Do rabbits like to play? They sure do!
Rabbits are rapidly gaining in popularity as pets (APPMA) as humans become attuned to just how intelligent and lovable these animals are.
Rabbits come in all shapes, sizes, and, most importantly, personalities, but what they all have in common is that they all need plenty of exercise. It has been estimated that a rabbit in the wild will run up to three miles per day! Because of this, The House Rabbit Society recommends about 30 hours of exercise and play per week for these smart guys. This means the stretching of their muscles, mental stimulation, and bonding time with their humans. While much of this can be accomplished with exploration time outside their cage or toys they can play with themselves as we discuss in this article, playing games with your bunny is a wonderful way to provide some of this much-needed activity. Kids love playing games with their rabbits so this can give your whole family plenty of bonding time and fun.
Give some of these rabbit games a whirl.
Get a small cat ball, preferably one with bells in it, recommends Colorado House Rabbit Society, and one that your rabbit can pick up with his teeth, and roll toward your pet. After your bunny examines the ball, repeat. After a while your pet will begin batting the ball around with his nose or picking the ball up with his teeth. You may even get to the point where the bunny returns to ball to you.
With your bunny on the floor, watch for a time when she runs toward you. Crawl or run away as if your rabbit is chasing you, then turn and playfully chase after her. After a few minutes, turn again and encourage her to return to the role of pursuer.
Sit in a chair with a height that is commiserate with your rabbit’s size and jumping ability. Place your bunny on the floor between your feet and offer a treat, such as an apple or a banana, or a sweet vegetable like a carrot or broccoli, and entice your rabbit to jump into your lap to get the treat.
Build your bunny an obstacle course made out of cardboard boxes, newspapers, kids’ toys or tennis balls. Get on the floor and show your rabbit what to do and watch as he checks out, and then maneuvers through the course.
Mental stimulation is critical for your bunny’s well being. Just like dogs and cats, rabbits love “treat puzzles” that make them work for their reward. Here are some great ideas for “logic toys,” courtesy of My House Rabbit.
Sometimes all you need is something simple. Grab something from around the house and put it in your rabbit’s enclosure while you’re gone. Suggestions include a cardboard carton, a paper towel roll, or a solid plastic baby toy. Your pet will keep himself busy and entertained, and his mind occupied, for hours.
Playing games is a great way for you and your kids to bond with rabbit and to get your pet the mental and physical stimulation he needs. A busy rabbit is a happy rabbit!