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Bunnies are more laid back than other pets such as dogs and cats. Because of this, some pet owners, especially those who are new to bunny ownership have the misconception that bunnies are content being cooped up all day long. However, bunnies need to stay active if they are to be healthy and to be entertained.
Bored rabbits are sad rabbits. At best, a bored bunny will become listless and quit eating and grooming themselves. At worst, a rabbit suffering from boredom will develop unwanted behaviors that are destructive to themselves or their environment.
This article is going to cover everything you need to about bored pet rabbits. We’ll start with the reasons that rabbits become bored, then go into the signs that your bunny is bored, and finally, we’ll give you 20 great tips and tricks to help your bored bunny.
Why Do Pet Rabbits Get Bored?
Rabbits do get bored just like you and I get bored. Rabbits get bored because they don’t have enough mental and physical stimulation. When rabbits are bored, they get stressed and stress is not healthy for rabbits.
Regardless of the size of your rabbits, all rabbits need physical activities and mental stimulation to prevent them from getting bored. Humans are very familiar with the feeling of boredom, it’s frustrating and sometimes, even depressing. This is the same with bunnies, if they find themselves bored for too long they might turn to unwanted or destructive rabbit behaviors.
There are five primary reasons that rabbits get bored: not enough exercise, not enough mental stimulation, not enough space, not enough toys, and simple loneliness.
We’ll dig into each of these reasons in more detail, then we’ll figure out how to identify a bored rabbit and finally how to help a rabbit suffering from boredom.
1. Lack Of Physical Exercise
Rabbits need to exercise, if they don’t get exercise not only will they get bored, but they will become a fat and lazy bunny.
This might not be a problem for free-roaming rabbits but this is one of the most common issues that is encountered by pet owners who keep their bunnies in a rabbit hutch the majority of the time.
There are no issues in keeping your rabbits in hutches but to keep them cooped up all day long will bore them. This could lead to behavioral and weight problems in the long run.
2. Lack Of Mental Stimulation
Rabbits also need mental stimulation to keep them happily tired. In our home, we have always believed that a tired rabbit is a good rabbit.
P.S. The same is true for dogs and children.
Rabbits in the wild are always alert and thinking of ways to forage and escape predators. Our bunnies might be domesticated but they still need some kind of stimulation to keep them mentally challenged.
Later on in this article, we’ll give you some tips and tricks to keep your bunny mentally stimulated.
3. Lack Of Space
Sometimes new rabbit owners fall prey to false advertisements and buy cages that will fit a small bunny but are not recommended for bunnies.
Bunnies need enough space to stretch their legs, turn 360 degrees, stand up and run around.
Lack of space is also one of the most common reasons why rabbits get bored. If there is not enough space to move around, your bunny might end up getting frustrated and this will exhibit unwanted behaviors.
4. Lack Of Toys
Bunnies are very curious animals and they like to spend their time exploring and playing.
If they don’t have new areas to explore or anyone to play with they will most likely get bored and once again might exhibit unwanted behaviors that might even be harmful to themselves or to your home.
We’ll look at good rabbit toys here in a bit.
5. Lack Of Attention
Rabbits are social animals and they live their best and happiest lives when they are living it with someone they are bonded to (someone they love).
Domestic rabbits are happier when they are living with another rabbit that they are bonded with, and they are happiest when they are bonded with their owners.
This owner bonding can only be achieved by providing them with consistent attention.
Rabbits are not accessories in a home, they are social animals who need to feel that they are part of a family to thrive. If they don’t have that bonding, they might grow bored and eventually depressed.
20 Signs That A Bunny Is Bored
Below we have listed the 20 the most common signs that your rabbit is bored.
1. Rabbit Rattling Their Cage
This is pretty self-explanatory. Rabbits might rattle their case by bumping into them intentionally and a rabbit can make a lot of noise when they want to.
This usually means that your bunnies would like to escape because they feel stifled in their environment.
While this noisy behavior can be annoying to you, it could prove to be dangerous to your rabbits, because a bunny can hurt itself while rattling its cage.
Also, if your bunny’s hutch is perched atop a desk and is not on the ground, a rabbit constantly bumping into it will move the cage. If the cage falls down from a height this might also cause injuries to your bunny.
2. Rabbit Chewing On Cage
When we say that a rabbit is chewing on its cage, we mean that bunnies will chew on the bars of their cage.
This is another behavior that bunnies do whenever they feel cooped up and would like to explore their environment or just stretch their legs.
This can be harmful to your bunnies, wire hutches might hurt your bunny’s mouth. Also, most commercial cages have bars that are coated with paint that might be toxic to your bunny.
3. Rabbits Chewing On Furniture
Chewing comes naturally to rabbits. They need to be constantly chewing because they have a biological need to trim down their teeth.
However, excessive chewing can become a huge problem.
