How to Entertain and Play With a Pet Rabbit

How to Entertain and Play With a Pet Rabbit

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I'm a published children's book author, magazine writer, and technology blogger. I also have two rabbits at home: Thumper and Ralphie.

Rabbits Make Great Pet

Rabbits make wonderful pets. When they are raised with love, they are calm, playful, inquisitive, loyal, brave, funny, and personable. Some rabbits, like mine, are so perfectly litter boxed trained that they can have run of the house. Others do better in an X-pen setup with supervised playtime.

What exactly is playtime to a rabbit? Most house rabbits like it when you get down on the floor to play with them, or when you provide a variety of "toys" for them to discover, devour, destroy, or simply nudge.

You don't have to spend a fortune on special rabbit toys. Here are some ideas to help you keep your rabbit's home life fun and entertaining.

How to Play With a Rabbit

Rabbits are floor dwellers. They don't like being up too high, though they will sometimes seek out a chair for a nap. They may tolerate being held, but they truly prefer it when you play with them on their level. That means playing on the floor.

Toys Ideas for Rabbits

  • Edible timothy grass balls
  • Willow baskets or wreaths
  • Small dried willow or natural grass squares
  • Edible dried branches or sticks (including small well-washed tree stumps!)
  • Phone books
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Cardboard tunnels, especially cardboard concrete tubes from home stores
  • Cardboard playhouses

Rabbits will push a timothy grass ball back to you, and will run through a tunnel to greet you if you put your face to one end and call to him. If you lie down on the floor with a willow wreath on your chest or back, he will jump on you and take the willow wreath away.

Many rabbits like to destroy the phone book, so you can try that to see if he is interested. My rabbit never took to destroying books, and prefers a small plastic tub over a cardboard box to play with and nap upon.

Some rabbits enjoy tossing noisy things into the air.

Best Toss Toys for Rabbits

  • Jelly jar lids tied together
  • Plastic toy keys (the type for children)
  • Knotted jute with large wood beads or blocks tied to it
  • Balsa wood or other wood blocks
  • Your shoes, or small kid's shoes for a smaller rabbit

If your rabbits enjoys running through the house, try setting up a hallway obstacle course with pillows, throw rugs and random toys scattered about, or read the paragraph on agility training later in this article.

My rabbit loves to read! Rather, he enjoys listening to others read to him. Reading to your rabbit is especially fun for children who are learning to read, as it provides practice for the child and a playtime activity for the rabbit. Give it a try to see if your rabbit is a literary bun.

Thumper Digs and Flops

Vote for Your Favorite Pet!

Supervised Outdoor Playtime

If you have a completely enclosed patio or garden, rabbits absolutely love having outdoor playtime. It is key to remember that rabbits are prey animals; you have to watch them every second, you can't assume that they are safe if you can't see them, or if they are more than a couple of feet away from you. If you have crows, dogs, coyotes, hawks, owls or other predators in your neighborhood, you must make sure that none are around before taking your house rabbit outdoors.

Benefits of Supervised Outdoor Playtime

Rabbits love to chew and dig, it is part of their rabbit nature and not something that can be trained away indoors. Having a time to chew and dig outdoors will help an indoor rabbit to be more calm and peaceful.

Tips for Outdoor Enrichment

  • Allow play in a pesticide-free zone. This includes the lawn area, and anywhere your rabbit may go. Keep your garden organic so that your rabbit can dig, nibble, and visit without fear of being accidentally poisoned.
  • Remove harmful plants. Check with the House Rabbit Society poisonous plant list for information on plants that could harm your rabbit. Plant rabbit friendly fruits and vegetables instead.
  • Create a dig zone. Use a spade to soften an area of dirt or sand where your rabbit can be free to dig and flop. Let him get dusty. When you get inside, you can use a towel to wipe him off and a light brush to remove dirt. Most rabbits enjoy being groomed by their human.
  • Let him "garden." Rabbits love to be helpful. Let him chew weeds, and if you have a small tree stump or clump of roots to remove, let your rabbit have a go. Our bunny's favorite toy was a small stump of a lemon tree that he dug out himself and dragged into the house. It took him the better part of a week to do, and the stump kept him entertained indoors for a couple of years after that.
  • Train him to come inside on command. Training is an important part of socialization. Try using a special word, like "Inside!" or "Treat!" and then associate coming inside with getting a treat, like a raisin or small piece of carrot.

Best Rabbit Toys

The best toys for the house rabbit are those that promote socialization and appropriate chewing or digging behavior, something close to how a rabbit would behave in a natural environment. Rabbits are social animals. They want to form a bond with their humans and interact with you through play and through grooming.

In terms of chewing and digging, it can be difficult if not impossible to completely train a rabbit to not chew and dig indoors, so toys that encourage appropriate, directed behaviors serve an important purpose in that regard.

In my experience with rabbits, the best toys to always have inside include:

  • A box to hop upon for pets, treats, or for a nap
  • A cardboard tunnel (the 6' kind for concrete columns) to run through
  • A small tree stump or knobby branch for chewing, digging and tossing around
  • Small willow wreaths and baskets for tossing and chewing
  • Tough canvas gardening gloves for tossing around
  • Natural grass squares for digging and chewing

In addition to that, we have a soft dig-and-flop spot outdoors and we leave dead roots and weeds in the garden for the bunny to play with.

When selecting toys for your house rabbit, let your rabbit guide you. If he prefers non-traditional "toys" then try other things (like gardening gloves) that can stand up to a tough rabbit.

House Rabbit Enrichment

Try giving your rabbit long pea vines to play with and eat. They will toss them around!

Rabbit Toys

ToyPros and ConsCost

Willow wreaths, baskets

Aromatic, encourages appropriate chewing


Natural grass balls, squares

Encourages appropriate chewing. Can be messy


Phone book

Messy, encourages appropriate digging



Encourages running. Can take up space.


Cardboard rabbit condo

Looks nice, provides hiding spot, encourages chewing


Cardboard boxes

Provides hiding spot, encourages chewing


Rabbit Agility Training

Agility Training

Yes, it is possible to train your pet rabbit to run through tunnels, jump over hurdles, and run through weave poles! Agility training is quite popular with house rabbits and their humans. If you are interested in agility training with your rabbit, here is one way to get started:


  • Pet training clicker
  • Short box or step-stool
  • Short tunnel
  • Hula hoop or short hurdle
  • Treat, like raisin, papaya or carrot, chopping into very small pieces.

Training Technique

This technique uses a reward system, conditioning your bunny to associate the click of a pet training clicker with getting a treat. It works best during the morning or early evening, not during your bunny's afternoon nap time.

  1. Lay out your course. Start with something simple, like a short box and a tunnel lined up in a hallway. Block off both ends of the hallway.
  2. Put your bunny onto the box and click the pet clicker. Give him a treat. Let him then explore, clicking the clicker and giving him a treat every time he gets onto the box, goes into the tunnel or runs through the tunnel.
  3. Practice for a short time, like 5-10 minutes each day for a week or so.
  4. Add on. Start by placing your bunny in front of the box. Put your hand holding the treat onto the box and click the clicker with your other hand. If and when your bunny jumps onto the box for a treat, praise him, give him the treat and then move your treat hand to the front of the tunnel. Click the clicker with your other hand. If and when your bunny jumps off the box and comes to the front of the tunnel, give him the treat and then move to the other end of the tunnel. Put your treat hand into the tunnel and click the clicker with your other hand. If and when your bunny runs through the tunnel, give him the treat. Congratulations! Your bunny has done two agility stations!
  5. Continue to add on to the agility course, using the clicker and treat system to encourage your bunny to follow the course. If your bunny loves to jump, try adding a hurdle or two, or a weave pole station.

