By: Alyssa Trump
As adorably small and fluffy as bunnies are, it is a common misconception that they are low maintenance pets. Rabbits are actually very intelligent little beings that need a good amount of mental and physical stimulation.
Why does my rabbit need mental and physical stimulation you may ask? Well, if you want a calm and docile little creature that is easy to handle and play with then you need to give your rabbit plenty of exercise in both mental and physical forms. A bored rabbit is much like a bored dog, they can become destructive and even possibly aggressive. A rabbit thrives on a routine! If you stick to a schedule a majority of the time you will notice that your rabbit will recognize that schedule and be easier to work with, especially if they recognize that a certain item means they are getting the best reward, play time!
To put it shortly, a well trained and exercised bunny will lead to a happier life for both of you!
We all love our adorable bouncy bunnies but sometimes they have just a little too much energy and bounce and it may seem like you are out of ideas to get their energy out! You have tried giving multiple toys but just giving them toys is not all that they enjoy.
We are going to discuss some Do It Yourself (DIY) activities that you can create so that you have a happy but tired little bunny that is an amazing addition to your life.
A DIY snuffle mat is simple and one of the best forms of enrichment for your bunny.
Materials Needed: rubber sink mat, a yard and a half of fleece material (hello bargain bin at the craft store!) and that is it! The amount of material depends on how big you want this to be.
Step 1: You cut the fleece material into 1 inch by 7 inches long strips. Being exact is not needed, in fact varying lengths make the mat more fun for the bunny!
Step 2: Take a strip of material and push it through the hole in the rubber sink mat then bring the material back up on the other side and tie 1 knot, a double knot is not needed. You can do this to each slide of the hole until you have filled each hole on the mat. Fill in any needed spots and you are done!
Step 3: Fluff up the strips and pour some treats throughout it, this can be the bunny’s favorite treats or just their food for the day.
The great part about a snuffle mat is the bunny gets to use its natural sense of smell to “hunt” for its food or treats and they find it very fun. It is a great boredom buster!
Toilet Paper Sushi Rolls
Another simple and fun enrichment idea for your bunny friends is the toilet paper sushi roll. This one is simple because you likely already have all the needed material!
Material Needed: saved toilet paper or paper towel rolls, hay of choice, treats and a brown, untreated twine such as sisal, seagrass or other natural fibers.
Step 1: Leave the toilet paper roll as is or cut into desired sizes.
Step 2: Stuff the roll with hay of choice and treats or food of choice.
Step 3: Wrap the toilet paper roll with the twine and leave a long enough section to tie off somewhere to hang it up for the bunny.
Tips: You can cut out holes into the roll to add easier to grab sections for your bunny. You can wrap the entire toilet paper roll with the twine to make it more difficult for your bunny and you can even poke the twine through the toilet paper roll and layer multiple rolls on top of each other in a row to add more of a challenge and options for your bunny.
A great simple and fun enrichment for your bunny is letting it explore its natural instinct to dig! Now, just letting them dig in the backyard can be dangerous as they can dig holes so deep they hit a wire, sprinkler or dig out of the yard. So it is best to control their digging area. This is by far the easiest boredom buster on here.
Materials Needed: Cardboard box, tote, kiddie pool or similar. Paper shreds, lots of hay/straw, pine shavings or even clean sand.
Step 1: Decide on your desired box and make sure it is clean and safe for your bunny. Then place it in a safe area.
Step 2: Decide on the material you want your bunny to dig in. This can be clean sand (if you choose sand I suggest putting the dig box outside as it gets messy) shredded paper, hay or anything else that is safe for your bunny. Pour the material inside the dig box and let your bunny enjoy it!
Tips: Use lots of material and make it as deep as possible so that it is more entertaining for your bunny. You can even hide treats or toys within it.
The above three ideas are all great enrichment ideas to try out with your bunny. There are so many options you can try out to entertain your bunny and these are just a few of the easiest and most inexpensive ones you can do.
A bunny is an amazing pet. They can be just as fun as dogs or cats if given the chance. They last up to 10 or more years and desire just as much attention and playtime as a dog would want. They may not need miles and miles of running time but they love learning tricks and getting enrichment time with their humans. Go ahead and give the above enrichment ideas a try, you will be having a great time with your bunny as well as getting some amazing photo opportunities!