Rabbit behaviour

Rabbit behaviour

In this section we’ll look at:

  • The ideal approach to your rabbits’ behaviour
  • Preventing boredom
  • Research
The ideal approach to your rabbits behaviour

The ideal approach to your rabbits’ behaviour

Give your rabbit a lot of space and a variety of things to do so they don’t get bored. In their living space they should be able to dig, run and play every day. So give them planters filled with potting compost for digging, large diameter tubes for running through and cardboard boxes for exploring.

Ensure they have the company of another rabbit for companionship and play.

Handle your rabbits regularly from a young age – especially in the in the first month after they’re born – so they are used to being handled as adults. 

Rabbits can be trained to understand commands and to use a litter tray – they are more intelligent than many people believe.

Preventing boredom

Preventing boredom

How to prevent bunny boredom

Give your rabbits a large hutch and run so they can get lots of exercise. Read more on Creating a suitable environment for your rabbits. 

Add some toys, platforms to climb onto – and safe, untreated logs for your rabbits to explore. Give them a plastic tube or a cardboard box: as well as being something new to discover, they make ideal hiding places as rabbits can get scared easily. Most items are available from pet shops and pet supermarkets.

Give them variety. Keep some toys stored away: use different ones each week. This helps keep toys interesting for your rabbit – and also gives you a chance to clean them.

Rabbits find digging irresistible. So give them a planter filled with potting compost – it saves your grass from becoming a haven for holes! Ensure their run is sunk into the ground about 40cm, so they can’t burrow out and escape.

Train your rabbit to use a litter tray. Put some of their droppings in it. Offer a food reward, e.g. a small, natural rabbit treat, each time your rabbit jumps into the tray and uses it. Use a non-clumping, non-toxic litter.
Research

Research

The PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report

Since 2011 we’ve surveyed over 53,000 pet owners, veterinary professionals and children, giving us a huge insight into the wellbeing of pets in the UK.
Here are the findings for rabbits and their behaviour:

Overview

Not enough rabbits are getting the mental stimulation they need on a daily basis. This can be improved in three simple ways: the companionship from another rabbit; positive contact with their owner; and having suitable toys and objects for them to hide in and interact with. 

You can read our full PAW Report here

Key findings from our most recent report:

Happier rabbits – there have been significant increases in the number of rabbits playing with toys and family members on a daily basis.

  • 55% of rabbits play with toys on a daily basis; this is a significant increase from 38% in 2011
  • 2% of rabbits – approximately 24,000 – aren’t given the opportunity to exercise daily
  • 40% of rabbits – a reduction from 49% in 2011 – have never been given the opportunity to dig, which is an important natural behaviour

Improve one thing today...Let them run and play. Give them a large exercise run with items they can explore and interact with: tunnels for hiding in, compost-filled planters for digging, cardboard boxes to investigate. Change the items regularly to keep your rabbit interested.


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