Bunny Boredom Busters: How To Keep Your Bunny’s Brain Busy!

You’ve had your rabbit for a while and perhaps the novelty is starting to wear off. Does it seem like bunny is resting comfortably when you leave in the morning and is still right where you left him when you return home? If you’re beginning to think your bunny is a boring pet, you couldn’t be more wrong – bunny just needs something to do while you’re away!

I call these things boredom busters. Rabbits need mental stimulation during those long daytime hours, in addition to getting several hours daily exercise outside their enclosures. Being crepuscular creatures, bunnies are most active at dawn and dusk, and by nature tend to rest during the long day- and nighttime hours. These are the times bunny might enjoy some additional mental stimulation – especially if yours is a solo bun.

Toys – things to shred, chew, gnaw on or eat – are great boredom busters. The trick is to remember to rotate toys so they seem new again to bunny and not to deluge bunny with too many toys at once. Many specialty websites, like BusyBunny.com and BinkyBunny.com, have a wonderful selection of rabbit toys from which to choose. But luckily, boredom busters don’t have to break the bank. Many of my bunnies’ favourites I make out of things I find lying around the house or around town, or that I buy cheaply at my local grocery, hardware, craft or dollar stores.

Some basic boredom busters for bunny to chew on or toss around are: dried pine cones (watch for sharp points & sap); a small straw hand broom; untreated wooden curtain rings (remove any metal hooks first); willow branches (fresh or hand-twisted into small wreaths); untreated, unstained bamboo, jute, wicker & seagrass baskets, plate holders, placemats, table runners or doormats; small clean yogurt cups or lids and hard plastic bottle caps. Some bunnies like super balls, ping pong balls, wicker balls or cat jingles to fling about or chase. Or try buying some undyed, untreated sisal twine at your local craft/hardware store to make your own small loops as chew toys. Twist the twine about itself in a small circle or figure 8 shape and bunny’s fun can begin (make certain that any loops are smaller than bunny’s head size.)

Depending on where you reside, don’t forget about natural growing tree branches and grasses, assuming these are rabbit safe and unsprayed/untreated. Apple tree twigs are favourites with bunnies as are green and dried willow and aspen tree branches. Pine firewood can also be given to gnaw on.

Plastic baby toys can also entertain a bored bunny – try plastic keys or small rattles for bunny to fling about. A plastic slinky may also serve this purpose. Hard plastic caps from drink or juice bottles are also fun to fling around or, stack them on top of each other so bunny can knock them down.

Munchable flooring options for bunny’s abode can include untreated, unstained bamboo window shades found at discount retailers (remove all metal parts & any long, string cords first) and plain seagrass placemats, runners or doormats. Large, flat, thin, clean pieces of cardboard are given away free at warehouse stores and can be used to line wire cage bottoms, while also doubling as bunny’s shredding material. Sections of phonebooks (most are printed with soy ink now) become excellent shredding toys and will keep bunny busy ripping pages for a long while!

Let’s not forget about cardboard boxes of various sizes out of which you can cut windows – or you can allow bunny to custom design his/her own! These are found free at large warehouse stores or sometimes at your local grocery store. Make certain the boxes are clean and avoid detergent/cleaning product cartons in case a toxic residue is present which might make bunny ill if inhaled or ingested. I collect boxes of different sizes & shapes to use as hay boxes for my own bunnies. One can be very creative carving/cutting out small windows to allow bunny access to their hay with minimal mess. Cutting a hole big enough for bunny’s head to get at the hay is key, but too large a hole means bunny will hop inside the haybox!

Lastly, I leave you with two easy “boredom buster” games to construct at home which have brought hours of delight to my bunnies! Take a clean, empty, paper egg carton and cut three double rows off the end so they will still close securely. Place a small treat which your bunny loves – maybe a small piece of dried/fresh fruit or an almond sliver or a banana slice or a fresh herb/green – inside the egg indentations & secure the lid again tightly. Bunny can smell the treat inside and must devise a way to open the carton to eat it! This may take a while to achieve, but a determined bunny will succeed in the end.