If your bunny is completely disinterested in agility training, lunges, grunts or otherwise expresses his disapproval, maybe he just isn't an agility athlete. Try another bunny sport, like digging in the garden or tearing up a phone book.

Indoor Run Time

Finally, some bunnies need indoor room to run on a daily basis, in addition to playtime. Our white rabbit, Ralphie, loves to run back and forth while we watch. If you have a bun that loves to run indoors, try blocking off a hallway, or set up carpet runners in a designated area for "run time." Here's a video of Ralphie—watch her run!

Ralphie's Day

House Rabbit References

Check with your local humane society to see if your city has a House Rabbit Society branch. If not, here are a couple of good online resources:

  • House Rabbit Society - National non-profit volunteer organization that promotes education about house rabbits and rabbit rescue.
  • House Rabbit Network - Information about bunny health and care.

Questions & Answers

Question: I have outside bunnies. They came from a farm, so they are wary of humans in general. Whenever they're outside, they seem afraid of me. If I touch them, they may grunt or run away. This also happens in the pen. If I try to touch them when feeding them treats, they run into their hidey box and will lie down there for me to touch them. but they're afraid of me outside of that. Is there any way I can bond with my outside rabbits more?

Answer: It sounds like you have adopted some very smart buns! Outside bunnies have learned to survive by being wary of practically everything and everyone. They are attempting to train you to only pet them where they feel safe - their hidey box. They may be territorial about their pen as well, but do keep trying to get them to allow you to pet them there. It may help for you to sit down and interact with them at their level, both in their pen and outside. Save special treats for when you wish to pet and play with them, something like apples or willow leaves, or whatever they like best. You might also try setting up a “neutral” penned outdoor area - a different one from where they usually live or spend time in - with interactive toys for them to play with while with you. They may be nervous at first in a new area, and hopefully, come to you for reassurance (and treats!)

Question: I have outside buns. I would like them to enjoy being cuddled and stroked, but they seem to be so very wary of me all the time. They are rescue rabbits and I have had them a year. Are there any tricks I can use to make my outdoor rabbits trust me? It is often quite difficult as they are not with me all the time as if they would be if there were allowed in the house.

Answer: As you are aware, rescue buns can be very difficult to win over, and they may always be wary - they have learned survival skills, and they will not trust anyone easily! You can try getting them onto a schedule of sorts. Buns love routine, so always have set times for cleaning, feeding, and playing. Keep in mind, they may prefer to observe you from a distance, but they will eventually come to expect the routine and will look forward to seeing you at those set times. Try using food (small treats) to entice them at playtime. You can use small bits of carrot or apple or single sprigs of cilantro or carrot tops. If they will accept being fed by hand, you can pet them while they enjoy their snack. Start will short amounts of attention and work your way up. You might see if they will sit on a fleece blanket, which you can gradually move onto your lap. Another thing that might work is to approach them for pets when they are sleepiest, usually early afternoon.

Question: If my baby rabbit is very weak and can't even hold on to the mother's nipples, what should I do?

Answer: I think this calls for a visit to the vet - bring both mother and baby. Possibly, the baby is doing fine, as baby buns only nurse a couple of times a day. But if the baby is cool to the touch, seems dehydrated or seems like the mother is not caring for the baby, then you will need to intervene. Our House Rabbit Society uses Kitten meal Replacement formula to feed neglected baby buns, but do check with your vet to ensure intervention is necessary.

Question: Do rabbits like being on their owners' lap?

Answer: I would say that it depends upon the rabbit! My bunnies have never enjoyed being on anything but the ground, though Thumper did like sitting on the couch to watch “Magnum PI” on TV. You can try lap-sitting for short time periods to see if your bun will tolerate it. If your bun struggles, seems tense, has a wide-eyed look, then probably it would be best from him or her to stay on the ground. Also, you can try placing a firm pillow on your lap, and placing your bun on the pillow. Sometimes, bunnies like sitting on pillows as opposed to laps (less movement) and will enjoy sitting with you that way.

Question: We have two rabbits: a new baby female, and an older, 1-year-old female. The older female tried to attack the younger bunny. What should we do? Also, when we let them play out of the cage, how do we keep them from digging in our carpet behind the furniture?

Answer: Congratulations on your new baby bunny! It can be stressful for rabbits to be introduced to a new bunny and to expect that they will get along. From your rabbits’ perspective, it’s like being paired off without time for the bunnies to get to know each other. Bunnies bond for life, so it is important for them to get to know one another gradually. Set them up in side-by-side pens, or across from one another, and see if they can get along that way first. Try short play dates to see if they can be together without aggression. Some bunnies never get along with other rabbits and must be kept separated. Some people suggest taking both rabbits on a car ride together, to bond them more quickly, but I think that option is very stressful for the buns. Try keeping them in separate pens to start and then gradually work towards bonding them. Also, try offering them some food (tasty greens for example,) to see if they will at least eat together in peace. Bonding bunnies may take some time. If the older bunny continues to act out, it may be that she perfers to be a single bun! You can still have supervised play times; try to block their access to areas where they might dig. If that is not possible, try offering more interesting things to play with, like an old phone book, a tunnel, or grass squares to chew. Some bunnies are diggers, but you might be successful at limiting destructive behavior by providing a variety of other play alternatives, and by keeping them well supervised.

Question: My bunny has a crate with a litter pan that he only uses when he wants to relax and eat. He uses my cats' litter pans, and he still poops and pees around the house. Would the clicker/treat training method help? Am I feeding him too much?

Answer: I suspect your bunny is marking his territory with pee and poop! It’s wonderful that he knows to relax and eat in his litter box, now it’s just a matter of getting him to pee and poop in it too. I suspect you may have to restrict his area until he shows signs that he’s getting the hang of using his litterbox as you want him to use it. Perhaps an x-pen setup that is large enough for him to feel at home, at least 4’x8’ in area, will work? You can let him run around outside his pen when you are there to supervise. Also try using fresh hay, if at all possible, in his litter box. Bunnies eat, poop, pee, and relax in their hay box (litter box), so you must make it as enticing as possible! Clicker training probably would not work as well as a nice, fresh hay box in your bunny’s very own, special area!

Question: I am making an old cage into a bunny play ground. What toys should I use and how?

Answer: Depending upon how much space you have in the cage, you could try a jangly toy or two, such as plastic keys (the type made for babies,) or metal canning jar lids tied together using a carabiner. I’d definitely consider a short tunnel - you can find long concrete form tubes made of cardboard at the home improvement store, just cut the forms down to size. Hay bags are also nice toys, or a pile of sticks cut from your outdoor trees - dried willow, apple, pear works well. I’ve also used fresh branches from Geralton Wax Flower shrubberies. Also, if there is space above, you can tie small wooden blocks onto lengths of twine, and tie them from above so that they dangle down and are reachable for your bun. Rotate through several toys to see what your bun likes best, and to keep things interesting!

