distracted by means of pellet dispensers (Toy ). These games encourage them to exercise and mentally stimulate them to find a way to get their food. This one is made for dogs but we can give it to bunnies too .To limit weight gain, be careful not to give them too many pellets!
Hay Toys are a great way to keep you Bun Busy, Here is a 100% natural game, your rabbit will just have to dig his head out to get the dried dandelions.
The rolling rack is also a great workout exercise because it’s hard to catch hay when the rack keeps moving forward!
Rabbit games in a box will keep him busy
Keeping your rabbit busy and fulfilling his daily life also means creating an environment dedicated to games. Indeed, rabbits like to rummage around and spill what they find in their path.
A large box filled with different objects will be a real playground for the rabbit to play in, especially since it will allow him to gnaw as much as he wants without danger or inconvenience for you.
For example, you can fill the box with pine cones and empty toilet paper rolls. Your game box will have a long lifespan and can be reused. It is also very economical since it is made from empty boxes.
The toilet paper roll will be a perfect chew toy and distraction to place in your box. Indeed, the rabbit will appreciate to roll it up and hold it between his teeth before shaking it.
For more fun, add a handful of hay to the empty toilet paper or paper towel roll. Your rabbit will enjoy nibbling on the twigs.
Cardboard cups to create a clever game for your rabbit
In the cardboard cup, add treats underneath. The rabbit will then have fun turning the cup upside down to eat the treat.
Your rabbit will then develop all the tricks of trickery and mischief to achieve his goal.
Houses, carpets or tunnels made of natural fibers
As they are totally edible, all natural fiber toys are fabulous to keep your rabbits occupied. No risk for them to fall on glue or nails.
They will be able to hide in their Willow Twig tunnel or in the house.
As they are games totally adapted to lagomorphs, they all have two openings, an entrance and an exit which will reassure your rabbit enormously. And it’s even nicer to see them struggling on the Grass Mat Woven Bed than on your chair legs.
In short, with all this precious advice, there is no reason for your rabbit to get bored!
How to pick upyour Bunny and and play with him?
Catch it with both hands, one hand under the rump and the other hand grasping the skin of the neck.
If you move it, immobilize it against your chest, head under the left arm and right hand grasping the skin of the back.
Above all, never grab it or lift it by the ears, which are very fragile. To put him in confidence, use treats that will stimulate his greed and curiosity.
How to get your rabbit to understand and like the toy or the game?
The dining room or the living room are two ideal rooms for him to enjoy your company to the fullest.
If you can, place your rabbit on a piece of furniture, at your height ; that way, when you approach him, he doesn’t see you coming from above, which could frighten him.
Organize the game sessions in a closed room, always keep an eye on him/her cuz it can gnaw on electric wires, table legs…
If you play in the Backyard garden, first wire mesh the square where you plan to put it, without forgetting to put some wire mesh on it. Again, do not leave your pet alone without supervision.
Get to know your rabbit to know how to distract him
Before playing with your rabbit, it will be important to understand its character in order to be able to adapt the games.
Some rabbits will prefer to throw their toy to retrieve it later when other buns will prefer to push their toy.
It will be essential to analyze your rabbit to find the games that attract him the most.
For a better approach with your pet to play with him, you will have to be careful to always be calm and gentle, otherwise you may frighten your rabbit which will have the effect of driving him away from you.
Moreover, you will always have to be patient with your rabbit while it gets used to your presence.
You can, for example, reassure it by calling it, by levelling with it or by approaching it delicately.
This will help him feel more confident and he will enjoy playing with you more.
You will always be able to lead him towards you at the beginning by appealing to his appetite by giving him a few treats, but make sure that this does not become a habit so as not to cause him health problems.
For his playground, think about putting his food and water bowl there so that your rabbit can easily get to it in case of need, and keep dangerous elements such as electric cables and plastic parts as far away from his playground as possible.
As far as toys are concerned, you can go to the pet store to find a game that will please your big-eared companion or you can make your own rabbit toy with elements that are part of your habitat, such as rolls of toilet paper or paper towels, cardboard, pieces of wood, etc…
You will have to make sure that your rabbit’s curiosity is stimulated by creating a tunnel, for example, by chewing it with toilet paper or digging it out with a ground tray.
Some ideas to play with your rabbit
Tunnels made of cardboard or sea rush to hide.
You will also find in pet stores plastic or wicker play tunnels like the ones I have recommended throughout this article; to enrich its environment.
Unplasticised and uncolored cardboard boxes, such as rolls of paper towels or empty toilet paper are also very appreciated by bunnies to play with and having good time.
Just make sure that the cardboard boxes are not packaging of dangerous products.
You know that rabbits love to dig holes and you can also take him to the backyard, get on your knees next to your rabbit, start digging yourself and your rabbit will soon imitate you, remember to clean his legs before putting him back in his pen.
Find the game that matches your rabbit’s personality
Whether it’s spilling or fetching, rabbits love to play.
As your rabbit’s unique personality develops, you’ll find out what kinds of activities your rabbit likes most.
Here are some games to play with your pet rabbit.
Rabbits like games that fit their natural tendencies. A game of rabbit bowling will appeal to their playful side, as they enjoy spilling things.
Set up a set of bowling pins and watch your rabbit swoop them all down.
Similarly, rabbits love to steal important papers, your bills (or apples you eat) in your hand and run away with them, probably throwing them in the garbage along the way.
Admittedly, this is not exactly a game… or at least not one in which you are a willing participant. But your rabbit will certainly have fun.
You can also play a fetch game with your rabbit… except that you retrieve it and your rabbit does the throwing.
Some rabbits like to pick up toys with their teeth and throw them with a simple headbutt.
Bird toys are perfect for this activity because they can easily pick them up. You can also use a cheaper alternative and provide cardboard tubes from paper towels or toilet paper rolls. Fill these tubes with hay to spark their interest.
When you’re not home, your rabbit still needs to play, so it’s a good idea to have a selection of toys available to keeping him busy .
One of the rabbit’s favorite toys is a cardboard castle. Rabbits love to get in and out of doors and do renovations by chewing on the walls and scratching the floor.
Other toys may include untreated wood products, hard plastic baby toys, plastic balls with bells inside, pine cones, oatmeal boxes and telephone books.
A word of caution: some types of wood can be toxic to rabbits, such as cherry, redwood and peach.
As naturally intelligent and inquisitive animals, rabbits also like to be challenged with logic toys.
These are toys where the rabbit needs to know how to open a box, pull a lever, etc. to get a treat.
There are many advantages to playing with your pet rabbit. Not only does it help create a bond between you and your pet, but it also provides your rabbit with much needed mental stimulation and exercise.
Let’s wrap this up
If you have noticed, I have recommended a lot of toys that have proven to be very ingenious to keep rabbits busy .
But one thing you should know is that toys can never replace your presence and interaction with your rabbit.
Remember, your rabbit is a member of your family, talk to him, play with him, show him/her your love , get him out of his cage and take him outside or to the backyard to stretch his legs and feel the fresh air and interact with nature, where he should be.
I’m against pet cages and especially against those who treat animals as toys for their children, please take good care of your rabbits, they have souls and understand what’s going on around them.