Similar is the idea of a round, plastic grape tomato holder with a three inch diameter round opening at the top. The opening is too small for bun’s head to fit inside to get directly at the treat, but big enough for the treat to fall out if bunny flings it about long enough. Drop a favorite healthy treat inside and watch bunny attempt to extricate it. My bunnies never tire of playing this game and are always rewarded with a treat for their efforts. A small, clean yogurt cup & lid with a hole cut into it can serve the same purpose.

Last, but not least: the easiest & cheapest boredom buster of all! A friend of mine likes to leave the radio playing softly in the background while she is away during the daytime and swears listening to music helps her bunny pass the day happily. My suggestion is not to play anything too loud and to stick with easy listening or classical music that won’t frighten bunny.

So, no more excuses! Start making your bunny some boredom busters today and remember to rotate them regularly! Wishing you and your rabbits loads of fun with these edible, chewable, shreddable, tossable and listenable boredom-busting ideas.

Written By: The Bunderful Iris – Guest Blogger

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39 Responses to Bunny Boredom Busters: How To Keep Your Bunny’s Brain Busy!

  1. becca says:

    old clean towels are good too. i have a few laying under my kitchen chairs and my bun goes crazy digging at them, rolling around on them and wriggling under them. also cardboard boxes and tubes are a favorite 🙂

    • Iris says:

      Old towels are a great idea, just watch for rabbits that like to chew holes in them and/or eat them. Same danger of GI blockage as with ingesting too much cardboard, paper.

  2. gau says:

    bought them a wicker ball from overseas (we dont have much rabbit safe toy at the end of my village) didnt last one night… thanks for the ideas, this would help a lot 🙂

  3. LIV says:

    My bunny loves paper tubes with frilly cut ends she likes to toss them around and chew off the strips.

    • Iris says:

      yes, cutting 2 inch parallel slices all the way around the end of a toilet paper rolls (lengthwise) & then pushing them up & out is a great bunny toy. Stuff the remaining middle section with hay or a treat & watch bunny go wild.

  4. Stephen says:

    Our Rabbits were given their own 300 sqft room, we removed the door and used a door gate that prevented free roaming while we were away from home. We experimented with quite a few items over our 8 years together. These are items that became staples for stimulation:
    Cardboard boxes any kind or size except ones that were used for transport of animal products. Cut in and out exits slightly smaller so squeeze was required.The slight rough edge helped groom excess Hare.Some had windows, draw bridges(flaps) and never any sunroofs.Sturdy boxes meant a King or Queen could lay watch over their domain.Boxes are easily moved of course, so almost every evening we would make some kind of surrounding change.(my gosh). If there is any better cardboard recycle machine than a rabbit I have yet to see it.Hours of scratching, and making the tight squeeze a better fit with engineer like precision, plus the ability to absorb accidents, and multiple hiddie spots when chase was required. I miss them so much:(

    • Iris says:

      Perhaps you can again have rabbits join your family in the future. I can’t imagine living without a few rabbits anymore!

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  8. Jordan says:

    Great advice very helpful as I write this my partner is all ova the house finding toys for our very gorgeous baby bunny. And they r a hit boxs,boxs,boxs everywhere she loves it. Thanks

  9. Lupie says:

    thanks for the tips. I’m looking after my friends bunny and trying to get more entertainment for the cute bunny

  10. Pat says:

    We unfortunately lost our dear friend recently. We had him for years. We found a sweet bunny at a shelter and fell in love with. He is so loving and sweet but we’re frustrated with finding him toys he likes. We tried everything our “Cookie” loved but “Buddy” has shown little or no interest. We’ve tried, boxes, paper tubes (including filling them with hay and treets), paper bags, balls, ropes, mats, old rags, store bought toys, baby rattles, everything I can think to make. The only thing he enjoys is the masonry tube we got at Home Depot. I’ve been trying to introduce him to toys randomly so not to overwhelm him. I’m open for any suggestions. Any ideas?

