You’ve picked out the perfect bunny cage and maybe a cute name for your new pet, but you want to make sure your rabbit’s new home is ready for their arrival. Once you have all of your cage accessories and supplies ready, it’s time to setup your bunny’s cage. Here’s everything you need to know about how to setup your rabbit’s cage.
How to Set up a Rabbit Cage
Select the Perfect Bunny Cage
When shopping for a rabbit cage, there are a few important factors to consider. Keep these facts in mind:
Cage size should be 4 to 6 times the size of your rabbit and tall enough they can stand on their hind legs
Should have solid floors or you need a plan to cover wire floors to prevent sores on your rabbit’s feet
Needs a door your rabbit can hop in and out of for exercise time
Should have adequate ventilation to prevent overheating
Often the rabbit cages sold in pet stores are way too small for a rabbit to live in long turn. We usually recommend building a bunny condo (like pictured above) or using an exercise pen as a cage. If you haven’t bought a cage for your rabbit yet, check out our recommendations for the best indoor rabbit cages.
Must Have Rabbit Cage Accessories
If you haven’t already, it’s time to go shopping for rabbit cage accessories. These are the must have items for your rabbit’s cage:
The placement of a rabbit cage in your home is as important as the cage you select. Your rabbit’s cage must be set up in your house, not outside. Rabbits need to be in an indoor space where temperature can be controlled (so they don’t get too hot or too cold) and they are safe from predators.
When selecting a room for your rabbit’s cage, you should pick an area in the home where people often are, usually a kitchen, living room, or other main room works well for this. This allows your rabbit to be more a part of the family, especially if they spend most of their time in their cage. Rabbits are social animals, so in addition to out of cage playtime, it’s good for them to be able to see and hear their family members as they go about their day-to-day lives.
Since rabbits are messy animals that require daily clean-up and tidying around and inside their cages, that may influence your decision on what room works best. Sweeping a hard floor like tile or wood is often easier than lugging out the vacuum, which is why many families have their rabbit cages in the kitchen.
Arranging a Rabbit’s Cage
Once you have your cage and accessories, it’s time to set everything up. If your rabbit is new to your family, actually setting up all their accessories will be a little bit trickier as you aren’t familiar with them or their habits. You’ll have to make a guess at where to put each item.
If your rabbit’s cage has a wire floor, you will need to provide them solid surfaces to rest their feet on and prevent sores. This can be done with large tiles, cardboard, grass mats, or towels. Just keep an eye on your bunny and if they start eating any materials that are dangerous for them. If you’re using a pen or cage on a hard floor, you may want to use a cheap rug, cardboard, or newspaper to give them better traction. Rabbits often slip and slide on floors like hardwood or tile.
Litter Box – This is usually the first thing I start with. Litter-trained rabbits are very set in their habits and they usually have one corner of the cage that they prefer to use as their bathroom. If you know which corner that is, put the litter box there, otherwise take a guess.
Hay Rack – Most rabbits like to eat while they’re in the litter box, so it makes sense to reduce mess by hanging the hay rack over their litter box. Some owners forego the hay rack completely, and just put the hay directly in the litter box.
Food and Water Bowls – For cleanliness purposes, I will usually put these on the opposite end of the cage from their litter box and hay. It helps to keep the water cleaner. If you don’t use bowls that bolt to the side of the cage, your rabbit may move them around throughout the day anyway.
House/Hutch – This is probably the largest “accessory” in your cage, but it’s an important one since it gives your rabbit a safe space to go to sleep or de-stress. Put it in an empty corner away from their food and litter box.
Toys – Toys can go anywhere! And unless they’re hanging toys, your rabbits will probably move them all over the cage.
You may think you’ve designed the perfect cage setup, but your rabbits might have other ideas. Bunnies love to redecorate and rearrange their cage. Sometimes it’s out of boredom, so adding more rabbit safe toys can give them something else to do. But if you notice they keep dragging their food bowl to the same corner or peeing on the opposite end of the cage from their litter box, you’re not going to be able to change their opinion. Instead, it’s better to rearrange the cage to match their habits and preferences.
Having a pet bunny is often a joy, but one of the biggest challenges is curtailing a rabbit’s natural chewing instinct. With house rabbits, your beloved furniture, carpet, and your baseboards can become a target of their destructive energy. Plus, chewing the wrong things (like toxic wood or electrical wires) can be dangerous for your beloved bun. Rabbits can’t be trained out of this behavior, but there’s plenty of different options to try to protect your home and pet.
Why do Rabbits Chew?
A bunny’s teeth are always growing, so they have a natural instinct to chew and help grind them down. The act of eating pellets and hay helps wear down their teeth some, but rabbits need more chewing outlets to help keep their teeth and chewing urge in check.
In addition to their natural instincts, rabbits frequently chew because they are bored. Like all pets, they need plenty of interaction and mental stimulation to keep them healthy and happy. If they’re alone most of the day or lack external stimulation (toys, playtime), that unused energy manifests in destructive ways. If you have a solo rabbit, some of that boredom can be alleviated by getting a second bunny to keep them company.
How to Stop a Rabbit from Chewing?
There are many techniques to try to prevent your bunny from chewing on furniture, wires, and other dangerous household items. You may need to use multiple techniques at once to keep your bun safe and your home undamaged.
Rabbit Proof Your Home
The first step is to make sure your home is “rabbit-proof.” Any area your rabbit has access to–whether they are free-range or hang out in a room for playtime–needs to be set up to protect your bun and your belongings. Dangerous items like electrical cables need to be out of reach or protected with a chew proof cord cover.
Block access to anything else that might tempt your bun. If furniture legs or baseboards seem like a tasty chew toy, use NIC cubes to build a fence to block access. You can use untreated pine boards fastened over baseboards or around the bottom of furniture to give a safe chewing alternative.
