Bunnies love to play but like people, they need mental and physical exercise to be happy. An unhappy bunny can be destructive or suffer from depression. Whether it is agility training, logic toys or taking them out for walks to explore, they love to play. Hay, wood, and cardboard make the best toys and can be good do-it-yourself projects.
Running and Agility Training
In our house we have laminate and tile floors that are slippery for rabbits. In order for Mokona to dart around without slipping and sliding into walls, I use a carpet that is short/flat fiber with a non-slip backing. Long/high fiber carpets feel like grass to rabbits and in the process of chewing and burrowing they will ingest the pieces that are pulled up. This can cause a blockage in their intestines and make them sick.
Mokona is a mischievous bunny who likes to explore and scamper. I saw a video about agility training, I thought it would be a great thing to try with him. I use treats as a way to get him to jump and climb over things. I can’t get him to do it every time, but he remembers the routine when it comes time for treats.
Burrowing and Throwing
Rabbits are tunneling animals (i.e. they love digging) whether it is inside or outside. Cardboard boxes and old phone books are great for bunnies who like to burrow, tunnel, and scratch. Cardboard boxes with holes cut out are awesome to play and hide in. Rabbits like the dark tunnel effect from these spaces. Toilet paper and paper towel rolls are great for them to toss around. Mokona loves throwing toilet paper rolls and tossing them all over his space. You can also fill them with hay as an additional challenge for your bunny. I mentioned in my previous post that rabbits need a way to wear down their teeth. In addition to hay, cardboard is a good way to help with this.
There are other, more traditional, toys you can get for your rabbit. Baby rattles (round), small balls, and slinkies are great for tossing and rolling. I bought Mokona a round plastic rattle to roll and toss around. I became concerned after seeing his teeth marks and pieces of plastic missing. I didn’t want him ingesting the plastic bits so I ended up taking it away. Ensure that toys are made of hard plastic with no edible parts.
Climbing and Chewing
Hay-based toys are delightful for bunnies because in the process of playing, they eat more hay and wear down their teeth. We use a large timothy bungalow for Mokona’s hay and as something he can destroy. He enjoys unraveling the strands and it’s a great workout for this teeth.
For rabbits that don’t like hay toys there are wooden ones you can try. Apple branches or twigs are a great way for them to have something to chew on if they don’t like cardboard or hay options. Wooden logs make great bridges for getting in and out of cages, climbing and jumping over.
Oxbow Animal Health has a range of hay based accessories for your rabbit.
Nudging and Chasing
Mokona loves circling my feet and following me everywhere once he sets eyes on me. I’ve made it into a game and we chase each other around until he gets bored. It’s usually him trying to scam a way to get a treat! I reward him after our horsing around for doing a good job. That way playtime is worth it for him too.
I bought a small pet harness and retractable dog leash from PetValu to take Mokona for walks in the backyard. The original leash didn’t extend far enough and it was hard to let him run free with 5 feet of rigid fibers holding him back. Originally, I had the 10ft leash but opted for the 16ft one that way I didn’t have to chase him to keep up with his movement and he could gather speed as he hopped around. Mokona doesn’t burrow much inside the house, but he’s found a spot under a Spirea plant where he loves to play around in the dirt.
I saw a post on My House Rabbit about logic toys for bunnies. I’m totally psyched to try them and will let you guys know how Mokona liked them. This video from Howcast has tips and ideas of different ways to play with your bunny.
That’s it for now! What kinds of activities do you do with your bunny? How does your bunny play?