In many instances, rabbits kept in hutches, pet stores, or laboratories do not receive enough stimulation or physical space to demonstrate their full behavioral repertoire and end up living very boring lives. Owners of house rabbits know that rabbits are intelligent creatures with distinct personalities and a range of behaviors. Few bunnies conform to the stereotypical “cute and cuddly” or passive and timid expectations that many people have of rabbits. Thinking of acquiring a pet rabbit? Explore some common questions related to house rabbit behavior.
My rabbit wants to chew — on everything! Is this normal?
Chewing is a normal rabbit behavior. “Bunny proofing” your home is necessary to prevent destruction of property and to protect your house rabbit from harm. Cover all wires with heavy duty cord covers (double or even triple layers) or, better yet, block access to wires and phone cords altogether.
Provide your bunny with safe, fun chewing alternatives to keep her occupied and relieve boredom. Be aware that pet store purchased toys like little blocks of wood and carrot shaped toss toys are seldom of interest to bunnies. Try untreated baskets or cardboard boxes (with tape and labels removed). Buns love the resistance that walls and carpets provide, so try mounting a piece of unfinished pine board to the side of bunny’s cage as a safe chewing object.
What about digging?
Digging is another normal behavior that makes “bunny proofing” very necessary. In fact, the scientific name of the domestic rabbit is Oryctolagus cuniculus, which translates as “hare-like digger of underground passages.” Provide safe and fun digging alternatives like a cardboard box (with tape and labels removed) filled with shredded newspaper, old white-pages phone books (with slick covers removed), or unfinished (no paints or stains) grass mats. Seagrass mats can commonly be found in housewares stores. These items are safe and options to help your bun meet his or her instinctive need to dig.
Adapted from information provided by LafeberVet.com