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Keeping your rabbit entertained will depend a lot on your rabbit’s personality.
A few rabbits will stick to their caregiver like glue, and love to spend time with them chilling on the sofa and such.
Others will need to be taught how to play and have fun.
And others will never play with you, and will sulk if you dare enter their domain.
There is no way to guarantee what kind if rabbit you’ll get, and your rabbit may completely change their personality, seemingly on a whim. When we first got Holly she never wanted to leave her bed, and was very very timid.
Now she’s crazy and loves to zoom around, but it took her a good few months to learn that she could safely do that without us picking her up or bothering her.
How much time do I need to spend with my rabbit?
My rabbits live in my living room, so I spend hours with them without trying.
I try to spend a few minutes every day sat on the floor with them, but they don’t really like that. Instead, I lay on the sofa with my arm over the edge and wait for Holly to push er head into my hand. I must not look at her or speak though. It’s a very strange arrangement, but she seems to like it.
Daisy, on the other hand, will happily have pets 24/7, so I make sure to stroke her pretty much every time I walk past her.
I’ve had other rabbits that used to like to flump next to me and have hours of strokes, but I’m not at that stage with these two yet.
Do rabbits need toys?
Yes and no.
Rabbits need some form of stimulation, but its doesn’t need to be actual toys.
Like I’ve mentioned in other articles, Holly can have hours of fun with a towel. Literally hours, just digging in it, and rolling it up, then smoothing it out again.
They have cups, and a cuddly toy, and willow balls, and all manner of other crap we bought from pets at home, but none are so popular as the humble towel or cardboard box. Extra points if the box has some of that paper padding that amazon uses.
Ideas for cheap/free/repurposed rabbit toys?
- Toilet roll tubes
- Paper bags
- Boxes of all sizes, preferably stacked up with treats in
- Cuddly toys – ours just like to wash them, but you may get a bit of humping I’m afraid
- Something they can rip up – old clothes, newspapers, furniture…just check it’s bunny safe if your rabbit is an eater, rather than a shredder
How can I tell if my rabbit’s bored?
This is a difficult one, because any type of withdrawn behaviour in a rabbit needs to be checked at the vets.
You can’t really tell if a rabbit’s bored with any accuracy. it’s often suggested that destructive rabbits are bored, but rabbits are naturally destructive.
But if your rabbit’s destructive give them something to, er, destruct. This doesn’t mean that they’ll stop ripping up magazines, but it’ll give you something to distract them with.
By the way, rabbits like to chew solid objects – I imagine it’s the best way for them to wear their teeth down. Give them something heavy and wooden to chew and they’ll really like that. We allow ours to chew their cage because…it’s their cage.
Again though, giving them something that they’re allowed to chew on won’t make your brand new ottoman any less tempting.
Is your rabbit’s enclosure big enough?
This is key if you’re not planning on free-roaming your rabbits.
We’ve always free roamed our rabbit until we got Big Blue Isobel, but she would have probably eaten through walls. She’d been so starved of stimulation in her previous home that it was unfair to try to train her out of it.
So we built her a MASSIVE enclosure, and let her out when we were home. Consequently, we now have a a MASSIVE enclosure and two TINY bunnies that between them are still half the size of their predecessor.
The enclosure is big enough for them live out their entire lives in, and still have ten times the space most pet rabbits have, but I still think it’s important they get free roam time.
Interestingly, they don’t always take advantage of the open cage, but if we’re sat in the living room and the cage door is closed, Holly will kick up a fuss until we open it. It’s like she doesn’t need to actually be out, she’d just like to have the option.
Daisy doesn’t care, and would probably live out her whole life in a cardboard box given half the chance (though she would like the OPTION to leave all the time).
Some rabbits are lazy.
So, how big does a cage need to be?
Ignore all that stuff about it needing to be three times bigger than your rabbit, etc etc. It needs to be bigger than that.
My rule of thumb is that a) it needs to big enough that they can run, binky, and zoom properly, and b) I need to be able to sit in it with them and have them be comfortable (i.e. not all squished up together).
Would your rabbit benefit from having another rabbit?
Many rabbits prefer the company of other rabbits.
I used to think that all rabbits needed a companion, but now I realise that some rabbits are happier alone.
Daisy and Holly unbonded whilst Daisy was at the vet’s for a few days, and Holly seems a lot happier on her own. She’s really come out of her shell and is a completely different beast to the timid little thing we adopted.
We have noticed signs that they’re warming to eat other again, so we’ll try rebonding when Daisy’s a bit stronger. If they’re happier in separate areas, that’s fine, but I don’t think that’s the issue.
Daisy always wanted to be dominant, so I think initially she struggled when she saw Holly – she’d feel vulnerable sue to her head tilt and try to attack Holly through the bars, and Holly would draw back, but not run away, which I think Daisy found frustrating.
A mothr-daughter bonded pair isn’t ideal, really, but you work with what you’ve got!
Why is my rabbit destroying all their toys?
Because rabbits destroy everything. it’s what they do. Only let them near stuff you don’t mind them chewing. If you’re letting them free roam in a non-rabbit-proofed room, you’ll need to superise.
Final thoughts on entertaining indoor rabbits
Different rabbits require different levels of mental stimulation, but they do tend to have one thing in common: they play by ripping, chewing and digging.
Don’t expect cute images of your bunny chilling in a box – expect to have to listen to them chew it until it’s all gone.
It’s important to remember that all the chewing is good for them – not only is it a natural behaviour for them, but they’re doing it for a reason.
The more cardboard boxes they shred, the more they’ll wear down their teeth, and the less you’ll have to shell out in vet’s fees (provided they’re not eating all that carboard).