What toys can I give my rabbit?
Toys are important to your rabbits' health and happiness as they encourage your pets to perform natural behaviours such as digging, jumping, chewing and chin rubbing. Remember, rabbits are unique and will enjoy different toys, however, popular choices include shredded paper, cardboard box houses with holes cut into them, tunnels, and also mirrors which can alleviate loneliness, at least temporarily. Providing objects that encourage digging or throwing, can make wonderful toys for rabbits. Always make sure that there are no small parts that your rabbit could swallow, and ensure that all materials are non-toxic with smooth edges.
Any of these rabbit toys could be a hit!
- Paper - shredded newspaper, paper bags with the handles removed and telephone directories (with the glossy covers removed). Wrap your rabbits' favourite food in brown paper to unwrap!
- Cardboard - boxes with holes cut into them make great hiding places. Tubes can be stuffed with hay and healthy treats as part of their daily ration.
- Tunnels - plastic and fabric tunnels can be purchased commercially. Create tunnels from cardboard boxes/tubes and large ceramic pipes (with a wide diameter).
- Mirrors - where rabbits have to be kept singly, a mirror may offer some comfort, particularly for females. However, the effects can be quite short-lived so it's only recommended for use temporarily to alleviate loneliness. If providing mirrors, ensure they're securely fastened to avoid injury.
- Objects to manipulate or throw - e.g. untreated straw, wicker, sea-grass mats and baskets, balls and plastic flower pots. Solid plastic baby toys e.g. 'key rings', rattles, stacking cups, and some robust cat and parrot toys can make good rabbit toys.
Ensure there are no small parts that could be swallowed and supervise their use. Hide food in/under some of these objects.
- Digging opportunities - many domestic rabbits will perform this behaviour so try providing them with some form of 'digging box'.
Safe places for rabbits to dig include large plant pots or litter trays filled with earth, cardboard boxes filled with shredded paper or sandpits filled with child-friendly sand.
- Places to mark territory - ensure there are objects or areas within rabbits' home where they can mark their territory using chin secretions, urine and droppings.
Rabbits perform 'chin marking', 'chin rubbing', 'chinning', where they gently rub their chin on an object/against part of their enclosure, transferring secretions from their scent gland onto the item, marking their territory, making it smell familiar and reassuring. These scents are not detected by people.
Further enrichment ideas can be found on 'The Rabbit House' blog.