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on March 15, 2019:

Juilet, Thank you for rescuing your bun and giving her a new life. It is hard to wash a bun, because they can easily get ill if water gets into their ears. You can use a damp towel and carefully wipe her down, a section at a time, drying carefully as well. If your bun tolerates being handled, you can also try dipping her feet into water (while you hold her) to get them clean, and washing her private area under a gentle warm water stream. You may need two people to do this. But, if your bun seems stressed by water or by being handled, it would be best to allow a vet to do this, especially if her fur is badly matted, dirty, or if she has fleas. Ordinarily, though, a bun rarely needs bathing. A vet will be best for de-worming as well, because your bun may also need to be evaluated for anemia at the same time. For brushing, you may need a variety of combs and brushes! A wide tooth comb used for removing tangles is often necessary for long haired rabbits especially. A small, soft brush is good for keeping “bed head” at bay. My buns tolerate a small cat comb with closely spaced teeth - I think it is called a Furminator. Combing can take a long time, because many buns do not enjoy being brushed or combed. Best of luck with your new bun!

Juilet japz on March 15, 2019:

Hi all just wanted to know about rabbits.. I saved one from being killed and we love her.. She is a fluffy and need a wash or brush and what can I wash her with and how many time can I do that.. I need to worm her what can I use..

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on August 05, 2018:

Hi Jill, It is possible to have a pet bunny even if you travel a lot, but you will need to make arrangements for a pet sitter, someone who is experienced in taking care of house rabbits. Since bunnies have very particular needs, it can be costly to hire a bunny sitter! Ideally, a house rabbit will bond with their human, and this bond can be quite strong. A bunny will worry about you if you are not around. They love structure and routine, so if that is disturbed, they will wonder why. That said, if you are fortunate to have a great bunny sitter, your bunny will quickly learn that going to the sitter means you will be leaving, but that they will be safe and cared for, and most importantly, that you will be coming home soon! So, do your research, see what your bunny sitter options are, and make your decision based upon how you will be able to accomodate a bunny into your life.

Jill Neary on August 05, 2018:

Is a bunny a good idea for me because I would have to only let him explore my room and me and my family travels a lot.

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on June 01, 2018:

Hello Pugtazm, Thank you for your comment! Perhaps your bun is a literary bun, and would enjoy being read to? Keeping in mind of course, that “reading” may include chewing and tearing up the book! I’d try the old telephone book trick, to see if your bun enjoys ripping and tearing, as well as a conventional quiet read along. You might also try a “hay bag,” which is a small brown paper bag filled with hay and perhaps a small amount of apple chips or carrot, and tied at top with string or raffia. Put a few starter holes in the bag before giving it to your bun. For a bun that cannot run, toys that exercise the mind are best! And, snuggling most of the day with you is something that I am certain your bun loves - what a lucky bun to have such a loving guardian!

pugtazm on June 01, 2018:

my rabbit is super playful but he cant run. we snuggle most of the day but i think he gets bored. idk what to do to occupy him, plz help

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on May 20, 2018:

Thank you for your comment, Allie. Many buns do have trouble keeping everything inside their haybox, so your bun is probably doing quite well with her litterbox habits! That said, you could try a slightly larger litterbox, to see if that helps. You could also try changing (cleaning) the box twice a day, which also might help. My new bun, Ralphie, kicks everything out of her haybox by the end of the day, which is quite frustrating! I put a large mat under the box to cover more of the floor, which seems to help a bit. I also change her box mid-day and at night, which seems to help as well. Good luck with your bun, and if I think of anything else that might help, I will post it!

Allie on May 20, 2018:

My rabbit is mostly pottytrianed in a box but she does have some problems with keeping everything in the box any suggestions?

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on March 28, 2018:

Hi Kiara, Thanks for your comment! Rabbits do make lovely pets!

Kiara on March 28, 2018:

I love rabbits. This is so helpful......maybe I ought to consider one??

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on March 21, 2018:

Hi Samantha, So sorry to hear about Bell! There are a number of things you can do to try to figure out what’s going on. If she is peeing in the exact same spots every time, you could try putting a litter box on those spots to see if she will use the box(es) and stop peeing innapropriately. You could try scrubbing her existing box and use hay and Carefresh in it, or just hay, to see if she has suddenly taken a dislike to her existing litterbox situation. You could take her for a vet check to see if she has developed a urinary tract problem that is making her uncomfortable. Also, there is the possibility that the peeing could mean she needs to be spayed! It may take some time to figure out what’s going on with Bell, so keep at it! Give her extra attention so she knows she is well loved. I know that our bun suddenly decided his litterbox was too small, and started throwing everything about to get our attention! A larger box for him did the trick in the end. Good luck with Bell!

Samantha on March 21, 2018:

I need help we got our bunny Bell a little over a year ago. It took a long time for her to ajust when she did she was sweet about 2 months ago she started to pee all over the place ive cleaned the area with vinager and she still pee’s in the spot, now we are keeping her in the cage most of the time and it kills me doing this to her. Now she is peeing outside of her litter box. I don’t want to get rid of her or make her a outdoor bunny but it’s really pushing that way becuae she is destroying the room with pee. If you kow anything to help please help or someone els. I have always wanted a indoor bunny and would love to get her to bond to us and stop this mess.

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on January 28, 2018:

Your Thumper sounds lovely, Fluffy Pumpkin! I'm certain your Thumper is out there with lots of bunny friends to play with!

Fluffy Pumpkin on January 28, 2018:

my bunny was called thumper too!!!! he ran away onto a busy road and we lost him. it was the worst day of my life... my thumper roonie used to love toilet rolls with cocoa and they liked these Spanish garlands and throwed them around the hutch. i remember thumper liked grass and lawn clippings in his toilet roll but i give my other rabbits timothy hay now. i miss you so much thumper if your still out there with all your bunny friends !

Maverick on January 12, 2018:

Thanks for this article, I'll make sure to make my milky happy(bun's name)

wowwow on September 16, 2017:

my bun loved the toys!

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on August 27, 2017:

Thanks for reading my article Stephanie! Give my regards to Jo Jo!

Stephanie on August 27, 2017:

I just love bunnies. I also have a bunny named Jo Jo.

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on March 21, 2017:

Thanks Rabbit233! Glad you liked it!

Rabbit233 on March 19, 2017:

Thanks for this wonderful article!!!

I use this a lot now for my pet rabbits and would like to thank you for distributing this great information to all of us.

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on November 10, 2016:

Ally, Thanks for reaching out! Best of luck with your bun, and good for you for rescuing her from her previous situation. She is lucky to have found you!

Ally on November 10, 2016:

Wow! What a great article! I was looking for ideas on how to play and possibly bond with my bunny. Its been hard because my bunny was terribly abused before I got her. I can't wait to try out your suggestions with her. She is quite scared of being touched or in close proximity to humans but with time I am hoping that well get there :D

Cindi on August 16, 2016:

I got a lion head bunny in Feb. I got him for my dog. It took months but the dog , Mr. Yappy and bunny,Trouble love each other.

My bunny nipped me in the beginning but now he comes out of his cage and licks me on the cheek.

He chases the dog a lot. I am getting him a bigger cage the end of the month.

He is litter trained now and seems very happy here.

It is fun to watch him play with the dog.

He loves bananas. As soon as I peel a banana he comes out of his cage grabs the banana and runs back in his cage to eat. The dog loves bananas too.