Rabbits should have unlimited fresh hay available at all times. This not only allows them to graze as they need to throughout the day but gives them something to chew on. A rabbit will eat more than their weight in hay a day, so you can never offer them too much. If it seems like your rabbit is uninterested in the hay you offer, check it for freshness or consider offering another variety. Timothy hay is the most common option. (Check out the best hay for pet rabbits for more healthy hay ideas.)
Combined hay with enrichment by using it to create DIY toilet paper toys to help harness their distructive energy in a positive way.
Provide Plenty of Toys
Rabbits need toys to provide mental stimulation and a positive outlet for their chewing urges. Boredom will cause your rabbit to seek out their own activities, like digging your carpet or chewing on your china hutch. A variety of toy types will keep them engaged and stave off boredom. Toys made from rabbit safe wood and shreddable materials will offer a fun chewing alternative. Cardboard boxes and phone books are a cheap source of destructive fun for your rabbits.
If your bunny isn’t fixed, make that one of your first priorities. It will not only help to lessen their chewing (unaltered rabbits chew more than altered buns) but improve their overall health. Female rabbits have a high chance of developing uterine cancer if they aren’t spayed. Plus spaying and neutering help with litter training your rabbits.
Rabbits don’t understand the word “no.” If you want to try to train them away from chewing on your furniture, try a little positive reinforcement. Once you know what type of feedback your rabbit likes most (treats, petting, verbal praise), use that anytime your rabbit is chewing on appropriate items like their toys or wooden houses. They will begin to associate that activity with the positive feedback and understand that it is good.
Use Chewing Deterrants
I’ve never had luck with this, but I offer it because some rabbit owners said it worked for them. Use a chewing deterrent spray to make your rabbit’s favorite chew spots unappealing. The most popular one is bitter apple spray. It’s supposed to taste nasty and thus deter your rabbits from chewing the item.
Test it out first on one item they like to chew and see what their reaction is. Some rabbits actually like the taste while others find it to be bitter, so make sure you know it works before you spray it around your house. You will need to apply it frequently to keep the deterrent going.
If you’re considering adding a rabbit to your family or researching bunnies as pets there is a lot of supplies they need you might now expect. In addition to picking out a rabbit (or two) to adopt, and selecting the perfect bunny name, you will need to buy a lot of supplies before you bring your new pet home. We’ve compiled this list to make it easy to see what you’ll need for your pet rabbit and whether they’ll fit into your budget.
Use this checklist as a guide. If there are any supplies or rabbit accessories you’re missing, click the link to see our bunny-safe product recommendations.
Note: Adding rabbits to your family is not a cheap endeavor. In addition to the recurring costs of fresh food, annual vet appointments, all of these supplies can really add up. If you cannot afford to buy all of these items before you bring home a pet bunny, you cannot afford to have a rabbit. If you’re still considering whether rabbits are the right pet for you, take a look at this list and add up the costs for each item.
Rabbit New Owner Checklist
Must Have Bunny Supplies
These are the things you need to have ready to go the day you bring your new rabbit(s) home. If you don’t have these basic bunny supplies, you aren’t ready for your new pet.
Playpen – to create a rabbit safe space for out of cage time
Brush (To remove shedding hair and prevent hairballs)
Pet Sitter Phone Number
Broom and Dust Pan – for sweeping up scattered hay, pellets, and poo
Vacuum – Handheld or shop vac helps for quick cleaning
Free Printable: New Owner Checklist
Download and print this free checklist to take with you to the pet store. Easily check off each rabbit supply as you buy it and keep track of what you need. (Right click “Save Link As” to download to your computer.)
Cage accessories are a very important part of your rabbit’s health and happiness. A rabbit in a barren cage with the minimum supplies and accessories will be bored, stressed, and unhealthy. Instead you can turn their rabbit cage or enclosure into a comfy and happy home with the right accessories. This article covers all of the essential rabbit cage accessories and supplies you need to meet all of your rabbit’s needs. You can use this page as a guide or checklist for all of the things you need to buy for a new pet rabbit or check out our printable rabbit supply checklist.
Rabbit Cage Accessories
This article is divided into different categories for the different types of bunny cage accessories. Bunny care essentials are accessories that are necessary for basic rabbit care like eating. Furniture means things you rabbit will sleep on or under, climb on, or otherwise enjoy. And, of course, rabbit toys and fun is all of the things that keep your rabbit happy and entertained in their cage or enclosure.
Rabbit Care Essentials
Timothy hay based pellets are an important part of a rabbit’s diet, and the easiest way to serve them to your bun is with a food dish. Stainless steel coops and ceramic crocks are popular among most owners because they’re easy to clean and toss in the dishwasher. Check out some of our favorite food dishes.
Water Bottles or Crocks
Hydration is important for a bunny’s health, and most owners and vets feel that a water crock or bowl is the best option for rabbits. A water bowl will allow rabbits to drink in the most natural way. But some rabbits refused to use water bowls, so a water bottle would be your best option. Many owners offer both, with the water bottle available as a backup in case the water crock is tipped over or dirty. Check out our favorite water bowls for rabbits
Timothy hay makes up the biggest part of a rabbit’s diet. While you can just toss some on the floor or add them to your rabbit’s litter box, many owners prefer to use hay racks or boxes to keep the hay clean.
An essential part of your rabbit’s cage is a place for them to go to the bathroom. While some owners opt for bedding to line the entire floor of their rabbit’s cage, most owners find litter training with a litter box to be the best option.
You will need at least one litter box for your rabbit’s cage (maybe more if you have multiple rabbits) plus litter boxes for any area your rabbit plays. If you have a free-roam bunny, you will need litter boxes throughout your house to make it easy for them to go to the bathroom. There aren’t a lot of requirements for rabbit litter boxes. Plastic litter pans (often sold in the cat section of the pet store) are cheap and come in large enough sizes for multiple rabbits or to give your bun space to lay down and relax. Make sure you select a rabbit-safe litter to use that is absorbent and reduces odor.
