Rabbit Enrichment

Enrichment creates an environment that is varied and stimulating for your pet. Try these fun and engaging activities that will allow your rabbit to explore their own home in a new and exciting way!

Sushi Rolls

Toss. Tear. Nibble.The rolled toy moves, is textured, and provides a challenge to reach the treat.

Supplies:

  • Corrugated paper
  • Raffia
  • Herbs such as cilantro or dill

Directions:

  • Cut a 2” by 6” piece of corrugated paper.
  • Tightly roll up the herbs or hay in the paper and secure with the raffia

Cottontail Pom Poms

Supplies:

  • White tissue paper
  • Raffia

Directions:

  • Layer 6 sheets of tissue paper. Cut strips 3 1/2″ wide and 12″ long.
  • Take one set of 6 strips of tissue paper. Stack and fold them accordion-style and crease each fold.’
  • Wrap raffia securely around the center. Spread out the tissue paper on either side of the raffia.
  • Separate the layers, pulling gently towards the center. Start in the center and alternate left and right. Work slowly and methodically separating the sheets of tissue.

Button Book

Created by the Animal Friends Rabbit Volunteers!

Supplies:

  • Rabbit safe wooden button
  • Raffia
  • Corrugated Cardboard

Directions:

  • Cut 3 rectangles from corrugated cardboard, approximately 3”x2”
  • With a hole punch, on the long side of each rectangle make 2 holes near center
  • Thread raffia through holes.  Attach wooden button and tie bows.

Enrichment Toys for Rabbits

Introducing a fresh homemade toy each day keeps your rabbit’s playtime and space mentally stimulating. Remove the item from the previous day to keep the items interesting and rotate the toys regularly.

Homemade:

  • Puzzle Tube: Cut out small holes in paper towel tube. Fill with hay and a couple treats. Press in ends of tube to seal.
  • Wheat Grass Containers: Grow wheat grass in a small plastic container (lunch pack applesauce or dressing cups work very well).
  • Spoon Tosser: Bend an old spoon into a triangle.
  • Newspaper sandbox: Fill a shallow cardboard box with lots of shredded newspaper for digging and tossing.
  • Egg Carton Puzzle: Cut a cardboard egg carton in half. Fill with hay and a couple treats. Close securely.
  • Cardboard Ball: Cut paper towel tube into rings. Insert one ring into another to make an X. Continue to add rings to create a round ball. Add hay to the center.
  • Origami: Make an paper ball or box. Easy Origami instructions can be found online
  • Oatmeal canister

Toys:

  • Baby blocks
  • Stacking rings
  • Slinky Rattles
  • Puzzle feeder egg
  • Baby car keys
  • Weebles
  • Wooden rabbit puzzles
  • Bandana for tossing and bunching

Always supervise your pet so you know he can play safely with a new object.

Hardware Store Rattle

This toy which can be made with items found at the hardware or on the workbench.  The rattle can be tossed or rolled! Instructions make 1 rattle.

Supplies:

  • 3 washers (¼” by 1¼” each)
  • 1 hex bolt (2½”).
  • 1 lock nut (¼”).

Directions:

  • Thread the 3 washers on the bolt.
  • Secure the end with a lock nut.

Foraging Games

A rabbit in the wild must hunt for his food. This little game will encourage a rabbit to exercise while searching, sniff to follow the trail, and think to find the treat. Stimulating the olfactory sense stimulates the brain.

  • Show the rabbit the treat then hide it: in your hand, under your leg, behind a toy. Let them sniff out the treat.
  • Make a trail of fresh greens across the room, hiding some of the pieces. You may use a Romaine lettuce leaf, parsley leaves, or a few pinches of the dry organic botanicals in the container.
  • If the bunny makes quick work of the trail, you can take one leaf and slowly drag it along the floor to leave behind its smell.Hide the treat at the end of the line and see if the rabbit will use its nose to follow the treat. Too easy? Hide the treat in a paper lunch bag.

Hay Carrots

This little bundle of hay shaped like a carrot provides a whimsical toy for rabbits to chew and toss.

