Is your rabbit bored?

Did you know rabbits can get bored very easily? Could your rabbits be bored? How can you tell? Here we help identify boredom in bunnies and what can be done to prevent it.

Many times we hear people say “Why do you have rabbits? They don’t do anything!” Not only is that a very silly thing to say, it is so far from the truth and it annoys us greatly! Rabbits do loads! But if they are kept in a small hutch with nothing to do, then what do you expect?

Rabbits are just like dogs and cats in so many ways. Rabbits need company, toys, exercise and they need a safe, comfortable home that caters for all their needs. Rabbits also need space & lots of it to be happy!

If your rabbit is showing signs of boredom it is an indication that you need to take steps to enrich your rabbit’s environment and increase their daily exercise and stimulation.

Most rabbits love to investigate, they love a project and they are happiest when their minds are kept active. But all rabbits are different and they all have their own personalities, so their likes and dislikes will differ.

Some rabbits love to investigate new items and new areas & play with toys, yet other rabbits will show no interest at all in toys & some are not very confident in investigating new areas. Some rabbits will love to run around and will have so much energy to use up and others are happy to hop around at a much slower pace and sit and watch the world go by.

But all rabbits can get bored and they will show it in different ways. Boredom in rabbits can cause many health problems and can also cause destructive behaviour, even aggression.

So how do you know if your rabbit is bored?

It can be very difficult to tell what our rabbits are feeling, as with any animal, but if you pay close attention then you will find they do have their own way of communicating with us and you will be able to sense how they are feeling. Your rabbit should be displaying natural behaviour on a daily basis in many different ways and you should come to recognise what this behaviour is and that it shows your rabbit is happy.

One very common sign of rabbits being bored is when they are constantly gnawing at the door or wire to their home to get out. Also chewing on inappropriate items constantly can be a sign or not showing an interest in what is going on around them.

How to prevent your rabbit becoming bored

One thing you need to do to prevent boredom is to spend time with your rabbits. Company is very important to rabbits as they are very sociable animals. It is best they get their company from another rabbit as they do so much together and it is so lovely to see, but they need company from you too!

Watch how they watch you. Sit on the floor and see how they come over and climb on you and smell you. Talk to them and watch their ears move. Fuss them with lots of head rubs and head massages. Place new items on the floor and watch them rush over to investigate it and scent it with their chin.

Get to know their personality & routine

The best thing you can do is get to know your rabbit and their personality & that way you will know what their likes and dislikes are.

If you don’t know their personality or daily routine then it will be very difficult for you to know if your rabbit is bored or not.

Rabbits do slow down during the day and take lots of naps, so don’t mistake this for them being bored. This is natural behaviour but morning and evenings are a very different story as that is when rabbits become most active.  But we are not just talking about an hour or two in the morning and again in the evening. Many rabbits will be active from about 4-5am right through until 10-11am and then from about 4pm right through to 12-1am and this is when they will be looking for things to do to keep them occupied.

Create the right environment in their home!

Provide a great home that is spacious and has different areas with different things to do in each and you will have a very happy bunny! For instance…

A feeding area – but we are not talking about a bowl or two placed on a mat – we are talking about an area that has hay racks packed full of different hay types and food that is scattered about and not placed in one place. Try placing their food on different levels and also amongst their hay too, to encourage foraging.

A toilet area – not just a litter tray but a tray packed with hay. Place a hay rack right next to their litter trays too. Rabbits love to graze while on the loo and this gives them something to do.

A play area – Create an area inside their home that has lots of toys. Don’t just place the toys loose on the floor, hang some up too so they have to stretch to reach them. Rabbits tend to enjoy chewing things that are attached to something so they can get more of a grip.

A sleeping area – make it nice and cosy for them but make sure you place lots of fresh eating hay and dried herbs in here too as they love to graze in-between naps and this will help to keep them occupied while nodding off. A chew toy in here is a great idea too.

Create different levels within their home for them to jump about on and create places to look outside to, as they love watching the world go by. Provide chew mats, throw toys & tunnels & hideouts too.

The more natural you create the area the more this will encourage natural behaviour and that will make rabbits very happy indeed and keep boredom at bay!

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