Check out our article on Rabbit Litter and Bunny Litter Boxes to learn about the safest rabbit litter option and see recommended litter boxes for all types of rabbits and litter training issues.
Houses & Hideouts
Since rabbits are prey animals, they need a safe space to go where they can feel protected. This is good for when they feel scared or just need some alone time away from other bunnies or people. At a minimum, there should be one hideout inside the bun’s cage/pen and one (or more) in their playpen or play space where they have out of cage time.
You don’t have to spend big money to provide your bunny with a hideout. Use a recycled cardboard box (just cut doorways and windows) that can be easily replaced whenever your bunny chews it up. If you want something a little more sturdy, check out some of our favorite rabbit hideouts and houses.
Rabbit Toys and Fun
Toys help stave off boredom and also give your rabbits something to chew to help them wear down their teeth. You should provide a variety of rabbit safe toys.
Whether your rabbit lives in a cage, exercise pen, or is free range in your bunny-proofed home, they’re going to need a few hideouts. Because rabbits are prey animals, they have a need to have a safe, covered placed to hide if they’re feeling stressed or bothered by the rest of the family. Your bunnies need at a minimum one hideout in their cage/home and one hideout in their play space. If their play space is large, like a whole room or the whole house, you should provide multiple hideout options throughout. Make sure your rabbit(s) don’t have to go far if something suddenly scares or startles them.
Some cages have a wooden hutch built-in, which may be enough to meet their hideout needs within their cage. If you have multiple bunnies, it’s good to provide a separate hideout for each in their cage/home so they can get some alone time. Luckily there are tons of options for hideouts for your bunny, from free cardboard boxes to more durable wood hideouts. Check out some of our favorite ideas.
Best Rabbit Hideouts
DIY Cardboard Rabbit House
If you order a lot of things online, you inevitably end up with tons of cardboard boxes. Medium and large-sized boxes are perfect for making DIY hideouts for your bunnies. Use scissors or a box cutter to cut doorways and windows into the box. Your rabbit will help pitch in by “customizing” the house through chewing.
Because they’re so cheap and easy to make, a cardboard box house is perfect to provide plenty of hideouts during playtime. You can even combine multiple boxes together to create tunnels or elaborate bunny mansions. The only downside to a cardboard house is they are easy to destroy, so make sure to keep some extra boxes around to easily replace them. If you get frustrated with your bunny destroying a cardboard hideout too quickly, check out some more durable wood houses below.
Mini Haven Carboard Rabbit House
If you aren’t very creative and don’t want to make a DIY cardboard rabbit hideout, this two-story rabbit house from BinkyBunny is a great alternative. The precut cardboard pieces easily slide together to form a fun playhouse perfect for one or two rabbits.
If you want a cute hideout for your rabbit that’s more like a home, this cardboard bunny house is a fun option. Delivered flat and easy to assemble, the cardboard pieces let you construct a cute house with two entry doors and an upper-level balcony. This creates a safe place for your bun to sleep and hangout. The pointed roof and decorating “windows” makes it extra cute!
Give your rabbit their own cute little house to hang out in. This easy to assemble house is made in the USA by Tokihut from untreated baltic birch plywood. It ships flat, which lowers the cost, and can be put together without tools. Your bun will enjoy lounging inside or hopping up on the second level porch to survey the land.
If your rabbits already rule the house, then now they can be the king or queen of their own castle. Small Pet Select makes these awesome rabbit castles, and since they sell each piece separately, you can customize the hideouts for your rabbit’s needs and your budget. All pieces are made from untreated pine so it’s safe for your bun. Use just the tunnel as a hideout in your rabbit’s cage, or build out a sprawling estate in their play area.
Fresh vegetables are one of the most important parts of your rabbit’s diet. If you have a green thumb or enjoying gardening, you can grow food for your rabbit at home. By growing your own fruits and veggies for your bunny, you not only save money but also know that their food is organic and free of pesticides.
If you don’t have a yard or space for a traditional garden, many of these plants can easily be grown in containers on a porch, deck, or balcony. Some can even be grown indoors with enough light. While you could conceivably grow any fruit or veggie that’s healthy for your bun, this article focuses on easy to grow plants great for beginners or gardening newbies.
Veggies & Greens to Grow in Your Garden for Rabbits
Your rabbit’s diet should consist of 5-6 cups of vegetables each day (3/4 of which should be leafy greens and herbs). They can also have up to two tablespoons of fruit each day as a treat. Learn more about a healthy rabbit diet
If you’re limited on space, herbs are very easy to grow in containers or even inside. They’re also perfect for new gardeners or even kids to grow. Since they can be grown indoors, you can grow herbs year round for your rabbit. We recommend hydroponic garden systems to easily grow herbs in your kitchen.
Basil – Easy to grow in gardens, containers, or even indoors. Basil leaves are delicious for bunnies and humans alike. Rabbits can also eat the flowers the plant produces at the end of each season. Just pinch them off before they bloom to keep the basil growing and your bun can have them as a snack.
Cilantro – Another super easy to grow herb that is perfect for rabbits. Easily grow it in gardens, pots, or indoors. Make sure to sow new seeds every few weeks to have fresh cilantro all summer long.
Dill – Dill is frequently called dill weed because it grows like a weed. That’s why we recommend growing dill in containers since it can easily take over your garden. Your bun will enjoy the flavorful leaves. (Learn All About Growing Dill)
Mint – Mint is another herb that grows out of control, making it easy for even the worst gardener to grow. Do not plant mint directly in the ground, it will take over your garden and yard. Instead, plant it in a pot and enjoy delicious mint for yourself and your rabbit all summer long.
Parsley – Easy to grow and good for bunnies, parsley grows well in the garden or in pots. It’s also great to grow indoors year round. (High in oxalic acid, so should be limited to one type per day)
I find greens that don’t grow in heads are the easiest for new gardeners, especially because they can be harvested throughout the growing season. Many of these greens can be grown in containers and even indoors.
