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Yes, yes they do.
And here’s the important thing that I need you to understand: if you have a bunny that likes to chew wires, you CAN’T train it out of them.
Ok, ‘can’t’ probably isn’t true. Some rabbit could probably learn not to chew wires, BUT chewing is part of being a rabbit.
It’s what they do.
It’d be like trying to train a dog not to chase sheep – sure, it’s possible, but your energy would probably be best served by avoiding the two coming into contact as much as is possible.
Why do house rabbits chew wires?
Rabbits chew stuff.
It’s what they do.
They have teeth that grow continuously, so not only do they chew, but they should chew.
I assume there’s just something about wires that really appeals to them – maybe they feel good to chew?
There’s also another theory that I hold secretly, which is that they’re messing with us.
Many years ago a couple of my rabbits managed to get behind my TV and chewed through every wire ONCE. Maximum destruction for the minimum chew. Hmm. I’m suspcious.
I also once left my wireless (EXCEPT THEY’RE NOT, ARE THEY? BECAUSE THEY HAVE A WIRE THAT LINKS THEM) headphones on the floor, and George severed the wire.
No other bite marks.
Just one clean cut.
I could hardly punish him though, could I? I was the dickhead that left headphones chilling on the floor where anybun could have found them.
How to discourage your house rabbit from chewing wires
To be perfectly honest, anything other that completely covering your wires is asking for trouble.
One of my current buns isn’t a wire chewer, but we still warn her away from them (if we clap softly she jumps as if she’s been shot).
She prefers to focus her energy on getting to this one corner of the couch that she wants to chew.
You can try distracting your rabbit when they go near wires – spray a water bottle in the opposite direction, clap, say ‘ah-ah’. What works will depend on your rabbit.
We’ve taken to saying ‘Holly’ in a faux-horrified tone, and she looks at us as if you say ‘what? I wasn’t doing anything, and then hops away’.
In terms of chewing furniture, we employ a ‘3 strikes and you’re out’ rule, where she has three chances to not scrabble in the carpet before she has to go back into her pen.
So what she does is get told off twice, digs again, and then runs hell for leather back into her pen so we don’t have a chance to tell her to go back.
This doesn’t work so well for actual wire chewing, but you could give a couple of warnings as they’re approaching the wires.
How to protect wires from your rabbit
Start with this trick that works super well for us: put some hay near to where your rabbit want to chew.
Sometimes they’re so fixated on wanting to chew that they’ll go for the easiest option.
This doesn’t always work, but it’s a super simple solution that you may as well try.
There are a multitude of wire covers and foul-tasting sprays that you can use to protect your wires, but what actually works will depend on how determined your rabbit is.
If you’re yet to get a rabbit, let me tell you one thing: some of them are INCREDIBLY single-minded about getting somewhere that they’re not meant to be.
Cover your wires. You may have to rearrange your furniture, or block them with wooden boards, but that’s what living with a rabbit involves sometimes.
I dream of living somewhere that has electrical outlets at waist height rather than ankle height.
Is it dangerous for rabbits to chew wires?
It can be. It can kill them.
We joke online and call wires ‘spicy hay’ but if your rabbit chews a little too hard they can be electrocuted.
Some experts say that most rabbits will stop chewing when they feel the electric current on their teeth. My rabbits are experts in only chewing wires that aren’t turned on.
Last Christmas my rabbit managed to chew through the Christmas lights TWICE (I hadn’t secured her pen well enough, evidently) and a multi-plug. She was fine, but she did a lot of damage to the multi-plug.
If it were up to me, I’d preplace all chewed wire, but my boyfriend works in a builder’s merchant and is a big fan of repairing everything with electrical tape.
What to do if your rabbit has chewed wires
First of all, check that your rabbit’s ok.
If you suspect they’ve had a shock, take them to the vet. If they haven’t moved from the wire, turn the electricity off before tending to your rabbit. I know that goes against your instinct, but we don’t need two casualties at a time like this.
Once you’ve ascertained that your rabbit’s ok, check whatever they chewed.
Some things (like my headphones) are, not to put too fine a point on it, fucked.
Don’t punish your rabbit. They won’t understand – they likely won’t even remember what they’ve done, and they CERTAINLY aren’t sorry.
You can’t punish a rabbit for doing something that’s 100% natural behaviour.
I know it’s tempting to point at your headphones and say ‘who did this?’ to the culprit in a stern tone, but your rabbit is over it, and wondering when it’s time for dinner.
They’re simple creatures.
Take your electricals to an electrical store that fixes stuff. They can often shorten the wire so that the bitten bit is removed.
Final thoughts on rabbits chewing wires
I’m currently living with a pair of non-wire chewers, but I’ve had my fair share of chewed electricals.
I know that it’s annoying and frustrating, but the sooner you accept that it’s your responsibility to protect your possessions from that little demon that wants to eat the world, the happier you’ll be.
Your rabbit may not be happy until they’ve chewed every one of your possessions, but hey, that’s what they do.