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Environmental Enrichment for Your Beloved Bunny

Environmental Enrichment - Making Your Pet Rabbit Feel At Home

by Kirstie Jones BSc (Hons) RVN MBNA

Rabbits are naturally intelligent curious animals in their day-to day-lives. In the wild they are usually very active and like to dig, jump, run, rear up and socialise with other rabbits.

Part of their curiosity also sees them enjoying chewing, nudging and sniffing.  As well as being social animals they also like to have their alone time, often having a little hiding place or two. Domesticated rabbits need environmental enrichment to improve quality of life and help prevent boredom.

Freedom and choice are key to providing a happy home for your rabbit and the interesting environments we suggest here will give mental and physical stimulation, all are vital to maintain good rabbit health and wellbeing.

How can I provide enrichment for my rabbit?

Enrichment can be delivered in various ways some methods will require some toys and equipment and others can be created with general household items. These ideas can be as expensive and elaborate or as cheap and simple as you like…the result is the same for your rabbit.

Accessories you will need

Hay rack

Hay should take up the majority of a rabbits diet and a good source of hay should always be available. Placing a hay rack up high will allow your rabbit to reach up and stretch but will also ensure the hay is kept off the floor and not soiled.

Tunnels and hideaways

These can be made from a simple cardboard box. These tunnels and hideaways will help encourage a natural behaviour for your rabbit and provide hours of entertainment as well as a safe get away for when they want downtime. Rabbits will need to have an entrance and an exit hole in their hideout. They are prey animals and need to know they can bolt and leave should they feel the need too, having one entrance and exit will make them feel trapped and less likely to use their hideaway.

Litter tray

Rabbits like to dig and forage. If your rabbit does not have access to grass then adding a litter tray into their play environment will be a suitable alternative. The litter tray can be filled with earth and some fresh grass clippings or dandelion leaves to encourage natural foraging and digging. Burns offer a range of natural nibbles for rabbits such as colts foot and dandelion and these are perfect to scatter in and around the enclosure to encourage foraging.

Look out towers

Although a rabbit in a safe home environment will not be predated upon, rabbits will still want to for-fill their natural instinct of having a look out. This is where a raised platform will come in handy for them in their enclosure, they will be able to peer up high and keep a look out from this platform and this in itself will provide entertainment for them.

Interactive toys

Toys to encourage rabbit foraging and brain engagement are fantastic to prevent boredom for your bunny. Some home made ideas are listed below.

  • Snuffle mats: easy to make at home. Many simple ideas available on google and YouTube.
  • Old muffin tins: fill each hole with some healthy nibbles and cover each one with circles of cardboard which your rabbit has to lift and move to get to the goodies underneath. Again plenty of ideas on YouTube and Google.
  • Inner tube from toilet rolls: these can be stuffed with tissue paper, hay, healthy nibbles, the list is endless. These will provide good entertainment for foraging and also for nudging and moving around the enclosure.
  • Cylindrical cardboard tube with a base and lid: pierce holes of a relatively good size over several locations on the tube. Fill with your bunny’s daily nugget allowance or other small healthy nibbles and watch them roll the tube to get food to fall out.

As you can see the possibilities of using things around the home are endless and require far more information that what we can put in this blog, hopefully this blog has got your creative thoughts flowing and opened your mind up to the possibility of increasing your rabbits play and enrichment on a day-to-day-basis.

by Kirstie Jones BSc (Hons) RVN MBNA

I work at Burns as a Nutritional Advisor, mainly on the Burns pet food nutrition helpline, assisting customers with various enquires they have on their pets which is so rewarding, knowing you are helping to make a difference.

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