We do not know how we ever got along without our Trouble. He is the best.

He is a lot of work but also a lot of fun.

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on June 24, 2016:

Hi Sarah, Bunnies can certainly be opinionated, can't they? Since your bun is a new-to-you bun, he is probably taking his time getting to know you. He's not sure what your intent is at this point, but he will come to understand and learn with time and patience! Keep trying, offer a small piece of a fresh treat, like a piece of apple or carrot, and start your training within a scheduled time each day, so that he learns to expect you to do certain things at certain times. Buns do love their routines! Also, some buns have never experienced treats before, so it may take awhile for them to accept a treat. Our Thumper took a good 3 months before he learned that an apple is a delicious thing! Best of luck to you, and if you have a House Rabbit Society in your area, check them out. Often times they offer classes in training and basic bunny behavior.

Sarah on June 24, 2016:

Hi, I just got a bunny. I am trying to train him to come but am having no luck. He has no interest in any of the food I offer. I bought bunny treat that are little balls with seeds but he wont go after them or come and get them. I also tried carrots, his regular hay and pellets, a variety of leaves, banana, celery, blueberries. I can not find any treat that he is willing to come to me to get. Any advice?

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on May 31, 2016:

Hi Amberlynn, Do you have a House Rabbit Society near you? They can help you navigate the sometimes delicate operation of bunny introductions! If you do-it-yourself, you can try first putting them in side-by-side pens so they can see each other but still have their own space. If you notice them grooming at the same time, or stretching out next to each other, that's a good sign, and you can then try time limited "dates" where you put the two buns into a pen or space together, where you can sit with them and observe, and separate them if necessary! Try just a few minutes at first, with some yummy veggies that they can share, and slowly increase time over several days or even weeks. Best of luck with your bunnies!

Amberlynn on May 31, 2016:

Is there a special way to introduce a bunny to a new companion... both are under 6 months but have not been introduced... thanks in advance!?

prokidwriter on March 29, 2016:

Hi Pip, I'm so sorry to hear about your poor bunny! When a bun does not poop, drink or eat, it's very, very serious. It sounds like you've already done everything you can do on your own- encouraging her to eat, trying to pet her. A vet visit is in order. A vet can hydrate your bunny and figure out if it is GI stasis or whatever else may be going on. I know how expensive vet visits can be, but when a bunny is this sick, taking her in quickly is best thing you can do.

Pip on March 29, 2016:

I'm quite worried for my bunny. She doesn't like being touched and she isn't drinking water. We try to put her kale/ other food in water but she doesn't go near it if we do. She doesn't respond well to us and we don't think she poops either(not sure). Do you know what we can do? The vet is VERY expensive. Thank you!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 24, 2016:

We have some in the family who keep pet rabbits and they're really wonderful. They don't need much care.

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on February 18, 2016:

Congratulations Jailah, on getting a bunny! They are wonderful pets, more work than a cat, slightly less work than a dog. Mostly, rabbits require lots of interaction at ground level, so start out by playing with them while on the floor/ground. They don't much like being picked up, but you can train them to tolerate it. I recommend picking up some books on house rabbit care, and if you have a House Rabbit Society near you, they can be a useful resource, especially when it comes to finding a rabbit-savvy vet. I have also found to be a great resource, especially their forums. Enjoy your new bunny!

jailah on February 18, 2016:

Hi guys I'm new to getting a rabbit so if u hot any advice that will be great .thank u!!!!!!!!

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on January 03, 2016:

Jojo, I'm so sorry to hear about your beloved buns! It's hard to say what may have happened as bunnies are somewhat fragile, and it sometimes does not take much to stress them to the point where it endangers their well-being, and yes, bunnies can get depressed as well! It sounds like a consultation with a vet is in order, but it is important to select a bunny-savvy veterinarian, one who can help you ensure that your set-up is ideal for your buns. My heart goes out to you, and I hope that you are able to figure out what might have happened.

Jojo on January 02, 2016:

Hi My name is Jojo and I am a huge lover of Rabbits. Just this morning unexpectantly 2 of my precious rabbits died. One of my young sons went to their cage as he does every morning and both rabbits were lying beside one another with their eyes open. I have bipolar, deaf impaired and have major depression. I have been totally devastated after this has happened. We recently moved our rabbits in a shed with ample sunlight, air, and very roomy. They were in a huge long tool box which had been cut the top with thick wire across. They were seemed fine the day before. I am baffled to why this happened. I did get these rabbits from a breeder friend of mine. I have now lost 5 rabbits in the past year all from the same person. The diet was fine, plenty of water & food. There was a boy and a girl together both netherlands not even a year old I am totally dewildered how this could of happened. Rabbits are part of my life. I am am artist and even made a special rabbit piece and was on show in the local art gallery before christmas done out of egg shell. I also draw and paint rabbits and do zentangle Rabbits and working on children's books for disabled children and mental health hospitals across the state.

It looked like one of them had lost weight since being moved. They tend to fight sometimes but only on rare occasions. When I went to see him yesterday the male one Orio, he tried jumping out of the cage. Could depression occur in Rabbit's? Today I was given another 3 rabbits 2 mummies which had litters and a baby of a couple months old all mini Lops. there has been a special section made up in the house for tonight only to get them use to people and the surroudings. I am totally beside myself what has happened. Could there been a chance of a fly that laid eggs on them? My eldest son of 10 told me when he went to see Ginger the Girl netherland Rabbit he said it was like she was gasping for air but still alive and moving. The shed door is closed with the door pulled down but there all their cages have ample air and thousands of holes. Could of the new surroundings killed my babies?

The humidity? They had a huge bowl of water but I found it strange them not drinking half as what they had done before.

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on September 19, 2015:

I'm so sorry to hear about your poor bunny! Poor Mr. Fluff. Bunnies do bond, and when one dies, the other can mourn the loss for a long, long time. They can also become unhealthy if they stop eating or grooming themselves because of their grief. It's hard to say how Mr. Fluff will react to the loss of his sibling. Do you have a House Rabbit Society in your area? They can help you decide whether or not Mr. Fluff could bond with another rabbit. Often times, they do like being a part of a bonded pair and will bond with a new rabbit fairly readily. Where I live, the House Rabbit Society folks will help arrange "dates" so that bunnies can meet and perhaps bond. I hope you have such a resource in your area. If not, it is possible to bond two rabbits on your own, check out House Rabbit resources online to learn how, or also has forums where you can ask other rabbit owners how they bond bunnies. In the meantime, spend extra time with Mr. Fluff! Good luck!

Barb on September 15, 2015:

In July, we got two male lion head bunnies (siblings). They cohabited wonderfully; snuggled together, cleaned each other, etc. and seemed very healthy and happy. One was larger than the other. This morning we found the smaller one dead in his wooden shelter within the hutch where they sleep. It's like he had a heart attack or stroke; very sad. They were 4 mos. old and I'm concerned about Mr. Fluff being alone now. I don't want a female rabbit unless she is fixed and even so, I'm worried about them not liking each other. Or should we just give extra attention to Mr. Fluff instead of thinking about another rabbit?

