Rabbits and digging
Most people would associate rabbits with carrots, but in reality rabbits and digging go hand in hand. No matter the variety, all rabbits have an innate desire to burrow, tunnel, or scratch in the dirt. But is it out of boredom, fun or just general mischief? Look into the behaviours of our long-eared friends with us, and delve deeper down the rabbit hole to discover why they dig. And, there are some simple Omlet-approved hacks that might just do the trick in helping to curb your bunnies’ burrowing habits.
In the wild
Wild rabbits live in burrows – a network of underground warrens where they feel safe and protected from predators such as foxes and dogs. Digging is a necessity; a matter of survival. Without it, they would be left open to attacks, which is why rabbits have evolved into the tiny excavators that they are today.
Have you ever noticed just how big a rabbit’s paws are? All the better for pounding away at the dirt. And, their long claws are perfect for scraping at the earth. Maintaining their warrens is a big job – requiring these specific tools nature has provided them with.
All rabbits have their own behaviours and personalities, but females tend to be the most determined diggers because they instinctively prepare themselves for nesting. These traits carry over into our domesticated pet bunnies as well.
Fun and exercise
Digging is not just instinctive though, it is an engaging activity that’s also great exercise (think Zumba for rabbits). So rather than trying to eliminate it completely, it’s a good idea to give pet rabbits ways they can utilize this natural behaviour without destroying areas of your home or garden. At Omlet, we’ve developed the Zippi Rabbit Tunnel System, so that our pet bunnies can feel at home and comfortable – all while keeping your garden intact. Rabbit proofing your garden can also help give your bunny space while protecting your prized plants. Zippi tunnels provide an extensive playground of interconnecting tubes that keep rabbits entertained, similar to the burrows their wild ancestors would be used to. It also provides a safe route for your rabbits to navigate from their hutch, to their area, and back again. This method of travel mimics how rabbits in the wild utilize tunnels and burrows between warrens and the outside world.
Change the course of the Zippi tunnels anytime. The tunnels can be extended, rotated, or elevated for a more diverse route. An engaged bunny is a happy bunny, as boredom takes a toll on all rabbits.
Constant digging not only wreaks havoc and poses an area of concern to you, but it could also be a sign that your rabbit is bored or lonely. Bunnies are naturally very sociable animals that love company. We strongly recommend giving your rabbit a housemate or two, because they thrive best in a pair or group setting.
If you do only have one rabbit then they will need more attention and entertainment than those who live with other bunnies. Sometimes rabbits can create a strong bond with their owners that is enough to curb any loneliness. Or, other playmates can include guinea pigs, small dogs, or cats – but these are largely dependent on the animals’ individual personalities. Any mixed-species interactions should be monitored closely.
Always offer plenty of enrichment for your rabbits. A Caddi Rabbit Treat Holder will help keep them entertained during snack time. Some rabbits also enjoy small toys like those designed for cats, or those specially made for rabbits.
Space to explore
If you start to notice some aggressive and disruptive behaviour in your rabbits, it could be due to a lack of space. Even as small animals, they can outgrow their living quarters. Rabbits will thrive much more with space and stimulation. The Zippi Rabbit Runs and Playpens provide your rabbits with more room to grow and explore in a safe environment. They’re simple to install, move, and maintain. They’re also easily extendable, offering endless possibilities and fun. Add Zippi Rabbit Platforms to utilize even more space and provide different vantage points.
5 ways to curb your rabbits’ digging
The more idle rabbits are, the more trouble they will cause. Keeping busy generally results in less digging from your rabbits. Provide lots to do to keep your rabbits busy. Here are 5 ways to help your rabbits dig safely, or to discourage digging altogether.
1. Digging boxes
Place a cardboard or plastic box in your rabbits’ area and fill it with soil, paper, twigs, or anything else that will provide a little resistance. Your rabbits can satisfy their urge to dig while also burning some excess energy in the process.
Scatter your rabbits’ favourite treats around a designated “digging spot” to reward their burrowing efforts, and hopefully prevent them from digging elsewhere. It may take some patience and consistency, but over time, they should get used to the new routine.
Indoor and outdoor rabbits enjoy organising. They may not colour-coordinate their closets, but they do like to pull, bite, tug and scratch the materials around them. This is called “bunching”. Not only is this a great source of entertainment, it also keeps them physically and mentally busy. Use some old bath mats, rugs or towels and let them “bunch” as much as they want – which will effectively provide a good distraction from creating a hole in your flowerbed. Be careful with the type of fabric – if anything shreds too easily it could become a choking hazard, so be sure to change the fabric if it becomes too thin or worn.
4. Spaying or neutering
Some rabbits will dig out of frustration and the need to escape and find a mate. Spaying or neutering your rabbits will diminish this impulse and prevent other unwanted behaviours. Like with dogs and cats, in the long run, your rabbits will be healthier and happier being spayed or neutered.
5. Anti-tunnel mesh
The Omlet Eglu Go Rabbit Hutch attached run, is made from a strong steel mesh that helps protect your rabbits from predators. It also comes with an underfloor wire that will not only keep your rabbits from their relentless digging, but will also help stop them from burrowing under the run and escaping. It’s more hygienic than a solid floor, with big enough gaps in the mesh so that it still provides the comfort of grass rather than uncomfortable hard ground or metal.
Omlet: the rabbit behaviourists
At Omlet, we dedicate our time to developing products with the animal and their owners in mind. Our Caddi Rabbit Treat Holder, Zippi Rabbit Tunnel System, and Zippi Rabbit Runs and Platforms are all perfect additions to any bunny-lover’s home, and will help keep your rabbits healthy and happy for years to come.
This entry was posted in Rabbits