Rabbits may seem relatively laid-back, but they need sufficient stimulation for their emotional wellbeing and for health. It naturally follows that an owner should provide, or at least enable, entertainment and regularly throughout the day. But what do rabbits enjoy? How do you provide such enrichment? Here is what you need to know.
So, what do rabbits like to play with? Rabbits like to play with paper, cardboard, mirrors, tunnels, and any object that they can throw or manipulate. Rabbits like textures, natural colors, and gentle sounds, so they enjoy toys with a little bell or baby rattles as they are not too loud.
Rabbits like to play with toys.
While these “toys” may not be the kind that cats and dogs play with, they do make excellent playthings for rabbits nonetheless.
Rabbits undoubtedly have their way of doing things, and this extends to recreation.
Their toys must encourage natural behaviors, and rabbits enjoy gnawing, pushing, digging, tossing, and rearranging objects.
So, it stands to reason that their toys must involve these activities too!
At least to be used and enjoyed, that is.
Like any creature, rabbits can get bored.
This can result in undesirable behaviors.
Being able to provide some mental stimulation into their lives is a fantastic way to support both their mental and physical wellbeing.
As a side note, many toys that are safe for parrots are safe for rabbits too. Primarily because they are designed to be pecked at, or in the case of rabbits, chewed.
Its imperative that any toy was not treated with chemicals or dangerous compounds (through paints or varnishes).
These will not do a rabbit any good at all if ingested.
Let us now take a closer look at what makes a rabbit truly happy, before taking a look at some specific toys.
We’ll also be covering some great games and whether you should get involved in play too.
So stick around, it could be the difference between a happy, healthy bunny, after all.
What Do Rabbits Do For Fun?
Rabbits derive a lot of enjoyment from satisfying their natural instincts; they have incredible noses that they use to explore the world around them. They constantly sniff for food and treats and love to chew; both of which bring them a lot of fun.
Rabbits are friendly and social creatures, needing a lot of interaction, whether human and/or rabbit to truly thrive.
This is why experts advise keeping rabbits in pairs or groups as they get lonely very quickly if they are alone.
Rabbits love physical contact in the form of cuddling and petting, it has a distressing effect and keeps them calm.
In fact, it can even make vet visits less traumatic.
Rabbits do a lot of digging and they love to do so. Besides, it’s normal behavior for them.
In the wild, digging helps rabbits escape from predators, and it keeps them warm, safe, and comfortable when they manage to burrow underneath the ground.
It’s also a great spot to have their babies, and they feel very protected there. The same can be said for tunnels too; they provide a sanctuary – at least momentarily!
And pet rabbits are no different, so you must accommodate this need in some way.
Bunnies will also like manipulating objects and finding out what they are; they are curious and inquesitive after all. They want to understand what it around them and this enables them to do so.
As such, they also enjoy pushing and tossing objects about.
Surprisingly, they seem to particularly like objects that make a little noise.
Of course, each rabbit is different, and they will enjoy doing different things.
Some rabbits like to be outdoors as much as possible, hopping and pouncing, while others prefer playing indoors.
Some enjoy playing with noisy toys, while others prefer chewing on cardboard, and so on.
What Sort Of Toys Do Rabbits Like To Play With?
Rabbits enjoy playing with toys that encourage gnawing, digging, hiding, chewing, and throwing. Any object that encourages these rabbit behaviors makes an excellent toy.
You must avoid objects and toys with small parts, as they can be a choking hazard, and at the same time ensure that their materials are non-toxic and smooth.
Let’s look at some examples of toys and objects that are ideal for rabbits:
- Paper – Shredded newspaper, old telephone directories, and brown bags without handles are ideal for rabbits. You can wrap your bunny’s favorite treats in a brown paper bag for them to unwrap.
- Cardboard – This is an excellent material for rabbits; we all have some in our homes. You can cut holes into boxes, and they make perfect hiding places for rabbits. You can stuff cardboard tubes with hay, and they also make great tunnels.
- Ceramic pipes – Ceramic pipes with a wide diameter make excellent tunnels for rabbits; equally, you can purchase commercial rabbit tunnels like this best-seller on Amazon.
- Mirrors – Mirrors can provide comfort to a single bunny, but they bring your rabbit’s curious side out as well.
- Objects for throwing/manipulating – Parrot toys, untreated straw, plastic flower pots, baskets, a light ball, baby rattles, stacking cups, etc., are great for pushing and throwing around. Be mindful to avoid toys with small parts that could be swallowed and always supervise their use.
- Wooden clothes pins – These make great chew toys, and you can soak them in juice for a tasty chew.
- Towels and blankets – Since rabbits like rearranging objects, they will undoubtedly enjoy rearranging these.
- Shallow sandboxes – Rabbits enjoy digging in dirt and sand, which creates an excellent digging opportunity.