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on September 03, 2015:

Animal lover, it can take a long, long time for a rabbit to understand that you mean him no harm! Most buns don't like being picked up at all, and most would rather be outside of their cages or pens. They will poop/pee to mark their territory. Do you have a hay box inside for your bun? You might try putting a hay box near him, when you let him run around the house, to encourage him to do his business in one spot. It sounds like you are doing the right things to keep him happy!

Animal lover on August 30, 2015:

I have had my rabbit for 10 months now. I got him when he was big so idk exactly how old he is. But I try all those things and I take him outside but when ever I let him out the cage and let him run around he does his business everywhere so then when I try to put him back I give him a treat and is try to pick him up he runs away and I don't want him to think that i want to hurt him so I really need help

Arun Dev from United Countries of the World on July 06, 2015:

Rabbits are adorable little creatures!

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on June 19, 2015:

Thanks for commenting juderes!

judalyn eres from cebu city, philippines on June 18, 2015:

oh wow really? they can do it? thanks, am gonna share this

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on May 15, 2015:

My pleasure Prokidwriter.

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on May 15, 2015:

Thank you Kristen! I love to show off our bunnies!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on May 15, 2015:

Your pet rabbit is so adorable and cute. Thanks for sharing your tips on playing with your rabbit. Voted up for useful!

Kirsty from Scotland on May 04, 2015:

He is funny, daft but funny.

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on May 03, 2015:

Kirsty, Your Bramble sounds like a very funny bunny!

Kirsty from Scotland on May 03, 2015:

My Bramble loves noisy toys, unless they make an unexpected noise - then he runs and hides in his house. He is such a daft bunny sometimes! Once a toy has scared him and he runs into his house he will eventually venture out and look and maybe sniff at the toy in question for a while. Inevitably he will throw it about again - it will then make the unexpected noise again - he will then get scared again and hide in his house for another wee while. Eventually once he starts expecting the noise he is ok.

He is a daft bunny at times, but I wouldn't have him any other way.

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on May 01, 2015:

Thaks Sarah! Sounds like your bunny had a wonderful life with you and your family!

Sarah B from Klamath Falls on April 30, 2015:

This is so great! I had rabbits from the age of about three when my family got our first one until I was in high school. Amazingly, it was one ancient rabbit that was the first to live in our home and the last standing. She lived to be about 12! And she travelled across the country with us from Syracuse, NY to Oregon.

This article makes me want to get more bunnies! I never knew that some liked to play with throwing things up in the air to make noise--or that you could agility train them :)


T on March 26, 2015:

I love bunnies~! Even in spite of the fact that they stink! Lol!

We have had our current bunny for 11 years now. She is probably around 12.

She's so funny. Loves to push balls around, chase the cats and dog when we let her run around and adores being pet and carrots. If you bite into a carrot, she hears it and immediately gets excited and puts her paws on the side of the cage to get some.

Thanks for the adorable and informative article! I love when they randomly flop on their sides. XD

flint3099 on March 10, 2015:

Great hub prokidwriter. The rabbit featured in the pictures is really cute. I have been wanting to get a rabbit for a while now. I will have to do it one of these days. Thanks for the ideas.

Anita Delp from North East, Maryland on March 10, 2015:

Informative and well-written article. If bunny is running around the house, please, please secure any electrical cords that may be within his reach. Rabbits obviously love to chew, and seem to be attracted to cords for some reason. Biting through one can be devastating for your pet.

Rabbits can be excellent pets, indoors or out. I miss snuggling with my runny babbit =(

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on March 09, 2015:

Aww, Maybe it's time to get another bun, freyja26! Thanks for reading my hub!

Karina from Philippines on March 09, 2015:

This makes me miss my rabbit! Nice hub

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on January 20, 2015:

Thanks techygran! I appreciate you!!

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on January 17, 2015:

This is a lovely hub, and the perfect reading-aloud piece for a granny and her pet-campaigning grandkids! Voted up, useful, awesome, and pinned.

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on November 23, 2014:

Hahaha! Just like a bun! Thanks for your comment lal!

lal on November 23, 2014:

I bought my bun a cardboard castle from the pet shop for a good £20. It had three levels and windows and everything! Me and my mum had a kerfuffle building it and he completely ignored it- would rather play with an old, free cardboard box.

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on July 12, 2014:

Hi Melissa, How lovely that your bunny groom you! It is the ultimate bunny compliment. Probably you should cut back on giving him sweets, as too many sweets isn't healthy for bunny. Occasional treats are ok - as long as he eats his hay and veggies first! I use small pieces of carrot and bits of raisin as treats, usually to get my bunny's attention or to train him to do something. It works!

Melissa on July 12, 2014:

My rabbit, Nesquick, has taken a liking to me. He licks my face and hands, and tries to groom me. He's a young bunny. I was wondering should I not be giving him raisins, carrots and berries in his cage so that he recognizes them as a treat.

We would like to litter train him. If were successful with that we will try the obstacle courses. I think he'd really enjoy it.



belleart from Ireland on July 04, 2014:

thanks so much for this, our bun Cocoa is getting a little lazy with playtime and doesn't want to run around much at all anymore. Il def try some of these, they sound great

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on June 18, 2014:

Hi Malaya, If your bunnies are attached to each other - a bonded pair in bunnyspeak - then it might be that the shy one is always going to be that way, at least to some degree. The shy bunny looks to the outgoing bunny for cues on how to navigate the world. So, keep them together since bonded bunnies must ALWAYS stick together, play with the outgoing bunny first - in sight of the shy bunny - and then gently approach the shy one. Never let the shy bunny be without her companion rabbit! When you feed your bunnies veggies, give the outgoing bunny something first, like a piece of lettuce, and then after a short bit, give the shy bunny some, but don't be surprised if she prefers to share whatever her companion is eating. But do try, as learning to eat her own food may help her gain confidence. If you feed your bunny treats, cut them into small pieces and give each bunny a treat at the same time. Usually, once bunnies know it's treat time, they happily gobble down their treats without fear. Small treats can also be used to help a fearful bunny to learn that humans are nice. Any time you do something new with your bunnies, approach the outgoing one first so that the shy one can take it in and see how the outgoing bunny handles things. Talking softly to both bunnies also helps, as it helps the shy bunny get used to us humans. Hopefully, over time, your shy bunny will feel more confident, but even if your bunny stays shy, know that she's really having the time of her life even when she seems a bit stand-offish!

malaya on June 17, 2014:

I just got 2 bunnys and they are attached to each other one is very shy but thr other is very outgoing ! Do you have any idea how i can make her feel not so afraid ?

Tekla Luchenski from Edmonton, Alberta on May 24, 2014:

Thanks. The name is from the book Watership Down. A doddering old rabbit leader in a doomed warren calls a lead character "Walnut" instead of "Hazel". It happens once, early in the book, and it always makes me laugh.

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on May 24, 2014:

Your bunny sounds wonderful, and what a great name! Thanks for reading my hub!

Tekla Luchenski from Edmonton, Alberta on May 23, 2014:

I had no idea how cool rabbits are until we brought home our sweet dwarf bunny, Walnut. For the first while, I wasn't sure what to do. I started letting her out of the cage and leaving it open. She loves jumping in and out of it, and racing around the house. Our labrador treats Walnut like her puppy. Sometimes, I'll wake from a nap and find Walnut curled up in the crook of my arm. Sweet girl. I'm so glad to find out how much fun these little critters can be!