Arugula – Grow in your garden or even a container. Arugula is best grown in spring and fall. They like full sun or partial shade.
Clover – Found naturally in many yards, you can grow clover specifically to feed your rabbit. I recommend either dedicating an area of your garden to clover or growing them in pots.
Dandelions – Yes, this weed is edible to humans and bunnies! But even if you don’t want to enjoy dandelion greens in your salad, your rabbit will love them. If your yard is pesticide free, you can feed your bun any dandelions growing there. Or you can grow them in your garden or in pots to provide fresh and safe dandelions. Since they’re a weed, they’re very easy to grow.
Kale – Another spring and fall green, kale is very hardy to grow in cool weather and perfect if you live in an area with a shorter growing season. Kale grows best in garden beds.
Spinach – Good for human and bunny salads, spinach is another spring/fall crop. I recommend planting it in your garden bed between tall crops like tomatoes or beans, which will provide the spinach shade. (High in oxalic acid, so should be limited to one type per day)
Bell Peppers – Peppers grow really well during hot summer weather and are easy to grow outdoors in areas with full sun. You can even grow them in pots (5 gallons or larger works best), just make sure to keep them well watered and put them in a spot where they’ll get enough sun.
Broccoli – Broccoli is a perfect veggie to grow for yourself and rabbits. Since bunnies should only eat leaves and stems, you can feed them leaves all summer while your broccoli head grows. They grow best in traditional garden beds.
Carrots – This is another great vegetable to grow for bunny and yourself. While the carrots themselves should only be given to rabbits in small quantities, carrot tops count as greens for your rabbit. If you don’t like carrots, you can just grow the greens and harvest them for your bun before the carrots grow full-sized. Carrots grow well in garden beds or in deep containers (12″ or more deep).
Radishes – Rabbits can’t eat radishes, but their greens are perfect for bunnies. If you enjoy radishes, I recommend growing them in your garden so you can give your bun the tops. They’re relatively easy to grow, though they do best in garden beds. (High in oxalic acid, so should be limited to one type per day)
Zucchini Squash – If you’ve ever had a zucchini plant or two in your garden, you know how July and August are filled with a bumper crop of zucchini squash. Luckily, your rabbit can enjoy some as well. Zucchini squash does best in traditional gardens with full sun.
Fruit to Grow for Bunnies
Fruit should only be given to your rabbit as a treat (a maximum of 2 tablespoons per day for a 6 lb. rabbit), but you can easily grow fresh fruit to give as a treat or even dehydrate it to serve year round. Many of the safe to eat fruits for bunnies require growing a tree, but these suggestions are a little bit easier than that.
Blueberries – If you have the space and are willing to commit to planting a bush or two, blueberries are pretty easy to grow and make a great treat for your rabbits.
Raspberries – This is another fruit that takes a little bit of commitment. They grow on “canes” that come back year after year. One of the bonuses with raspberry plants is rabbits can have them as a treat and eat the leaves as greens.
Strawberries – Strawberries are super easy to grow. They’re great for all levels of gardening experience and can be grown in containers or gardens. I like using dedicated planters because strawberries will send out runners that can be planted to create a lovely patch.
While rabbits are the third most popular pet in the United States, pet stores are way behind when it comes to rabbit care. A lot of the products sold in stores and marketed to bunny owners is actually dangerous and in some cases deadly to your pet. This list highlights ten things you should never buy your pet rabbit (and gives suggestions for safe alternatives to get instead).
Never Buy Your Bunny These Items
1. Toxic Litter
Rabbits are relatively easy to litter train, but you have to be careful what type of litter you use in their box. Clumping litter that is sold for cats is toxic for rabbits and should not be used anywhere in the house (even if you have cats). Wood shavings made from cedar or pine are also toxic to bunnies and can cause liver disease.
Opt to use rabbit safe litter including paper based litters (Carefresh & Yesterday’s News) or compressed sawdust pellets.
2. Rabbit Leashes
There’s a lot of debate in the rabbit community about whether or not it is safe to take rabbits for a walk on a leash. There is one point we all agree on though: these thin cord rabbit leashes are incredibly dangerous and should never be used to walk a bunny. If your rabbit gets startled and tries to bolt it is very easy for them to strangle themselves, which makes these leashes a death trap. If you are going to walk your rabbit, get a vest style harness instead.
3. Pet Store Rabbit Cage
Many people have an image in their head of a rabbit sitting in a small cage like a hamster. In reality, rabbits need a large cage they can stretch out and stand up in. Most pet stores, unfortunately, sell cages that are way too small for adult rabbits. Rabbit owners are better off building an x-pen cage or ordering a properly sized cage online (check out our bunny cage recommendations). As a rule of thumb, a rabbit cage should have at least 8 square feet of space and be at least two feet tall.
4. Salt & Mineral Wheels
Salt and mineral wheels are regularly sold in the small pet section of the pet store and advertised for all kinds of pets. As long as you’re feeding your rabbit a balanced diet of pellets, hay, and fresh veggies, they’re getting all the salts and minerals they need. A salt wheel can actually cause your bunny to consume too much sodium, which can lead to health issues. Save your money and skip this item.
5. Colorful Rabbit Food Mixes
When you walk down the pet food aisle, I’m sure you notice the bright bags of rabbit food with multicolor pieces, nuts, and other tiny pieces in them. These foods are the equivalent of giving your rabbit junk food to eat. You should only feed your rabbit a plain timothy based pellet from recommended food brands. Food mixes are filled with extra fat, sugars, and preservatives that your rabbit does not need. They can lead to weight gain and other health issues. Focusing on a properly balanced rabbit diet will give them all the nutrients they need.