As you can see, a lot of these items are cheap and affordable.
Whether you have them in your home already or not, you can easily get them for your bunny.
Otherwise, there are great options from pet stores and the likes of Amazon.
These natural wooden chew toys from Amazon, for instance, make for a great purchase. And they’re relatively inexpensive too!
What Games Do Rabbits Like To Play With?
Games that involve movement, jumping, and thought are most commonly enjoyed by rabbits. You can create many games with cardboard boxes, newspapers, and so forth.
Consider making an obstacle course for your bunny out of cardboard. You can then encourage them to go around the obstacle course by hiding treats in strategic places.
Rabbits like to sniff around for food, so try hiding food in different areas of the course, creating a game of “treasure hunt” that your bunnies must try to navigate!
Here are some other suggestions for games and activities:
- Most rabbits like jumping, so you might want to create a set of jumps.
- Rabbits like playing with balls, so roll a ball on the floor and watch them chase after it.
- Rabbits enjoy chasing each other and their owners, and it’s a great way to provide some time outdoors. If you have ample room outside your house, you can encourage them to chase after you as you call them. Just ensure the area is rabbit-safe, of course.
Regular exercise is essential for rabbits, but make sure you don’t overtire them.
A minimum of four hours a day is what experts recommend, and you can split this time into two exercise periods of about two hours each in the morning and evening.
Keep in mind their age, breed, and whether they are neutered or not.
Younger rabbits require more activity and are more likely to engage in destructive behavior if they are bored.
Do Rabbits Like To Play With Humans?
Many rabbits like to play with humans. Especially those that are familiar with their owners and have spent time in their care. This way, there will be a level of trust and a bond for a rabbit to truly relax in the experience.
If you are new to pet rabbit ownership, then it may take some time to establish trust and get your rabbit to actively want to play with you.
But they will learn to recognize you, and trust you, in time.
So long as you sufficiently care for them, of course.
At the same time, its essential to find out what your bunny likes and does not. Discovering a rabbits activity tolerance is also important not to exhaust them.
Some bunnies will prefer playing in the morning, others at night. So take note and follow accordingly.
It would be best if you tried to think like your rabbit; you need to try to see their world from their vantage point and understand their instinct to flee, freeze, or flight.
If your bunny becomes startled, they will not be having fun.
So, always remember your playtime together must be gentle.
Make sure that you let your rabbit know you are going to begin playtime and teach them a signal.
Your voice can be used here. Speak to your rabbit in a relaxed and calm way.
What you are trying to do is ensure that playtime is something fun and positive. And your rabbit is aware that this is what is about to happen.
Its taking away any surprise or fast transitions.
You must play on the ground so that you are at your pet’s level; it also eliminates the risk of falling and helps your rabbit feel more secure with you.
Choose a floor area with lots of space and remove anything that could be hazardous to them.
Otherwise, you can consider getting a pen which can keep them in a confined and safe area.
Keep play sessions brief, only lasting ten to twenty minutes at a time.
And be sure to provide water and snack breaks too!
If your bunny needs a nap, allow that too, and don’t force them to keep playing.
Be mindful of the conditions – the temperature for instance can make a rabbit tire more quickly in the hot summer months.
You should also be open to your bunny – they may even invite you to play and initiate the activity.
Game One – Ball Rolling
If a toy or ball gets thrown your way, consider it an honor, and join in if you can!
Once you understand what your bunny is comfortable with, you can try to encourage them to play gentle games with you, like rolling a ball on the floor.
Sit a few feet away from your bunny and slowly roll the ball between your hands.
When your rabbit starts looking at you, you can try to roll the ball at him.
Your rabbit might move away or ignore the ball, but as long as they are not afraid, you can continue.
Keep doing this over a period of a few days to see how they respond each time.
It might take them a few weeks to realize that they should be pushing the ball back to you.
They need to learn the rules of the game!
Game Two – Casual Ride
Another potential playdate can even be a ride.
You can demonstrate your plan with a stuffed toy.
What you can do is put a blanket on the ground and put the toy on the blanket, take one end and pull it along the ground.
Show this example to your rabbit a few times, and when the blanket is empty, they might decide to hop on for a ride.
Game Three – Toy Toss
Your bunny may enjoy a simple toy toss.
The idea is to get some lightweight toys on the ground and see if they enjoy tossing them.
If they do, you can get involved by returning the toys back at their feet, like a game of fetch.
Anything can be a toy or a game for a rabbit.
They are curious and playful, after all.
That being said, they do frighten easily, so playtime should always be gentle, calm and they should know beforehand when play is due to commence.
Remember, you want playtime to be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for your rabbit; this will increase your chances of being able to play again in the future, build your trust, and will ensure play gives your rabbit the intended benefits.
The more you can promote natural behaviors in toy and in play, the better.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.