Rabbits who have not yet learned the boundaries of the home might chew on furniture but rabbits who have not exhibited this behavior before and suddenly do, most likely means that your bunny is bored. Furniture that rabbits love to chew includes baseboards, rugs, and your favorite coffee table’s legs.
If your rabbit is destroying your stuff by chewing on it, you need to take a few minutes to read this article about how to stop rabbits from chewing on everything.
4. Rabbits Whewing On Wires
I’ve heard that rabbits and rodents love to chew on wires because it tastes sweet to them. But, whatever the reason, rabbits chewing on wires falls under the category of “unwanted behaviors caused by boredom”.
This can be very dangerous especially when rabbits accidentally chew on electric wiring. It might electrocute your bunny or it might cause house fires.
Therefore, it is recommended that you bunny proof your wires by wrapping them in cable covers. Our article about rabbits chewing on everything has a whole section about how to rabbit-proof cables and wires.
5. Rabbits Chewing On Their Fur
bored rabbits will often chew on their fur and even pull out their fur! This could make you end up with a rabbit with huge patches of skin missing fur.
This can be a tricky sign to identify because rabbits chewing and plucking on their fur might mean that your rabbit is pregnant and nesting. They pluck their fur to use as lining for the nests that they’re preparing for their babies.
This bunny behavior can also be exhibited by female rabbits that are not pregnant. However, if your bunny is male and they start chewing and plucking their own fur, this is a sign that they’re bored.
6. Rabbits over grooming
Rabbits groom by licking their face and their bodies. Because rabbits are very clean animals, they groom meticulously but healthy rabbits know when to stop.
Over-grooming is one of the activities that rabbits do whenever they are bored. Because of lack of activities rabbits might turn to grooming to ease their boredom.
Overgrooming will cause your rabbit’s fur to be pulled out and if not resolved might end up with you having a bald rabbit.
7. Rabbits Becoming Lethargic
While some rabbits get anxious when they are bored so they try to release their energy by overdoing things such as grooming, eating, or rattling their cages through the night. However, other rabbits instead lose interest and become lethargic when bored.
Lethargic rabbits might lose appetite and not eat or drink. This is dangerous to their health because a rabbit’s energy is closely related to your rabbit’s diet. If your bunny is not eating they will become sick and this could prove very fatal to them.
8. No Social Interaction:
Rabbits who are also bored might resist social interaction. I have heard of my friend’s bunnies who sometimes refuse to leave their rabbit hutch even if the door is wide open.
This is also a tricky sign of boredom because sick rabbits will sometimes lose the motivation to interact socially. However, once you rule out that your bunny is sick or injured, then this behavior means that they’re bored.
Understanding different cuases of rabbit behavior can be difficult, which is why we wrote this article about rabbit body language.
If you observe that your rabbit keeps pacing in their cages then this could be a sign of boredom. They probably need more time to hop around and not be confined in their cages.
Like people, some rabbits simply turn to eating when they are bored.
And like people, overeating will make your bunny fat and lazy.
11. Aggressive Behavior Towards Humans
Bored rabbits might exhibit aggressive behaviors towards their owners, but I honestly don’t believe it’s because your bunny is angry. Instead, it’s just that they are bored at least partly because they don’t spend much time with you and with that lack of time they don’t really know and trust you.
Remember, that being an aggressive rabbit does not mean that it will be aggressive forever. This just means that they need more time and consistent affection from you so that they can learn to know and trust you.
12. Agressive Behavior Towards Other Rabbits
Aside from getting aggressive towards their owners, bored rabbits might also get aggressive towards each other. This might be because their owners have not spent the time to bond these two rabbits or it might be that both of them are bored and are thus taking their boredom out on each other.
13. Persistent Thumping
Thumping is a common rabbit body language or behavior that is defined by stomping their hind legs on the ground. Most rabbits who decide to thump, do so repeatedly so it’s hard behavior to miss.
Rabbits thump for a number of reasons.
Sometimes rabbits thump because they’re scared but they can also thump whenever they’re annoyed.
Hence, if you find that your bunny keeps on thumping and nothing seems to be out of the ordinary, this means that your bunny is bored and is annoyed at that feeling.
14. Knocking Things Over
A rabbit that keeps knocking things over is often a sign of boredom. This could be as harmless as knocking over their bed or as messy as flipping their bunny litter box.
This could be because they lack things to play with and thus they try to take it out on the things in your house.
This behavior is not necessarily destructive and could easily be corrected by providing your bunnies with more toys they can play with; however, if not corrected they may eventually turn to more destructive behaviors.
15. Nipping At Your Heels
Rabbits are smart creatures and if they find themselves bored they can also turn to attention-seeking behaviors.
One of the most unexpected attention-seeking behaviors is nipping at your heels. Humans tend to respond to this behavior quite a lot because it’s surprising.