6. Yogurt Drops & Dandelion Drops
Yogurt drops are frequently sold in pet stores and while your bunny might gobble them up, they’re extremely unhealthy for rabbits. The sugar content in them is way too high (it’s the first ingredient!) and adult rabbits should never have dairy products.
Instead, opt for healthy rabbit treats like fresh or dried fruits. I guarantee your bunny won’t mind if you give them some banana instead.
7. Iceberg Lettuce
While a daily salad is an important part of your rabbit’s diet, iceberg lettuce shouldn’t be a part of it. This staple of human salads is not good for bunnies. Iceberg and other light colored lettuces are high in water and have very little nutritional value. It also contains lactucarium which can be harmful to bunnies in large quantities. Instead opt for dark leaf lettuces like romaine, which are higher in fiber and other nutrients. Check out recommended leafy greens for bunnies.
8. Nut & Seed Treats
Whenever I walk down the small pet aisle at the pet store I always get so mad when I see “treat sticks” with rabbits on the packaging. These sticks frequently look like granola bars people enjoy as snacks and are held together by things like honey. Nothing in these snacks is good for rabbits! They’re very high in sugar and fat. Bunnies are naturally herbivores, meaning seeds and nuts are not a part of their normal diet. While the nuts are not toxic, they can cause your bun to gain weight and affect their health negatively. Stick to fresh or dried fruits (with no sugar added) as a healthy treat.
9. Unknown Wood Toys & Accessories
Wood toys and cage accessories are great for your rabbit since it gives them a safe outlet to chew and wear down their teeth. But, that doesn’t mean you can just grab any wood toy off the pet store shelf and give it to your bun. There’s a lot of toxic wood that can poison your rabbit or make them sick. You should make sure to only buy rabbit safe wood accessories and toys, like those made from apple wood or kiln-dried pine. Often toys and cage accessories are not labeled with what kind of wood they’re made out of. Always err on the side of caution and only buy items that are clearly labeled untreated wood.
Marketed in pet stores as a vitamin supplement for rabbits, this is another thing you don’t need as long as your rabbit is eating a balanced bunny diet. It’s basically a liquid that you add to your rabbit’s water bottle. Unless your vet suggests vitamins to supplement your rabbit’s diet, you don’t need it. Save your money and give your bun fresh veggies, hay, and pellets instead.
Every year when Easter rolls around, many kids and parents consider the idea of getting a rabbit as an Easter gift. It makes sense, the Easter Bunny is a huge part of the celebration and rabbits are so adorable. But what many people who have never owned a rabbit don’t realize is they are actually a huge responsibility. Often the public assumes rabbits are a simple pet that sit in a cage all day like a mouse or hamster. But bunnies are more similar to cats (and even dogs) in regards to their exercise requirements, care needs, and vet costs. In addition, they have special needs that their own will have to address with regards to food, litter boxes, house wide bunny proofing, and day to day care.
Rabbits should never be purchased or given as a gift on a whim. Like other big family decisions, you should fully research the responsibilities and costs that come with a pet rabbit and make sure everyone in the household understand and agrees to those responsibilities before you add a rabbit to your home. Rabbits make a fantastic pet, but you need to know what you’re getting into when you buy one. Here are the top reasons not to get a pet bunny for Easter.
7 Reasons Not to Buy a Bunny for Easter
1. Most Rabbits are Surrendered or Abandoned After Easter
In the months after Easter, shelters are flooded with surrendered bunnies from owners who didn’t realize what they were getting into. Often children get bored as their cute baby bunnies grow into adults or parents didn’t realize how destructive the rabbit’s chewing habits would be.
Rabbits are the third most popular pet, but also the third most euthanized pet in the USA after dogs and cats. (Check out these stats on rabbits in shelters from the House Rabbit Society to learn more.) Even worse, some people will dump their rabbits in woods or empty fields assuming they can survive. This is a death sentence for domesticated rabbit breeds that have none of the skills needed to survive in the wild. Do not add to this alarming trend and dangerous trend.
2. Rabbits are Expensive Pets
Over the course of their lifetime, you’ll spend as much as you would on a pet dog. In addition to the “start-up” costs of cages and other supplies, rabbits require fresh vegetables and rabbit pellets daily, as well as destroyable toys. Many owners estimate they spend almost $1000 a year on their bun. And if your rabbit has health issues or emergencies, they can become even more costly as a proper exotics vet that treats rabbits is harder to find and often more expensive.
3. Rabbits Live as Long as Dogs & Cats
The average age range of most rabbits is between 8 and 14 years. That’s a long-term commitment that requires more thought than a passing thought. Your child may quickly outgrow the rabbit, leaving you with a pet to care for when they head off to college. If you’re not ready for that kind of long-term commitment, you are not ready for a pet bunny.
4. Rabbits Have to Spayed or Neutered
For their health and to curtail aggressive behaviors, rabbits need to be fixed when they reach sexual maturity. Most rabbits sold for Easter are too young to be spayed or neutered, so that responsibility falls on the new pet owner. This is not optional, especially for female rabbits who have a 60% chance of uterine cancer after the age of three (learn more). Be prepared to pay up to $250 for this procedure at an exotic vet.
5. Rabbits Don’t Like to Cuddle
Rabbits are prey animals, which greatly informs their behaviors. They easily startle and do not like loud noises. Often the natural behavior of rambunctious children can terrify a rabbit. They will run and hide, living in constant fear. Bunnies also don’t like being picked up or cuddled. They will struggle to try and get away, possibly scratching their owner or even injuring themselves. It takes patience and time to help your rabbit learn to trust you and become comfortable with being picked up.
Bunnies need to be approached and loved on their own terms. If you’re considering a rabbit for a child who just wants a bun to cuddle and fawn over like a toy, a stuffed animal is a much better choice.
6. Rabbits Need Out of Cage Time
Many people just picture their rabbit sitting in a cage all day and while an appropriately sized cage is a good home base for a bun, they do best with lots of out of cage time. If your rabbit isn’t going to be free-range, then you need to be able to provide 30 hours of out of cage running time per week in a rabbit-proofed space or exercise pen.