    • Marnie says:

      Firstly, sorry for your loss. I know how difficult it can be. We lost our 7.5 year old “Buddy” a year ago and it is still very painful. It sounds like you’ve tried just about every toy! Does Buddy have any wood to chew on or hide in? They have some amazing “bunny safe” wood houses to add to his space. They can chew, climb on and hide in :). My all time favourite bunny toy is….recycled brown paper. Crumple up a very large piece, 4 x 3 piece (or whatever you can find) and watch in amazement!!!! My Zeusy loves to hide under the paper, in all the spaces. He loves moving it around. Just be careful not to step on the paper!!! They love to hide “inside”. You can find the brown paper at art stores. Good luck & have fun!!!

    • april says:

      Have you tried what I call stacky cups? They are usually 8 of them, different colors and all sit inside one another, like nesting dolls. My kids have all loved them. They toss them, search for treats stashed in-between cups….they are great and fairly inexpensive.
      Sorry for your loss…I just loss my Furrgus July 1st….

      • Iris says:

        Yes, stacky cups are an excellent toy for rabbits. Look for them in the baby/toddler section of your favorite toy store or online at amazon.com

    • Iris says:

      Each rabbit is different and no two are exactly alike. See the toy/edible treat suggestions at this link for Buddy: https://www.pinterest.com/rabbitfriendly/bunny-treats-toys/

    • Fern says:

      Maybe your bunny is lonely. Bunnies are highly social creatures. Have you tried getting a second bunny from the shelter?

  11. Leo Sigh says:

    I’ve had rabbits for years, and I’m still looking for ways to keep them amused as they get bored so easily and start eating my furniture 🙂

    Thanks for this. I found a couple of ideas I hadn’t thought about, and will definitely be trying them out. Oh, and I watch your YouTube channel all the time. LOVE it.

  12. Emily says:

    My rabbits LOVE cards I just took some unfinished decks and they absolutely love them

  13. Stephanie says:

    Hello. I’ve had my bun for 8 months now. I just got her spayed. So far, so good. 🙂
    I’ve been giving her cardboard to play with, she throws it around, chews it, and it seems like she’s eating it also. Is that normal? We built her a little playhouse with cardboard and she really seems to be enjoying that! Thank you.

    • Iris says:

      Yes, some rabbits will chew on and ingest the cardboard. If it is only a little bit, I wouldn’t worry, but if you see her eating lots of cardboard, it isn’t so good as there is a risk of GI blockage if too much paper is ingested. Also, try to find plain cardboard boxes that are not colored as the colored ink may not be so good for bunnies to ingest. Also, stay away from any boxes that held meat products or cleaning products due to risk of illness.

      • Nick says:

        Ours died from eating cardboard. Apparently smaller and you get bunnies are suscepible because of their small GI tract.

  14. Trinket's Mom says:

    My bunnehs LOVE to play with and chew on untreated wooden clothespins! One of their very favorites. It’s fun for them and helps keep their teeth in check.

  15. BunnyLover says:

    My bunny has some cat toys and chases them around like nuts. Could you send me the picture of your DIY toys?

  16. Person says:

    My bunny eats cardboard we put as tunnels is that okay?

    • Iris says:

      Probably not so good if he eats/ingests a lot of cardboard. Too much could contribute to a GI blockage. Also, some coloured boxes have ink I wouldn’t want my rabbit ingesting. A little bit of paper won’t hurt from time to time.

  17. Sonja Johnson says:

    I like to buy unused egg cartons at a local feed store or tractor supply. You can buy individual egg cartons for around 50 cents. Although some stores only sell egg cartons in bulk.

  18. Ernesto Rivas says:

    Great advice I always worry if our bunnies get bored. Thanks!!!

  19. Shannon says:

    My buns loves paper bags. He hides in them, digs and shreds them. He never seems to get bored from moving them around.

  20. Ashlea says:

    Is it a good idea to put a towel in the rabbits cage for them to lay on and scratch?

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  22. Andee says:

    This is fantastic information! Thank you for the great article! I just set up a bunny palace for our cuties and they are loving it! I put in a cardboard floor b u to was a little concerned. I’m much more confident I’m doing right by my bunnies after reading your article.

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