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on May 12, 2014:

Hi SamLM, Thanks for reading and commenting! I don't know of any way to speed up the bunny-human bonding process, some bunnies just take their time I guess! In general, the more structure and routine you can provide, the more likely bunny is to have expectations about you. This works to your advantage, for example, if every morning you give bunny a small treat, like a piece of banana, followed by play time, the more likely it will be that bunny will expect this and look forward to playing with you each day. I play with my bunny mostly by encouraging him to run through his tunnel by putting my face at one end of the tunnel and calling to him. We also run sprints outside (he always wins.) You can also try watching tv together. My bunny likes shows with lots of people talking and very little music, and absolutely no helicopters!

SamLM5511 on May 11, 2014:

Hahaha! My rabbit flops around like that on the fireplace! I think he likes the way it feels on his face...

I know getting a bunny to warm up to you can sometimes be a slow process, but do you have any suggestions to speed it up?

Also, how exactly do you play with a bunny...?


shary on April 12, 2014:

that was amazing

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on February 13, 2014:

Hi Ameyalli, Some rabbits can be stubborn! You can try bribery with very small pieces of raisin or carrot to encourage him to do what you want, but it will likely take a long time to train an opinionated bunny. Think of your bunny as a toddler, resistant to transitions and always testing boundaries. Pick your battles and let him do things on his timetable when possible. I worked on behaviors that were important for my bunny's safety and health, like good litterbox habits, getting into his carrier on command or coming inside when called. It took awhile, but it eventually worked! Good luck!

ameyalli on February 13, 2014:

My rabbit is very very stubborn, and only does stuff i want him to when he chooses to. Is there a way i can change this behavior...ive had him for a year and hes always changing his personality

Erin on February 02, 2014:

I really, really love my rabbit. And thanks to your tips on 'seeing if your bunny loves you' in 3 ways he has shown love in me too. Thanks so much :-)

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on December 22, 2013:

Worms and bugs might be from the bedding material itself, or possibly the rabbits could have intestinal parasites due to fleas and you're seeing worms and larvae from that. I'd suggest a vet check-up for fleas (take a baggie of their poops with you) and to make sure that the bunnies aren't anemic or otherwise sick from flea bites. A vet can give you some suggestions on how to de-flea your bunnies and their living and roaming areas. Ask your vet about Advantage for flea control - I had good luck with Advantage on my bunny, though I respect that not everyone believes Advantage is the best option. Once you have a plan of attack for the fleas, you'll have to really be vigilante about keeping their cage and roaming areas clean and flea-free. Be sure to check whatever bedding material you use - house rabbits just need a goodly amount of hay each day, and maybe a few carpet or straw/sisal squares as a soft area for paw rest. If you buy and use fluff from the pet store or even wood chips, you might find that the material itself is buggy and shouldn't be used. Good luck!

Kelsey on December 22, 2013:

Every time I have to clean my rabbit's cages, their's always worms and bugs in their bedding. They also have fleas. I have six rabbits so its hard to spend time and clean them. Why do they have bugs and worms? Is it because the cage is dirty? What should I do about the fleas? Please let me know!!!

David Trujillo Uribe from Medellin, Colombia on December 14, 2013:

My wife gave my baby a small rabbit a couple of days ago. He calls him cat! Apparently the rabbit looks very much like a cat he saw on a book.

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on October 10, 2013:

Phone books are safe! What little they do ingest gets processed through their systems very quickly, and does not harm them!

I love Cinnabunny on October 10, 2013:

My bunny doesn't like to throw noisy things around, but she sure loves destroying books! I learned that the hard way. Are phone books safe though? With the ink and all that crap?

Adwoa on September 28, 2013:

I lov yr bunnys they are so adorbs!!!, anyway i lov yr imfo, i am totally getting a bunny but the last time i conviced my parents to get a snake they freaked out, they told me not to think about it because they ain't getting me one. Anyway good imfo. Peace out!! :)

LilMsCrazy on September 26, 2013:

Can't wait to try this out on my rabbit. :)

KA Hanna (author) from America's Finest City on June 15, 2013:

Hey thanks, Rose! Rabbits are indeed wonderful pets!

rose-the planner from Toronto, Ontario-Canada on June 15, 2013:

Wow.....this was very thorough and informative. You provided some great tips. When I was growing up, I always had pet rabbits. I am not sure why I liked them so much but I think it's because they were so darn cute! By the way, your visuals are great. Thanks for sharing. (Voted Up).


Can Rabbits Play With Tennis Balls? (And Which Ones!)

Finding a way to entertain your rabbit and keep it healthy can be challenging. It’s not easy to pinpoint what your rabbit needs especially if it spends most of its time indoors. This is why you will start asking, can rabbits play with tennis balls?

Rabbits can play with tennis balls and will often enjoy pushing them around from one place to another. It can be a great way to stimulate their brain, get them moving, and reduce their stress.

In general, rabbits are anxious animals, so finding ways to calm them down is essential. This is why more and more rabbit owners will look to use tennis balls as a way to entertain their rabbit.

  • Safety
  • Affordability
  • Health

When asking “Can rabbits play with tennis balls?” most of the focus is going to go on improving the rabbit’s quality of life. This is what you are going to want and that is what your aim should be. In this case, tennis balls are heralded for offering great value to a rabbit as soon as they are made a part of their lives.

There are several advantages that come along with tennis balls for rabbits at home.

This guide is going to look to dig into the question, “Can rabbits play with tennis balls?” while also pinpointing the core benefits of using tennis balls for rabbits at home.

3. Rabbits are entertaining

Everything sounds ok on the bunny side of the things, but what’s in it for you? How are you going to benefit from owning a pet rabbit? Well, rabbits are entertaining and you’ll never get tired of them. Bunnies have distinct and super fun personalities, so you’ll always have a good time if you choose a bun for a pet. Grumpy, shy, playful or silly rabbits, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Even better, the more you invest in the relationship with your rabbit, the better it will become. Rabbits love to play and run around to burn their energy. They are also very curious and determined creatures and sometimes even a little bit mischievous, so if they’ve got something in mind, they’ll do it no matter what obstacles they come across. A pet rabbit will enrich your life and will always make your days better.

How to Keep a Pet Rabbit Healthy

Rabbits are not always easy pets to care for. They can be demanding, and they have particular requirements. Thankfully, their love and companionship make all this effort worthwhile.

There are rules that you need to follow for appropriate rabbit care. If you take the time to learn more, your pet bunny will be a joy to be around. If you take chances, their health will suffer.

Let’s look at how you can ensure your rabbit enjoys a long and happy life.

1) Provide an Appropriate Diet

Food is the cornerstone of pet care, regardless of the species. So, ensure that you are providing appropriate nutrition. There are four cornerstones to your rabbit’s food.

  • Pellets
  • Hay
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Clean water

As your rabbit ages, their dietary needs will vary. Until a bunny reaches adulthood (at about seven months), they should eat alfalfa hay. This is high in protein, and will provide all necessary calories.

Hay must always be fresh. Change the hay in your pet’s hutch daily, as rabbits eliminate on it. If this sends the hay moldy, eating any mold can make your rabbit sick.

Beyond this, switch the alfalfa to timothy, oat or meadow hay. Alfalfa will be too calorific for adult bunnies, and lead to weight gain. Unlimited supplies if these other forms of hay should be provided.