7. Rabbits Chew–On Everything
Because they have ever-growing teeth, rabbits need to chew to keep them worn down. As a result, baseboards, furniture, power cords, books, and other items are often “customized” by these little pets. To own a rabbit means not only providing safe wood and toys to chew on, but rabbit proofing their play areas to keep them away from toxic and dangerous items. (Learn about how to stop rabbits from chewing to decide if you can handle this side of rabbit ownership.)
Easter Gift Alternatives to Pet Rabbits
There are plenty of other fun and festive ways to include rabbits in your Easter festivities without getting a pet rabbit. Make Mine Chocolate is a campaign started to inform the public about the responsibilities of rabbit ownership and discourage the gifting of pet bunnies on Easter. Check them out for more information and to join the cause. But their idea is the first on our list:
The best bunnies to give on Easter are the candy kind! Chocolate rabbits are a longstanding Easter tradition and a tasty alternative to a pet rabbit. Tuck one or two into an Easter basket to celebrate the holiday.
This is a great alternative for young children who really want a bunny of their own. Stuffed animals are cute and cuddly and require no care or further expenses!
Rabbit Themed Gifts
You can even get creative with your rabbit gifting, by giving other rabbit-themed gifts like t-shirts, mugs, or jewelry. Check out our article on bunny gifts for tons of ideas.
Playtime and exercise are an important part of your rabbit’s daily schedule. Not only is it good for their physical health, but the stimulation of playing with toys and exploring a space outside their cage helps prevent boredom and curtail destructive tendencies. If you don’t have your entire home rabbit proofed, an exercise pen is the perfect alternative to a free roaming bunny. Using a playpen, you can create a dedicated area for bunny playtime while keeping them away from electrical cords, furniture, and other items they shouldn’t chew or eat. Check out our recommended playpens and the list of must-have accessories to keep your bunny happy during playtime.
Bunny Rabbit Exercise Pens
You don’t need anything special for a rabbit pen. Any type of metal or wire pen works well for bunnies–you can even buy generic pet pens often sold in the dog section of the pet store. You will want to avoid any “playpens” made of fabric or other materials your rabbit can chew through.
If you’re planning on using an exercise pen in place of a rabbit cage, the playpen you buy should have at least 8 square feet of space per rabbit (meaning 16 sq ft for 2 rabbits, etc.). If you are purchasing the pen for playtime, you’ll want something that provides 20 sq feet or more of space so your rabbit has plenty of room to hop and stretch their legs.
Here are some of our favorites for you to consider:
Marshall Pet Products Small Pet Playpen
Made specifically for small pets like rabbits, chinchillas, and ferrets, this playpen is perfectly sized as a cage alternative for a single rabbit. The panels are extra tall to prevent your bun from hopping out. If you want to use it as an exercise pen, you can use it as a “fence” in the corner of the room to create a safe area for your bunnies to play in (that’s how I set it up), which will double the play area to 24 feet.
Marshall also makes playpen mats to help protect your floor and carpet. The mat can also be used as a “lid” or “roof” to protect your rabbit if you decide to take the playpen outside.
If you like to take your rabbit outside to exercise, this is one of the best pens available. Designed for chickens and other birds, this pen features a roof to keep them safe inside. That makes this pen perfect for bunnies because it protects them from predators like hawks that can swoop down and snatch your pet, even if you’re right there. Constructed from the same wire materials used for dog crates, this pen is sturdy and will keep your rabbit from chewing through and escaping. With a height from 28″ to 41″ at the peak there is plenty of room for your rabbit to stand up and stretch. There are also three door options to easily let your rabbit in and out. (My main complaint is that you can’t open up the roof panels to reach in and pick-up your rabbit, so consider if that might be an issue for you.)
As a bonus, this pen comes with a waterproof panel that attaches to the roof of the pen, providing a sunshade where your rabbit can lounge if they’re getting too hot. The pen is also easy to set up and take down so you don’t have to leave it out in your yard when you’re not using it. This is great for outside playtime but it is not a good option for a rabbit to live outside (rabbits should be kept indoors).
If you need a playpen that’s super portable, this enclosure from Amazon Basics may work for you. This pen is collapsible and folds up, making it easy to take outside or pack in the car if you travel with your rabbit. This pen works well to use as a temporary cage on the go. It also comes pre-assembled so you can just set it up and use it immediately.
This pen provides over 16 square feet of play space, so it’s perfect for a home for two rabbits or an everyday exercise pen. It’s designed for dogs, so it’s made from sturdy wire that can be used inside or outside. More sizes are available so you can get an even bigger pen to meet your needs.
Play Area: Over 19 square feet
Panel Size: Each panel 24″W x 24″L; Gap 1.5″W x 5.5″L
If you want a lot of hopping space for your bun, this exercise pen has it in spades. Designed for dogs and puppies, this pen is big, providing 66 square feet for your bun to exercise. It’s great to set up in a basement, living room, or backyard where you have a lot of space. If you don’t need that much space, the panels are removable, so you can make the enclosure smaller. You can also use it to build two pens to keep unbonded bunnies or different pets separate during playtime.
The panels are made with steel wire, making them chew proof. The pen comes with two door panels so you can easily step in and out. The shape is easily adjustable to fit whatever space you want to use for your chinchilla’s exercise time.
All right, now that you have your exercise pen, you want to make sure you provide your rabbit with all the essential supplies during playtime–especially if they won’t have direct access to their cage while in the pen.
Toys – Playtime is all about fun, so rabbit safe toys are a definite must-have! Make sure to provide a variety of toys (chew toys, dig boxes, puzzles, exploring toys) and you can even rotate toys to prevent boredom.
Water – Your bun may work up a thirst while exercises, so make sure to have water on hand in a crock or water bottle.
