Toys for Your Rabbit
Rabbits can be very playful creatures, and most enjoy playing with toys. In fact, toys are an important part of a healthy rabbit’s life. As with cats and dogs, toys can provide rabbits with an outlet for energy and curiosity. In addition, rabbits have a propensity for chewing. Providing them with a few chewable toys can help wear down their ever-growing front teeth and might distract them from gnawing their feeders and cages or your wood furniture and baseboards (if your pet bunny runs free, like mine).
A good variety of toys are available. Some you can buy in a pet store; others in a regular toy store. A few online stores exist that specialize in toys for rabbits. You can also make a range of simple toys from common household items.
Toys from a Pet Store
Pet stores such as PETsMART.com sell toys that rabbits can enjoy. Some are made specifically for small animals like rabbits. Others are made for cats, dogs, or birds, but rabbits will enjoy them, too.
Chew sticks are made of wood, and many varieties are flavored, too. I like the ones shaped like carrots, although the shape doesn’t seem to matter much to my rabbit.
Super tubes are fun for bunnies to crawl through. They’re made of cardboard and are essentially short, wide tubes.
Cat balls–especially wire ones or ones made of rubber–are favorite bunny toys. Stay away from the balls that are made of thin, latticed plastic, though–these are too easily chewed through by rabbits.
Bird toys, particularly mobiles made of wood, are fun for bunnies. Hang them from the ceiling of your bunny’s cage for him/her to bat or leave them on the floor for your rabbit to drag. Most rabbits enjoy chewing the wood.
Nylabones are made of flavored potato starch and make a tasty chew toy. You can get Nylabones in vegetable and fruit flavors. Although they’re marketed for dogs, many bunnies love these fake bones.
Toys from a Toy Store
You can get many good, low-priced toys for your rabbit at a regular toy store (or in a department store that sells toys, for that matter).
Large rubber or plastic balls make good push toys. My rabbit loves to push his ball around with his nose. Avoid Nerf balls, though. Some rabbits will chew them and might wind up digesting some of the foam.
Baby rattles can be fun–many rabbits like to pick them up and seem to enjoy the rattling noises they make. Avoid soft rattles–rabbits might chew through the cloth and eat the foam stuffing.
Baby teething toys made of hard plastic, such as those gigantic plastic key rings (Rattle Keys), are another favorite toy for bunnies. Don’t give your rabbit soft teething rings, like the ones that are filled with gel. It’s too easy for your pet to chew through them and he/she could end up digesting some of that gel, not to mention the thin plastic of the rings.
Slinkies seem to fascinate many rabbits. The large plastic ones are usually the best ones for bunnies. Try arching a slinkie beside your rabbit, and see what he/she does.
Small stuffed animals can be fun toys for some rabbits. They like to pick them up and carry them around–or toss them.
Online Specialty Stores
In addition to “brick and mortar” stores like PETsMART.com and Toys ‘R’ Us that are also available online, you might want to check out some of the online specialty stores that sell toys specifically designed for rabbits.
The Busy Bunny sells edible treats for your bunny, such as untreated willow baskets filled with such tasty items as timothy hay, pine cones, and apple twigs.
Bunny Luv has select toys for your rabbit, including plastic chew toys and a cardboard bunny castle.
Bunny Bytes includes a pretty broad selection of toys, including chew toys, bird toys suitable for rabbits, cardboard rabbit housing, and other fun items.
Leith Petwerks sells all kinds of chew toys, including wood and lightweight acrylic ones, and more.
Some of the best toys for rabbits are ones that you can make yourself or that you can get for free or at low cost. For instance, wood items can make dandy chew toys.
Untreated wood from a workshop or garage in the form of a small block or stick will make most bunnies very happy. As long as the wood is not painted, glued, stained, or treated in some other fashion, it should be safe for your rabbit to gnaw on.
Dried branches or twigs from fruit trees can provide another source of free chew toys for your rabbit. Do be careful about giving them wood from trees, though–some trees, such as redwood, are not good for rabbits. If you use pesticides in your yard, it’s best to avoid giving them wood from your trees, even if you don’t spray your trees directly.
Pinecones that are dry and free from sap are yet another tree product that many rabbits love. Not only will most rabbits chew them, many bunnies enjoy picking them up and tossing them about.
Cardboard tubes from paper towel or toilet paper rolls make a dandy chew toy. Try stuffing the tubes with hay and watch your rabbit have a great time pulling or chewing the hay out.
Cardboard boxes will be fun for your rabbit to crawl into. I like to put boxes on their side and let my bunny hop in and out. (Likewise, I’ll often leave a plastic laundry basket on its side on the floor for him to play in.) Often I leave a little scrap of paper for him to discover inside of the box. Some people like to tape up the boxes and cut one or two openings for their rabbits, so it’s a kind of bunny hideaway.
Paper cups are easy for your rabbit to pick up and carry and toss around. Give him/her only paper cups that aren’t plastic-coated. Cups made of Styrofoam are also no-nos.
Phone books have got to be the ultimate chew toy. Most rabbits will gnaw happily on these. Be sure that phone books are old because your rabbit won’t be giving them up easily. If your rabbit appears to be eating a lot of the paper instead of just shredding it, you might want to restrict your rabbit’s access or take away the phone book altogether. (Eating a little paper, though, isn’t anything to worry about.)
Crumpled bits of paper will entice some rabbits to play like a cat, batting the paper around. Most rabbits will enjoy chewing the paper, if nothing else.
Baskets made of unpainted and untreated wood or of straw can serve a double purpose if the baskets are big enough for your bunny to crawl into. Not only does your rabbit get a new place to hang out, he/she can chew to his/her heart’s content.
Clean, empty cans such as soup or tuna cans can be picked up and carried by your rabbit or batted around by him/her. Be sure that you remove the label and the lid completely and that you file down any sharp edges.
Paper bags like you get at the grocery store will provide a lot of fun for most rabbits. When they get tired of “exploring” the interior of the bag, they can push it around and chew it.
Wooden spoons are appealing to many rabbits, who will carry them around by the handle. And chew them, of course. The spoons should be all wood and unpainted.
Soda cans with a small pebble inside become homemade rattles that many rabbits enjoy. They pick up the can or roll it, enjoying the rattling of the pebble in the process. Be sure to take off the tab and file down any sharp edges first.
Digging boxes are cardboard boxes or litter pans that are filled with old carpeting, newspapers, hay, or cloth. As you might guess from the name, a digging box is a place where your bunny can dig to his/her heart’s content.
Towels or blankets can be great fun for your bunny. Many rabbits like to bunch cloth up, knead it, and drag it to a new spot. Pick up one end of the cloth, and some rabbits will play tug-of-war with you. If your rabbit starts to chew through the cloth and eat it, though, best take it away. Cloth might harm a rabbit’s digestion.
What Works Best for Your Bunny
Not all rabbits will play with all toys. Experiment until you find toys that appeal to your bunny. Just like kids, bunnies can get tired of toys, so don’t be surprised if yours plays with a new one for a couple of weeks and then abandons it. (Often, rabbits “remember” forgotten toys in a few days or weeks.) Try having a few toys on hand, perhaps in a box that he/she can take from when the mood strikes or that you can lay in his/her cage.
Rabbits are a lot of fun to watch when they’re playing. Toys are something that both you and your rabbit can enjoy.