Because many rabbit owners keep their pets locked in small cages, they miss out on much of the joy that house bunny owners experience daily. One aspect of rabbits is that they enjoy playing with toys.
When bunnies are allowed to live in a room or even a large exercise pen, they become more outgoing and playful. When given some noise-making toy, such as plastic keys on a ring, they happily toss them one way and then another. I had one long-eared companion named Mark who liked to push a cylindrical rattle around his pen. Gideon, my first true house rabbit, loved picking up cardboard tubes from paper towels and letting them drop to the floor.
In a sense, cardboard box houses with doors at either end become a plaything for rabbits. Not only does such a simple toy give them the satisfaction of enlarging the doorways but they feel a measure of safety while lying inside them. When a old phone book with the covers removed is placed inside, bunnies have a wonderful time shredding them. I’ve spent many mornings listening to Deborah, my current house rabbit, joyously ripping paper in her cardboard hideaway.
The best thing about toys for rabbits is that they can be made at home or bought cheaply from thrift shops. With a little imagination, anybody can make playthings which will keep bunnies occupied. After all, they need mental stimulation. If they aren’t provided with toys, they’re more likely to get into mischief.
One toy I invented for rabbits is the CD top. I took a ruined CD-R and sanded off the aluminum coating. Then I flattened a toilet paper tube and rolled it into a spindle. Next, I put the spindled tube through the hole in the centre of the CD-R. Not only does this simple object give rabbits something to toss but it rocks back and forth. That adds to the rabbit’s fun.
I wrote about these and other bunny distractions in When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living With Bunnies. It’s available through the Bruce Atchison’s books page. I briefly mentioned my rabbits in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Amazon and Barnes & Noble distribute the e-book edition while Virtual Bookworm Publishers stock the paperback version.