Hay – Rabbits are always eating and should always have delicious timothy hay on hand for when they need a snack. You can put this on the floor or use a hay rack inside the pen.
Litter Box – When nature calls, your rabbit will need somewhere to go. A litter box in the corner of the playpen is important to help reinforce your bunny’s litter training and keep messes contained.
Safe Spot to Hide – Since rabbits are prey animals they can easily become startled or scared, even if there’s no danger. Make sure they have somewhere they can go to hide. This can be as simple as a cardboard box with a doorway cut in the side.
While most of pet rabbit supply shopping is about buying the essentials, there is one thing to buy for your bunny that is all about fun: toys! Sometimes I think toy shopping is as fun for me as the playtime my rabbits get. While toys may seem incidental, they’re actually a really important part of your bunny’s health and happiness.
You should provide a variety of toys for rabbits to play with inside and outside of their cage. The toys will provide something for your rabbit to do when you’re not around, helping to stimulate their intelligence and preventing boredom, which can cause depression. (This is especially important for solitary bunnies who don’t have companions to interact with.) Pet rabbit toys also provide a safe outlet for your rabbit to chew and shred, saving your baseboards, furniture, and power cords from a nibbling bun. Toys are also perfect to encourage activity and exercise. When they have toys to jump on, dig in, or chase around, your rabbit will get essential exercise that will help keep their body fit and avoid obesity and other health issues.
Now that you understand the importance of safe and stimulating bunny toys, this article covers all the different types of toys you can offer your pet.
Rabbit Toys & Fun Stuff
The best toys for rabbits are made of safe materials, challenge their intelligence and curiosity, and help support bunny’s natural instincts like chewing and digging. A good variety of toys with help keep your bunny entertained no matter their mood. When you first get a new pet rabbit, it may take a bit of trial and error to discover what types of toys your bunny enjoys and what materials they like to chew. We have tons of ideas of toy types to consider.
When shopping for rabbit toys, keep the following in mind:
Hard plastic is okay (make sure your rabbit is not ingesting plastic)
Avoid toxic dyes and paints. Food grade coloring is OK
Recycled cardboard that is clean and free of ink is fine (make sure your rabbit is not ingesting the cardboard)
If you’re considering buying a toy for your rabbit, especially one that doesn’t list what type of wood or materials it’s made of, always err on the side of caution. If you’re not sure that a toy is safe for your bun, don’t give it to them.
What Kinds of Toys do Rabbits Like?
Good rabbit toys come in many different types to appeal to different rabbit opinions and stimulate natural behaviors. But each rabbit will have their own preferences. Some bunnies love shredding and digging but don’t care about ball rolling toys. Your rabbit may also have a favorite type of wood they like to chew on. As you get to know your pet, they’ll make their preferences known, but you may need to experiment in the beginning. While each bunny is unique, these toy types are popular with most rabbits.
Chews – Made from rabbit safe wood and other material, the whole purpose of chew toys are to give your rabbit a safe outlet to chew. These can be wood pieces, tossing toys, or hanging toys.
Hanging Toys – Perfect for hanging inside your rabbit’s cage or pen, these toys are often made of wood and other chewable materials.
Shredding Toys – Designed to harness your bun’s destructive energy. These toys allow them to shred and destroy, keeping them occupied and away from your curtains and blankets.
Digging Toys – People’s houses don’t have the natural environment that rabbits crave. Digging toys allows rabbits to exercise their digging instincts while providing a great workout and wearing down their nails.
Puzzles & Treats Dispensing Toys – Designed to stimulate your bunny’s curiosity and slow down quick eaters, these toys are fun and rewarding.
Tossing Toys – Typically a type of floor toy, these are a variety of toys that your rabbit can pick up in their mouth and throw. Many are made from wood and double as chew toys.
Exploring Toys – These are larger toys like boxes, baskets, tunnels, houses, and “jungle gyms” that allow your bunny to explore, play, climb, and hop at the same time.
Rollings Toys – Rabbits love pushing things around with their noses. From simple hard rubber or plastic balls to fun treat dispensing balls.
To keep your rabbits from getting bored, make sure to provide them with a variety of toys, not just different toy types but toys made of different materials. You may even rotate toys or rearrange hanging toys during your weekly cage cleaning to keep their environment fresh and exciting.
Check out the next section to see some of our recommended rabbit toys.
Best Bunny Toys to Buy
There are tons of toys available online and in pet stores that are marketed towards rabbits. But like many other rabbit supplies, just because a company says it’s for bunnies doesn’t mean it’s actually safe for your precious bun. Every toy or chew you give your pet needs to be made of rabbit-safe materials because your bun will be chewing on them and possibly ingesting pieces of the toys. Make sure you reference the list of rabbit safe wood and materials before you buy any pre-made toys. If a toy doesn’t say what kind of wood or dyes it is made of, do NOT buy them. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
If you’re shopping in a local pet store, make sure to look in the small pet section as well as the bird department and even the cat aisle. Many bird toys are made from safe wood and materials that rabbits enjoy. Hard plastic cat toys are great for tossing or rolling.
Since I know it’s time-consuming to research every possible toy or chew, we’ve listed some options for you that we’ve already vetted as rabbit safe.
The perfect way to add some fun to cage time, hanging toys will keep your bun entertained. Wood toys work really well for this since they allow your rabbit to wear down their ever-growing teeth.
While you can just buy some sticks and twigs made from rabbit safe wood and give them to your bunny, sometimes toys designed to be destroyed are a little more fun. (If you’re interested in buying plain sticks, check out the Toy Parts section below). All of these bunny toys are made to let your pet get out their chewing and destructive energy. (Learn about how to stop rabbits from chewing on furniture.)
For an easy DIY digging box, get a rectangular litter box and fill with shredded newspaper, hay, and other materials your bunny can dig in.