Pellets are important to young bunnies, as they critical nutrients. Feed a baby rabbit unlimited pellets. Once the rabbit reaches adulthood, reduce pellets. If your adult bunny is indifferent to pellets, phase them out completely.

Fresh vegetables are a treat for rabbits, and introduce more nutrients to their diet. My House Rabbit lists recommended and suitable vegetables. As a golden rule, dark, leafy greens are best.

Concerning water, standard tap water is fine. Just ensure that your rabbit is drinking enough. Learn if they prefer a hutch-mounted bottle or a dish on the floor. Refresh the water at least once a day, ideally twice.

2) House Your Rabbit in an Appropriate Hutch

A hutch should be your rabbit’s home. This means that your pet should always feel happy in their hutch. This will keep your bunny safe from potential predators when they’re unable to run free.

The first thing to consider when investing in a rabbit hutch is the size. As we just said, this should be your rabbit’s home. A hutch is not a cage, and should never be treated as one.

Make sure the hutch is wide enough for your rabbit to stretch from the nose to toes, minimum. Your bunny should be able to make at least three hops before running out of space. They should also be able to stand on their hind legs comfortably.

Your rabbit will also need to have sufficient zones in their hutch. Rabbits are clean animals they don’t want to eat or sleep where they eliminate. They’ll also want to undertake a range of activities and games in their hutch.

Remember, you can’t entertain your rabbit all the time. By ensuring they’re comfortable in their hutch, you won’t need to. A rabbit that enjoys their surroundings will patiently wait to be let out for play and exercise.

3) Maintain a Comfortable Temperature

While bunnies are hardy in the face of cold weather, they become uncomfortable when hot.

A rabbit should run a body temperature of 100 – 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Bunny fur sheds and grows according to the ambient temperature, so nature does most of the work. You’ll still need to vigilant, though. Rabbit Haven lists the symptoms of a bunny overheating as:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Lack of energy and vigor
  • Heat around the tops of the ears
  • Damp nose

Cold weather is rarely a problem. Most rabbits can cope with living outside all year round. They would experience worse in the wild, and they grow a thick winter fur coat.

Start to consider your rabbit’s safety if the temperature outside drops to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. You may wish to move your rabbit indoors. A garage is ideal, as long as your rabbit will still be able to breathe clearly.

Rabbits struggle with sudden changes in temperature. Don’t go from extreme cold to a home that’s warmed by central heating. This is arguably even more dangerous than entrusting your rabbit to keep themselves comfortable.

4) Spay or Neuter Your Rabbit

Spaying or neutering is a crucial element to rabbit health. Unless you are a professional breeder, get your bunny fixed. As long as you find a rabbit-savvy vet, the procedure is safe and straightforward.

Rabbits enjoy the company of their own species, and they’re never shy about congregating. Never assume that adopting two siblings means they won’t breed. Bunnies are not picky about partners.

Spayed or neutered rabbits are also much calmer than their unfixed counterparts. Bunnies are territorial by their nature. This can make them aggressive, and difficult to manage.

Fixed rabbits are likelier to live a long and happy life devoid of health concerns. The risk of urinary tract infections and cancer drops sharply after the procedure.

Most rabbits can be spayed or neutered once they reach four months. This is the time they become sexually mature, making the procedure important.

5) Keep Your Rabbit Calm

Rabbits are easily stressed. They are a prey species, and they’re acutely aware of this. As a result, it doesn’t take much to frighten a bunny.

This means that your pet needs to feel safe and secure at all times. You may find that your rabbit is reluctant to return to their hutch at night. If their hutch is comfortable, there is a safety concern.

Rabbits cannot see in pitch-blackness any better than humans. They can hear and smell well, though. This means that coyotes, foxes, and other predators in the yard will frighten them. Ensure your bunny always feels safe and secure when alone.

Sudden change, or a lack of routine, can also cause anxiety in rabbits. Get your pet into a strict schedule. Help them understand that they’ll be fed, exercised, and played with at particular times.

Just because rabbits cannot tell the time in the traditional sense, they do have a body clock. They’ll learn to expect certain activities at particular times, based on their routine. If you stick to this, they’ll be perfectly happy.

6) Ensure Your Bunny Gets Regular Exercise

Exercise is vital to rabbits. It helps them maintain a healthy weight, and it also keeps them happy. Rabbits have bags of energy, and staying in a hutch all day gets dull and frustrating.

The average rabbit needs around three hours of free-roaming each day. This should be divided into two sessions. One in the morning, when they’re most active, and again in the early evening.

The best way to get your rabbit exercise in the morning is to set up a playpen in the yard. Your bunny will need to be watched, as they can be master escapologists. Most often, though, rabbits will run themselves into exhaustion.

You should also attach a run to your rabbit’s hutch. This will provide a bunny will the opportunity to exercise at their leisure. It’s not as good as being free-range, but it’s better than nothing.

7) Toys and Intellectual Stimulation

Rabbits are smart, and they grow bored easily. They need to be kept entertained while in their hutch. Rabbits will be awake and active before you wake up, and after you go to bed.

Fill your pet’s hutch with as many different toys and activities as you can. This doesn’t need to involve trips to the pet store. A phone directory, for example, can provide hours of entertainment. Your rabbit will love shredding the pages. There are things that rabbits shouldn’t chew, though.

Vary and mix up the toys in your rabbit’s hutch as often as you can. Your pet will always be happier if they have new and unique experiences.

8) Ensure Your Rabbit Has Companionship

Rabbits hate being alone. They are sociable animals that live in substantial groups in the wild. This means they’ll become stressed and lonely in their own company.

Your rabbit will want to be the center of attention at all times. If you cannot provide this level of commitment, think twice about getting a bunny. They are not aloof or independent animals.

Rabbits are also much happier sharing a hutch with a fellow bunny. Just ensure that the two rabbits are bonded. Once this happens, they’ll be inseparable and perfectly content.

9) Clean Your Rabbit’s Hutch

Cleaning a hutch is a critical part of rabbit care. Your pet may not be happy about it, as they’re territorial. They’ll consider this cleaning to be an invasion of their space. It’s the only way to keep your bunny healthy, though.

You should give your rabbit’s hutch a full deep clean, with disinfectant, once a week. Use pet-safe cleaning materials for this, and return things as you found them.

In between, change your rabbit’s hay and litter every day. This is important, as mold is a silent killer of bunnies.

10) Groom Your Rabbit Regularly

Grooming is a vital part of any rabbit’s routine. Bunnies use grooming to determine their position within a social hierarchy. A submissive rabbit will groom a dominant rabbit on demand.

This means that your rabbit may demand to be groomed by you. This isn’t a problem. There is no harm in letting your rabbit feel like the boss of your house.

Grooming is a great way to bond with your bunny. They’ll enjoy the experience, and it will help you earn your pet’s trust. You may receive a lick while you groom your rabbit. This is your bunny saying, “thank you – I love you.”

Grooming is also essential for a rabbit’s health. Bunnies are meticulously clean by their nature. If you notice that their fur is off-color or matted, something is wrong. Take this seriously, as no rabbit willfully neglects their cleaning routine.

Do not bathe a bunny unless strictly necessary, as they find this traumatic. Wherever possible, clean up your rabbit with a flannel doused in warm water.

