Have you found your rabbit’s water bowl flipped over? Do you catch them chewing on their cage? Boredom might be the reason why!
Rabbit’s will often turn their water or food bowls over because they are bored and want to play with something. A lightweight plastic water dish or food bowl is easily picked up with their teeth and tossed. It is something to do.
Sadly, many rabbits are housed in cages that are way too small for them, and are not allowed out to explore, exercise, and interact with other animals or their human companions. For them, living in the cage is equivalent to being in jail. There is little to comfort them and no opportunity for their personalities to shine. So if you have a rabbit, please make sure to let them out to play for several hours every day in a bunny proofed area, and be sure the cage is large enough for them to have a full size litter box, some toys, and plenty of space to stretch out and lay down. We also recommend that the cage not have a wire bottom. This is VERY hard on their feet and not comfortable to rest on. If your cage has a wire bottom, please put in a large resting board so your bunny can be more comfortable.
Rabbits will often chew their cages even though they cannot possibly chew through the metal. Again, this is a way for them to express how bored they are and how much they would like to come out and play. Be careful if you have a rabbit that is constantly chewing their cage…some rabbits can develop dental problems if the incisors become misaligned from chewing.
Instead of a cage that may feel more like a jail, why not consider housing your rabbit in a pen? These are much better for the bunny and much easier for the human caretaker to keep clean. If you are concerned about your carpet, you can get a scrap piece of linoleum to put down over your carpet to protect it. Make sure the linoleum is larger than the pen by at least 6 inches. Then you can get some COTTON rubber backed bathroom carpets to put inside the pen for traction for the bunny. With a pen you’ll have plenty of room for a litter box, heavy water and food crocks that your rabbit won’t throw around, a hiding box, and plenty of toys. I like the kind with doors that open so when I come home from work, I can let my bunny out to play in a room that has been rabbit proofed (no access to electrical cords, etc.). You can easily train your rabbit to return to his pen area when it’s time for bed by offering him a treat such as a raisin or piece of papaya. Most bunnies will learn their names quickly, and will respond when you call them, especially if they think they’ll get a treat. The rewards you receive from watching your bunny explore and entertain you by running laps or doing binkies from one end of the room to the other will be worth the effort.
As always, make sure to give your rabbit plenty of fresh water every day, and make sure there is a large amount of fresh hay for your rabbit to nibble on 24/7.