Rabbits adore playtime. It helps them stay healthy and active, and owners enjoy watching them frolic and explore. Pet store toys offer hours of fun, but there’s no reason to stop with what’s on the rack. Plenty of homemade toys require little more than a few pieces of would-be trash to fulfill your bunny's desire to chew, jump, dig and more.
Rabbits are known for their buck teeth, and they love to use them nonstop. Unfortunately, they see anything they can reach as a chew toy, so make sure any potentially harmful materials are out of your bun’s chew radius. Collect natural materials, from straw to sticks to pine cones, and scatter them about the play area. Tuck treats or veggies in between the spikes on a pine cone to encourage exploring. You’ll also provide an added bonus of mental stimulation as he thinks about how to get the tasty tidbits. The House Rabbit Society urges aging wood for a few months before allowing a rabbit to chew on it. Make sure the wood is not toxic for rabbits, as cherry, peach, apricot, plum and redwood trimmings are.
Tossing and Rolling
You’re sure to have a treasure trove of items your rabbit would love to butt heads with -- in order to push them around the room, that is. Empty food storage containers work great for pushing and rolling. Clean and empty a plastic container and place a coin or something hard inside to jingle when it’s moved. Hard plastic bottle caps make great tossable toys, as do toilet paper tubes. If you prefer not to raid the trash, look for hard plastic toys meant for babies or other house pets to incorporate into your rabbit’s environment. Large bouncy balls, tennis balls or other balls that don't pose a swallowing risk might strike his fancy, too.
Don’t toss that outdated phonebook. For your rabbit, it’s likely to provide hours of entertainment as he turns the pages and enjoys scratching at them with his paws. If you want to get in on the fun, pre-shred some paper -- old newspaper or even junk mail works fine -- and smush it into a box so he can jump on top and enjoy the crunchy texture. Anything made from cardboard or paper is fair game, but remove any shredded pieces so your rabbit doesn’t eat them.
Think in three dimensions when pondering homemade rabbit toys. Build yours a pint-sized jungle gym and see his acrobatic skills come out as he jumps and explores it. Collect different sizes of cardboard boxes sturdy enough to support your rabbit’s weight. Arrange them in different configurations so he can jump from box to box. Don’t be afraid to throw some tall boxes into the mix, as rabbits enjoy heights. Cut doorways in some of the boxes to inspire a game of hide-and-go-seek. Make a ramp out of wood or whatever sturdy, flat materials you have lying around to help him reach new places to explore. Furniture and playhouses meant for cats and dogs (and even children) also provide opportunities to jump and play. Hide some other varieties of toys among the climbing structures for double the fun.
Tara Mills began writing professionally in 2007. She has contributed to several city/regional lifestyle publications, covering food, home decor, fashion and family entertainment. Mills has also volunteered with animal-rescue organizations, serving companion animals large and small. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from North Carolina State University.