You must take action of you notice urine stains on your rabbit’s fur. If left too long, these can cause urine scalding (wet tail), a painful condition. Rabbits may accidentally pee on themselves, or sit in their litter tray.

Pay attention to your rabbit’s bottom while grooming, too. Rabbits must always have a clean rear. A messy bottom invites flies which, in turn, leads to flystrike. This is a devastating, and usually fatal, condition for rabbits.

11) Check Your Rabbit’s Teeth

In addition to their fur, you should always ensure that a rabbit’s teeth are healthy. Bunny teeth never stop growing, and this can cause discomfort. If your rabbit has dental pain, they won’t eat. This can quickly become dangerous.

If your rabbit eats an unlimited supply of hay, their teeth should be fine. A high fiber diet is pivotal to oral health in bunnies. Munching on hay will keep their teeth filed.

Take a look at your rabbit’s teeth at least once a week. They should be white, smooth, and the top and bottom rows should meet neatly. If this is not the case, have your rabbit investigated by a vet. They may need their teeth filed down.

12) Vaccinate Your Bunny

One of the first steps that a new rabbit owner should take is arranging appropriate vaccinations. This only applies to particular territories, though.

In the USA, there are no formal vaccinations for rabbits. You can still purchase them, but they are not a legal requirement. This is because the USA has a small native rabbit population. Bunny-centric disease outbreaks are rare.

In other countries, there are two core vaccinations highly recommended to rabbit owners:

  • Myxomatosis – This contagious viral disease is incurable, and invariably fatal. Outbreaks are rare in the United States as wild bunnies have developed immunity. It’s a substantial problem elsewhere, though.
  • Viral Hemorrhagic Disease – This disease spreads like wildfire, and humans can carry it without displaying symptoms. It usually kills rabbits before they can even be diagnosed.

When you arrange to bring your rabbit home, discuss potential vaccination needs with an expert. Doing so may save their life.

13) Undertake Annual Healthcare Checks

Rabbits are prone to health concerns. They are also adept at hiding pain and discomfort. Often, a bunny owner only realizes that there is a problem when it’s too late to rectify.

One way around this is to arrange annual healthcare checks for your pet. Find a rabbit-savvy vet in your area. This is important, as not all vets are familiar with the unique ailments of this animal.

If you get your rabbit assessed at least once a year, any potential problems will be diagnosed early. Your bunny’s weight will be checked, their teeth will be evaluated, and tests can be run.

Prevention is always better than cure where rabbits are concerned. Their small and frail bodies can struggle with major surgery. If treatment is administered early, they’ll remain healthy.

14) Rabbit-Proof Your Home

Your rabbit will be part of the family. As a result, they’ll likely run free for several hours each day. You have a duty of care to ensure they are safe while they do this. Common concerns that must be addressed include:

  • Escape Routes. Rabbits are curious creatures. They may squeeze through the smallest holes in a garden fence. Block any escape routes. Domesticated bunnies cannot survive in the wild.
  • Electrical Cables. Cables are irresistible to rabbits, who love nothing more than chewing on them. This is dangerous. Not only is your bunny at risk of electrocution, but they can start a fire.
  • Other Pets. If you have a cat, ensure they understand your rabbit is not a snack. It may be best to keep the animals separate until they understand each other.
  • Soft Landings. Rabbits love to climb and jump. This can lead to leaps from height, risking a severe injury. Place blankets and pillows around the furniture to provide your rabbit with a soft landing.

Rabbit-proofing a home is just as important as baby proofing. If a bunny can get into trouble, they probably will. Take the time to minimize the risk.

15) Handle Your Rabbit with Care

Handling a rabbit is a critical skill, and it must be done right. As cute and cuddly as they are, many bunnies do not like being picked up. They feel trapped and frightened, and may try to escape.

Having said this, handling a rabbit is sometimes essential. You’ll need to scoop them out of their hutch for cleaning if they’re reluctant to leave. You’ll also likely need to pick up your pet to transport them to the vet.

Never pick up a bunny by their ears, legs, or the scruff of their neck. To handle a rabbit:

  • Keep the bunny calm by offering some gentle petting.
  • Get down to the rabbit’s level. Scooping up a bunny from a standing position will terrify them. Birds of prey are a common rabbit predator.
  • Place one hand under the rabbit’s chest, and the other under their rear end. This will create an even distribution of their weight.
  • Lift the rabbit into your chest. Hold them close enough that they cannot escape, but not so tight that they panic.
  • Put the rabbit down immediately if they show any signs of distress.

Handling – and the distaste that many bunnies have for it – is something that must be considered. This fear of handling is why rabbits are not always suitable pets for children.

Rabbits can be seriously injured if they are dropped, and can be squirmy while being handled. They may also nip, bite, or kick to avoid being picked up. If you have children, ensure they understand how delicate a bunny is.

16) Listen to, and Understand, Your Bunny

Rabbits have a reputation as quiet animals as they don’t bark or meow. Rabbits do communicate with humans, both verbally and physically. Essential verbal tics to listen out for in bunnies include:

  • Grunts and Snorts. These mean that your rabbit is not happy. You may hear these sounds while handling them, or cleaning their hutch.
  • Tooth Clicking. This is a sound similar to a feline purr. It means that your rabbit is happy and content. You’ll often hear it during petting or grooming.
  • Tooth Grinding. This is an important distinction from tooth clicking. Grinding their teeth means that your rabbit is in pain, and needs medical attention.
  • Honking. If you hear this sound coming from an unfixed rabbit, keep them away from fellow bunnies. Honking denotes that a rabbit is looking to mate.

In addition, understand your rabbit’s body language:

  • Binkying. If your rabbit is running in circles and jumping on the spot, they’re over the moon. Keep doing whatever sparked this reaction.
  • Flopping. If your rabbit suddenly flops onto their side or belly, they’re relaxed. This is often seen after a long playtime or exercise. The rabbit is shattered, and is ready for a nap. Pet rabbits don’t always want to play.
  • Flipping onto Their Back. This means that your rabbit is terrified. Back away, and give them peace. They’re playing dead in the hope of being left alone.
  • Nudging. Rabbits often nudge humans with their nose. This is a plea for attention. It typically means, “pet me, please” – or sometimes simply, “you’re in my way.”
  • Chinning. Rabbits have sweat glands under their chin. They rub their chin on items to claim them as their own.

The House Rabbit Resource Network provides more insight into rabbit language. Learn their cues well and you’ll get along well.

17) Prepare for a Long Commitment

Remember that a happy, healthy rabbit is a long-term commitment. You may have read that rabbits only live around two years. This is true of wild bunnies. A well-cared-for domestic pet can live as long as a decade.

Prepare yourself for ten years of caregiving and expenses. Rabbits take time and money to keep healthy. As they age and reach different stages of their life cycle, bunnies also have differing needs.

If you’re prepared to accept this, your rabbit will live a long and happy life. They’ll provide many years of wonderful companionship in the process, too.

How to Set Up a Playful Environment in a Rabbit's Cage

Last Updated: January 18, 2021 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.

There are 27 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 82% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.

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Rabbits are very playful and inquisitive animals. [1] X Research source If you have a house rabbit, it is very important that you provide him with plenty of toys and other playful materials to keep him happily entertained and engaged. There are many ways to create a playful environment in your rabbit’s cage—have fun with it!

Watch the video: How to Teach Your Rabbit to Come When Called