Supplies:

  • Raffia
  • Hay

Directions:

  • Gather a bundle of hay into a log about 6” long. About 1/3 of the way down the hay log, begin to wrap the raffia. Leave a loose tail of raffia which will be used to tie off the raffia when finished.
  • Continue to wrap the hay with the raffia, tying additional lengths of raffia as needed.
  • Gradually pull the raffia tighter and to create a carrot shape. Cut excess hay to shape of carrot if too bulky at bottom.
  • Continuing to wrap the hay, work the way back to the top and tie ends of raffia together to secure.
  • Trim “leafy” carrot top.

Pine Cones

Crunchy and easy to toss, pine cones provide a opportunity for the rabbits to direct their chewing en

ergy. Choose pine cones from a source that has not been treated with chemicals.  The rabbits at Animal Friends receive pine cones from the trees around our campus.

Fill a sink with warm water and 1 cup of white vinegar. Gently scrub the pine cones with a soft bristle brush or your hands to remove dirt and debris.  Let the pine cones soak for 20-30 minutes to remove any additional dirt. Rinse thoroughly in fresh cold water 2-3 times.  Let dry on a towel. The pine cones will be closed up tightly.

Pine cones can air dry on a towel for several days.  Pine cones may also be baked in the oven.  Place them on parchment paper and bake at 215 degrees until dry and open.  Watch them carefully so they do not burn!  Cool thoroughly.

Paper Tassels

Supplies:

  • Craft paper
  • Raffia
  • Hay or treat

Directions:

  • Cut thin strips of paper about 8” long and ¼” wide. Arrange the strips like the spokes of a wheel.
  • Place hay and/or a small treat in the center and bundle the strips around the treat to form tassel.
  • Secure with a small strip of raffia.

Paper Tunnels

Free form shape craft paper or newspaper into a tunnel. Roll edges of tunnel to secure. Even easier, cut the bottom out of a paper bag!

Detailed instructions for a sturdier tunnel can be found here.

Pumpkin Hay Bags

Remember paper bag pumpkins from preschool? A brown lunch bag filled with hay provides an enriching way to provide a rabbit with some of his daily portion of hay.

  • Simply fill the lunch bag with hay. A treat or a few pellets can be added.
  • Twist the top of the bag into a pumpkin stem.
  • Wrap raffia around the stem. Wrap the loose end of the raffia in as you wrap. Leave loose ends as leafy tendrils!
  • A Jack-O-Lantern smiling face is optional!

Pittsburgh Pellet Pierogi

Feed pellets to your rabbit pierogi style so they can show their enthusiasm for this favorite Pittsburgh comfort food.  Feeding meals in unique ways provides enrichment to your pet’s day stimulating his mind, and therefore improving quality of life.

Supplies:

  • Craft paper or the paper liner from the timothy pellet bag (liner will be scented)
  • Pellets
  • Herbs such as cilantro or dill can be added when giving an extra treat.

Directions:

  • Cut a 6″circle from the paper.  Fold the circle in half.
  • Place pellets, hay, or a treat along the fold.  Roll the edges of the paper to seal and form a pierogi.

Octopus Toss Toy

Supplies

  • Rabbit safe wooden shapes with holes drilled through center
  • Sisal Rope

Directions:
• Attach wooden shape to sisal rope creating a knot on either side of the drilled hole.  This will be a “foot” on the end of the octopus “tentacle.”
• Thread sisal through wooden shape which will be the octopus body.
• Attach a second wooden shape on the end of the sisal and knot on each side of the “foot.”
• Attach as many “tentacles” as you would like!

Wreath

This wreath can be hung from the rabbit’s enclosure or used as a toss toy.  Decoration of the wreath is only limited by your imagination.

Supplies:

  • 5” willow chew ring

  • ¼” sisal rope
  • Wooden pine star soaked in beet juice and dried, hole drilled in center
  • Wooden pine ball with pre-drilled hole
  • Raffia
  • 2” Binder ring

Directions:

  • Reserving a long length of sisal rope, wrap the rope around the wreath.
  • Pull the short end of sisal rope down to the center of the wreath.  Attach the star. Tie a knot to secure the star.
  • Take the long length of sisal rope and thread on the wooden ball.
  • Split the sisal strands above the wooden ball and tie a bow, securing the wreath on the binder ring.
  • Add additional bows with raffia to provide interesting texture for the rabbit