Providing toys to your house rabbit is not only a fun thing
to do for you and your bunny, but toys are necessary for
your rabbit's physical and mental health. And any house
rabbit owner will tell you that they may save your own
mental health as well.
Why are toys important for your pet rabbit? Toys are
important because rabbits are intelligent animals that like
to play, and because they, like us, need exercise and
interesting activities to avoid becoming depressed, obese,
and possibly destructive or aggressive.
Why are toys for your house rabbit important to your peace
of mind? Because rabbits gnaw and dig, your home and
possessions may suffer if you don't take action. They dig
because they are a burrowing species. And rabbits have a
built-in and irresistible instinct to gnaw and chew because
they have front teeth (incisors) that never stop growing.
Animals that eat a diet that is primarily roughage must have
some way to avoid grinding down and losing their teeth, or
they would stave to death. Cows have a bony, toothless plate
in the top front of their mouths that is used to grind the
grass and hay they eat. Horses, goats and sheep, like
rodents and members of the rabbit family (Lagomorpha) have
teeth that continually grow out as they wear down.
So expect your rabbit to spend a lot of time gnawing, and
expect that your house rabbit, unless you keep it supplied
with a variety of gnawable toys, will find something to gnaw
that you probably don't want gnawed, like your furniture,
baseboards, books or carpet.
Here are some low cost or free gnawing and/or environmental
enrichment toys suggested by other house rabbit owners:
* Anything made from untreated paper, phone books are popular
* Wooden blocks made from untreated non-toxic woods
* Sticks from unsprayed and non-toxic trees like willow
* Empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls
* Hard plastic toys designed for human babies
* Hard rubber balls that are safe for dogs
* An untreated wicker basket filled with dried leaves
and pinecones, or anything the rabbit likes to chew
* Paper towel rolls filled with hay
* A paper grocery sack lain on its side making both a
burrow and a chew toy.
* Cardboard concrete forms or oatmeal boxes as tunnels
* Canning jar rings and hard plastic bottle lids for
tossing (Make sure the rings won't fit over the
* Empty cardboard boxes with entrances and windows cut into them
* "Cat Condos" made from cardboard or hard plastic
* Those hard plastic kitty balls with a bell in them
* Stairs and ramps that have good traction - rabbits
love to run up and down stairs and ramps for some reason.
* Balled up newspapers or newspaper stuck under a chair
leg. (Make sure that the newspaper you choose is printed
with soy based ink as most are now, and only use the
* Safe metal objects such as measuring cups or spoons,
cans with the ends and sharp edges removed, keys on a
key ring, and the like
* Any toy made for parrots
* A cardboard box with small holes on each end and filled
with hay, so the rabbit can work its way in and have
fun wreaking havoc.
* A digging box of clean dirt is a great bunny gift
* Anything else you think of that can't hurt your rabbit if
it is eaten and that can't wrap around any part of the
Rabbits have different personalities. What is great fun for
one rabbit may be boring for another. Watch your pet with
any new toy to make sure that it is interested and that the
toy can't hurt the rabbit.
Give the bunny different toys on different days or rearrange
them often to keep its interest, and be sure to remove any
parts that are chewed enough that they could become choking
hazards or that the rabbit can't get its head stuck in a