Pet rabbits demonstrate several behaviors that can be destructive to your home. Listed below are several of those behaviors and techniques for eliminating the behavior.
This behavior is perhaps the central concern of most rabbit caretakers. Rabbits need to chew, both for physical and psychological reasons. Wicker baskets, non-poisonous logs and sticks, cardboard, paper, straw, and pinecones are all good choices. If your bunny enjoys chewing holes into the back of the couch, give her a closed cardboard box filled with paper or straw, with a small hole in it to start, and let her finish the job. Be imaginative! Provide a toy box of untreated wicker or cardboard full of different sizes and shapes and textures of wood, dried-out pinecones, cardboard tubes, or other safe items. Do not give just a chew stick. People often buy these strange orange-and-green wooden sticks from the pet supply store for their new rabbit and are surprised to see that Thumper barely sniffs his before starting in on the baseboards. Especially for a young rabbit or a particularly chew-conscious rabbit, chew toys need to be interesting, which a chew stick is not, even if it’s dyed orange and shaped like a carrot, and plentiful. The more toys and the greater variety, the better. A rabbit who has only a stick, a log, or a piece of two-by-four to chew on, is going to be a bored rabbit. And a bored rabbit is usually a naughty rabbit.
Some rabbits like to “organize” rugs, bedding, pillows, or towels. If your rabbit spends a lot of time on the bed, pushing, pulling, and biting the sheets and blankets until they’re just right, he will probably enjoy his own towel to bunch around on the floor. This could be an old hand towel, preferably with low nubs, or it could be more extravagant, such as a pillow or two. Make sure that he’s not actually eating the towel, which would be dangerous, and is just biting, pushing, bunching, and pulling it.
Aggressive rabbits who lunge, growl, threaten, snort and box often enjoy having toys on which they can take out their aggressions. Anything that is partially immobile, yet is flexible enough to move when hit, is fun. Hanging parrot toys (don’t get the small bird toys, like those made for cockatiels, because the plastic can be easily chewed apart), hanging baby toys (a mobile is the best!) or a plastic rainbow Slinky hung on the top of the cage, all provide a high-energy rabbit with a suitable outlet for her emotions.
Rolling and Nudging
Some rabbits like to play with balls. Large, rubber balls work the best – the ones that you find in large baskets at drug/discount stores. Never give a balloon or rubber ball small enough to swallow to any pet of any kind. When it comes to toys, always give too much, not too little. Observing your rabbit’s preferred activities and devising toys that will engage him, can be a game within a game and a mutually enjoyable experience.
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