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Keeping your bunny amused - toys for rabbits

Does your rabbit have toys and objects to play with to keep him amused? Or have you never really thought about giving him something to play with?

Your questions answered

Why do rabbits need toys?

It's readily accepted that cats and dogs need toys to keep themselves amused, but most people never think of giving their rabbits toys to play with.

Rabbits are intelligent and social animals, and as well as enjoying the company of other rabbits (and people), they need a lot of mental stimulation in order to keep their body and mind active and in peak condition. Toys encourage a rabbit to display and undertake their natural behaviours, such as digging, nibbling, throwing objects, skipping and jumping, which helps to keep them fit and occupied.

What sort of toys can rabbits have?

Rabbits can have a wide and varied variety of toys. Toys made of strong, non-toxic plastic, cardboard, willow and wicker are ideal, although make sure that you inspect all the toys regularly for any sharp edges or dangerous holes which they could get a foot or their head stuck in or which may cause them an injury.

Shop bought toys

If you look in any pet shop nowadays they will have a wide selection of toys that have been designed especially for rabbits. These will include rattles, balls, chew blocks, tunnels, etc. However you don't have to stick to rabbit toys - some toys made for cats, dogs and birds are also equally suitable for rabbits, as are baby toys which are always tough and non-toxic.

Feeding balls/cubes which are designed to keep dogs amused are also ideal for rabbits. These allow the rabbit to play, whilst exercising and being rewarded with food. All or some of the rabbits daily food ration can be placed in the feeding ball in the morning to allow them amusement over the course of the day.

Home-made toys

You don't have to spend a huge amount of money on toys for your rabbit. As well as buying toys, everyday items found around the home that would otherwise be thrown away can make ideal toys for rabbits.

The inner cardboard tubes from kitchen rolls and toilet rolls make good objects for rabbits to nibble on, tear and throw around. However, if the rabbit tries to swallow any of the cardboard then the tubes should be taken away and only given when the rabbit can be supervised.

Old magazines are a firm favourite with many rabbits for tearing and digging at, but again ensure the rabbit isn't swallowing any of the paper and any staples are removed.

Large cardboard boxes that are filled with hay or shredded paper, with food items hidden inside them will provide a rabbit with hours of fun as they scramble around in the box, nibbling the hay and searching for the food.

Dangerous toys

Any item which can be swallowed, either whole or if the rabbit chews the toy, is dangerous and shouldn't be given. Likewise items with sharp edges, those which may be poisonous or toxic should never be given. If you are in any doubt as to the safety of at toy then it is always safer not to give it and to give them something else.

Rotation of toys

In order to keep your rabbit amused, instead of allowing them access to all of their toys all of the time, you can change their toys each week so they have a different selection to play with.

As you can see supplying your rabbit with a selection of toys doesn't have to be expensive and you will see a difference in your rabbits behaviour as they explore and discover how to play with toys of different textures, shapes and sizes, not only giving them hours of fun but also rewarding you with amusement as you watch them.

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