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Having Fun with Your Rabbit

By: Rebecca Jones

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The best way to have fun with your rabbit is to let the rabbit choose the game to play.

"They make up their own tricks," says Nancy LaRoche, director of the Colorado House Rabbit Society. "In terms of really having fun, just get down on the floor with them and do things that inspire them to do things."

These intelligent little creatures, so quick to explore their world, may amaze you at what they come up with, she says.

Lots of everyday items make good bunny toys. Paper bags and cardboard boxes are two of the best. Bunnies especially like them if there are at least two entrances into the bags or boxes. They'll crawl inside and delight themselves scratching and chewing.

Other good toys include the cardboard roll from paper towels or toilet paper; cat or bird toys that are light enough to be tossed in the air or batted at with a rabbit paw; old telephone books for shredding; baby toys; dried pine cones; anything with ramps or perches for climbing and playing lookout; or towels.

Favorite Pastimes

LaRoche knows one rabbit, Duchess, a rex ("Rexes suggest they have an even higher level of intelligence than other rabbits," she says) who goes absolutely nuts over her bath towel. "She'll dig it up, then she'll smooth it out. When she sees me coming, she'll dash under her towel and I'll say 'Where's Duchess?' Then she'll peek out. She'll play peek-a-boo for hours on end. I'm always the one who has to finally stop that game."

Another rabbit she knows loves to have a towel draped from the top of his cage. He'll proceed to wind it tighter and tighter, then let it spin free, tapping him on the cheek as it unwinds. "That's how he gets petted when no one is around," LaRoche says.

One mini lop at the House Rabbit Society shelter loves to push his waterbowl around the room with his head. "We call that playing bulldozer," LaRoche says.

Still another rabbit's favorite pastime involves a piece of newspaper on the linoleum floor. "The bunny will run and jump on that newspaper and make it slide across the floor," LaRoche says. "A hundred other rabbits would not have figured that out. You just have to hunt around until your find what your rabbit thinks is fun."

They Dig Digging

Digging boxes are almost certain to delight any bunny. Converted cat litter boxes make excellent rabbit digging boxes. LaRoche suggests covering the large door (built to accommodate a cat) in the litter box and cutting a smaller rabbit-sized one in the side. Fill the box with carpeting or a paper-based litter such as Yesterday's News®. Don't use clay or pine-based litters. An old telephone book is another option. Don't worry about pre-shredding it or even ripping the pages out. The rabbit will take care of that and have fun in the process.

For all their ingenuity in finding ways to entertain themselves, rabbits do appreciate interaction with their human companions, LaRoche says. Harnesses are available so you can take your rabbit on walks through the neighborhood – but be wary of taking a rabbit anywhere near grass that may have been chemically treated.

Safer than outings are games played together on the floor. One really simple one that's likely to be as much fun for you as for your rabbit: Simply lie down on the floor and stay perfectly still. Let your rabbit explore you. The longer you lie there, the more insistent – and entertaining – your curious little friend will become.

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