Destructive behaviour is a familiar problem for many rabbit owners. It is natural for rabbits to chew and dig, which can become an issue if not properly controlled. By reading this article, you will learn the reasons of these behaviours and ways on how to effectively prevent them.
The Core of the Bunny Behaviour Problem
There are three main causes behind the “bad” behaviours in rabbits. These are boredom, stress, and lack of supervision from their owners.
Bunnies are social animals. They need to spend ample amounts of time playing and bonding with their human companions. Leaving a rabbit all by himself for long periods of time will lead them to boredom. Thus, it results in cultivating bad habits in order to keep himself busy.
Lack of supervision
Some behaviours are inherent to rabbits, such as chewing and digging. When letting bunnies out of the cage, rabbit owners need to keep an eye on their furry friends. Make sure that you’ve set a place where they can freely frolic around without wrecking anything.
These destructive habits can be borne out of stress too. Since rabbits are considered as prey animals, they develop these behaviours as a response to danger out of fear and anxiety. The causes of a bunny’s stress can include spending an inordinate amount of time in a cage, rough handling, and sudden raucous noises.
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Tips to Handle a Bunny’s Destructive Behaviour
- A rabbit’s teeth do not stop growing. Rabbits need to chew and gnaw on objects in order to wear them down. Be sure to provide your bunny with appropriate nibbling items like alfalfa, squash, aspen, and chew toys.
- Provide your bunny with a playpen or a baby gate. Have a designated enclosure that gives him enough space where he can freely explore and hop around.
Be careful with electrical wiring as they can electrocute your rabbit if he chews it. Make sure they are safely tucked away from your bunny’s reach. For wiring that runs along the floor, protect them with tubing or PVC cord protectors.
- Consider using rabbit deterrent sprays. These products have ingredients that taste awful for rabbits. Applying it on the furniture will prevent your rabbit from gnawing at it again.
- Build your bunny a digging box as an alternative playground. To make this, you need to fill a cardboard box with a variety of items which your bunny can dig through. You can use hay or shredded paper. But before placing them in the box, make sure to remove any staple wires or plastic tape that may be sticking on them.
- Redirect his attention. Once he starts digging on your carpet, pick him up and move him to another area. Then, play with him or give him food to divert his attention from his digging. You can also apply this method if your rabbit is prone to too excessive chewing.
- Many rabbits love to dig on carpets. To keep him from destroying it, cover the particular area where he loves to dig with cardboard or blanket. This way, he will nibble on these items instead.
- Think about spaying or neutering your rabbit. Spraying is commonly triggered by the onset of sexual maturity. They use it to mark their territory. Once your bunny gets spayed or neutered, he will no longer have the strong urge to urinate indiscriminately.
- Spraying can also be caused by urinary problems. Look out for symptoms of bladder problems such as bloody urine, cloudy-looking urine, lethargy, and hunched position when urinating. If your bunny shows these signs, bring him immediately to the vet.
Paying Attention Goes a Long Way
Most of the behaviours that are considered ‘destructive’ in bunnies are due to their natural instincts. Since these behaviours cannot be repressed, it is important for owners to keep an eye on their rabbits’ environment. Make sure to keep them away from items and places which they are likely to chew or dig, and redirecting their attention to other activities.