Puzzle & Treat Dispensing Toys
These toys are designed to help stimulate bored bunnies and give you an exciting way to feed them pellets or treats. Intelligent bunnies will figure out puzzles quickly, so it is good to rotate them with other toys to prevent boredom.
Perfect for use in a cage or during playtime, tossing toys go on the floor for when your bun wants to practice throwing. Rabbit tossing toys can include chewable toys made from bunny safe material or hard plastic toys. Baby toys and cat toys are popular for this. Plastic slinkies are favorites of many bunnies.
These toys are great for free-roaming bunnies or to keep in your rabbit’s play area. Tunnels and houses are good for exploring, crawling through, and hopping on top of. Other toys are more for mental stimulation with some physical elements like a jungle gym or toy table.
If you don’t want to go the DIY route to build your rabbit a cardboard box house, there are plenty of shops and websites that sell pre-made “houses.” (Check out some DIY suggestions in the next section.)
Rabbit Asas Wood sells amazing rabbit houses and castles made from wood. They are pricier than cardboard options, but they’re guaranteed to last for years, even against the most voracious chewers.
Cacao Pets on Etsy offers extremely elaborate cardboard houses perfect for your bun. From castles to cathedrals and even pirate ships, these houses are cool and fun for buns and owners alike.
Binky Bunny also sells some cool cardboard rabbit houses and tunnels. They come in many different packs and pieces that can be combined together for any size play space.
If you want to support small business owners and other rabbit parents who love making toys for rabbits, these Etsy Stores make a variety of safe toys for your bun.
Farmer Dave Pet Supply (USA) – In addition to selling a variety of delicious hay and treats, this story also offers organic apple wood toys. Check out the tossing toys, hanging toys, and chew sticks.
Folklore Rabbit Toys (USA) – Run by a geeky bunny owner, this shop as fun and unique toys, like mystery boxes that rabbits can destroy to reveal the contents. She also sells make your own toy kits, which are great if you have a hankering for DIY but don’t want to do a lot of work sourcing toy parts. (Learn more about DIY toys in the next section.)
White Rabbit Pet Care (USA) – This shop features a variety of fun and colorful toys for rabbits and other exotic pets. All of the options are very affordable and perfect to be destroyed by your bun.
Bunny Bliss (USA) – With a shop full of handmade toys and chews for rabbits, there’s lots of interesting options at affordable prices for discerning bunny owners.
Fuzzy’s Toy Shop (USA) Fuzzy’s focuses on toys and fun for rabbits, chinchillas and guinea pigs. I really like their “toy baskets” which come with a variety of bunny safe toys, perfect to help new owners identify their pet’s favorites.
Dumbo Rats for Days (UK) – While this shop is dedicated to dumbo rats, they’re a great option for rabbit safe toys in the UK. They have plenty of hanging toys perfect for bunnies to chew on.
If you’re looking for rabbit toys to make yourself, there are tons of options. Like human babies, your fuzzy bunny children are easily amused by recycled cardboard and paper items they can toss, shred, and hop around. If you want to get fancy with your DIY toys, there are also supplies and toy parts you can buy online.
Toys Made From Household Supplies
There’s tons of stuff around your house that can be safely repurposed for rabbit fun. If you’re new to rabbits or still trying to figure out what kinds of toys your bunny likes, this is a good place to start because it requires minimal money investment. Here’s some stuff you might have around the house to entertain your pet:
Cardboard Boxes – Fun for bunnies to crawl inside, hop on top, chew, and scratch. Try to create two points of entry by cutting the sides of the box.
Paper Bags – Can be used for digging, shredding, crawling inside, etc. Can also use lunch sized bags to put hay, pellets, and treats inside to make a fun feeder/shredder bag.
Cardboard Toilet Paper & Paper Towel Rolls – Can be given as is for chewing and tossing, or make into DIY cardboard toys.
Phone Book – Your old yellow pages are perfect for bunny shredding.
Hand and Bath Towels – Perfect for digging, pushing, and scooting.
Plastic Laundry Detergent Caps – Once thoroughly cleaned, these are perfect for tossing.
If you’re willing to do a little work, these are some easy DIY toys you can create using household supplies:
Dig Box – Take a cardboard box or a plastic litter box and fill it with shredded paper, hay, old towels, or other soft material so your bun can dig to their heart’s content.
Note: anything you give to your rabbit will be chewed on to some degree, so make sure you only give them “toys” that you don’t mind having destroyed.
If you’re crafty or enjoy making things yourself, you can easily create safe and fun toys for your pet rabbit. We have plenty of recommendations for toy parts to buy for your bunny. Some of these items you may be able to find at your local pet store.
Toy Chains, Strings, etc.
If you want to make your own hanging toys or toss toys, you’ll need something to tie or link them together. There are two ways to do this, either with something reusable that your chin cannot chew or with a chinchilla safe material that they will destroy with the toy.
Some of these toy parts, like sticks and such, can be given to your pet chinchilla on their own. You can also create hanging toys or toss toys with them. These toy parts are all chinchilla safe and easy to order from Amazon.
A Bird Toy – Christina’s shop specializes in toys and toy parts for birds and her huge selection also includes toy parts that are good for rabbits.
Chinvilla (USA) – It’s no surprise that this chinchilla shop has a lot to offer rabbit owners. Check out their toy parts section where they sell bulk wood pieces and vine toys.
Other Sites that Sell Toy Parts
Small Pet Select – Known for their awesome rabbit hay, Small Pet Select also sells a variety of rabbit safe toys and chews which can be used to build your own toys. They have a variety of wood and grass options your bun will love to destroy.
Binky Bunny – A favorite among rabbit owners, BB mostly sells premade toys, but they do offer toy parts and wood chunks.
Ronda’s Chinchilla Supplies – While this is a chinchilla supply sight, Ronda sells wood by the pound. You can purchase twigs, sticks, coin, and chunks–just check with the rabbit safe wood list before you order.. She also sells other toy parts like vines, coconut shell, and more.