So if rabbits associate getting your attention by nipping at your heels they will continue to do so until you provide them with other means of entertainment. Your rabbit nipping at your heels is cute, but it can also be dangerous for your bunny, or even you if you fall down trying not to step on a bunny running towards your feet.
16. Nudging You
Rabbits nudging you with their head can be a sign of affection or it can be a sign of boredom meaning they want to spend more time with you by demanding more pets and strokes.
Honestly, this is one of the best attention-seeking behaviors a bored rabbit can develop because it isn’t destructive or dangerous. It also means that your rabbits trust you because they let you pet/stroke them. Petting/stroking for bunnies imitate the action of grooming, and grooming is one of the ways in which rabbits show their affection for one another.
17. Escaping Their Cage
Rabbits may rattle their cage or even chew on the bars to get your attention, but if all else fails rabbits are very cunning, they might find a way to open the door of the cage and you’ll end up with a Houdini bunny.
This could be very dangerous as rabbits not trained to free-range might get lost or even urinate and chew on things that they shouldn’t be chewing.
18. Excessive Sleeping
Rabbits that are bored might find it better to just sleep all the time since there’s no stimulation or interesting things for them to do.
This behavior is also not destructive but you should help encourage your bunny to stay active because having them asleep all the time will make them susceptible to gaining weight and no one wants a fat rabbit because it’s just not healthy for them and will shorten their life.
19. Excessive Digging
Another destructive habit that a bored rabbit will exhibit is to excessively dig.
Digging comes naturally to rabbits, but they can also develop the habit of excessive digging when they’re bored.
Digging is also a part of nesting and can be a reaction of rabbits when they’re bored. This can be easily remedied by providing your bunnies with a digging box and teaching them how to use it.
Rabbits can start humping things, each other, or even you when they are bored.
In case you don’t know what humping is, it’s when they simulate the rabbit mating process by putting their front legs on top of what they want to mount and then thrusting their hips as if actually mating.
Humping or mounting is a form of communication for rabbits and is usually done to demonstrate dominance. It is often exhibited by bored bunnies who are not sexually fixed.
Excessive mounting is very annoying to other rabbits, especially when they do not submit easily. Humping can lead to fights and possible injuries between your rabbits.
20 Ways To Help A Bored Rabbit
Fortunately, there is a myriad of ways to help your bored bunny by simply keeping your bunny entertained.
Bunnies are not that hard to please, you just need to take the time to know their personalities and what they like to do for fun.
1. Free Roam Your Rabbit
Free-roaming your bunny is a good way of ensuring that they get enough exercise as they are not cooped up inside a cage all day.
However, free-roaming is not recommended for a brand new bunny. Rabbits are explorers, and if you just turn them loose in your house they are going to explore every inch of the place and make a mess, damage something, or get themselves hurt or worse.
However, you can rabbit-proof your house or at least the areas that your rabbit is going to be allowed to explore.
We highly recommend that you have a bunny room in your house where your pet rabbit can be free and spend time with you outside of their hutch.
2. Proper Rabbit Cage Location
Do not put your rabbit hutches or cages in places that do not get much traffic. Instead, you should put their hutches/cages in a part of the house that is often visited by family members. For example, the living room is a great location for your rabbit cage.
A high traffic living area will acclimate your bunny to the different members of the family and will also prevent them from getting bored as there would be more opportunities for them to bond with other members of the family since they’ll often share the same space.
If you want to learn more about setting up a new rabbit hutch, including where to place that hutch, then we highly recommend our Ultimate Guide To Setting Up A New Indoor Rabbit Cage.
3. Get Another Bunny
Rabbits are social animals and it is often believed that they thrive better as part of a pair. We certainly believe that a rabbit is happiest when they have a bonded bunny friend to spend their days with.
However, there are a number of things you must consider befor getting another bunny.
First, keeping two rabbits does cost more than keeping one rabbit. It also takes more time to care for multiple rabbits, including the need to clean your rabbit litter box more often.
If you can’t afford to get another bunny, there is a wide community of bunny lovers online that you can join and probably make friends that you can schedule for a bunny play date.
Keep this playdate supervised though, rabbits react differently to each other so do not expect that all play dates will go smoothly all the time. However, socializing your bunnies are important to their overall wellbeing, and playdates keep them occupied, so this definitely reduces boredom.
Just be very careful to make sure that you don’t end up with a pregnant rabbit…after all, rabbits do “breed-like-rabbits“.
5. Supervised Play Time With Other Pets
If you have other pets in the house, you can schedule a playdate with them and your bunny provided that they are integrated well and that these playdates are supervised.
As unlikely as it seems, rabbits and cats, dogs, and even chickens can become fast friends over time. That, of course, assumes the right temperament for all pets involved and your skill and time commitment to train your pets to play nice.
6. Have Them Neutered or Spayed
Rabbits that have been neutered or spayed tend to be less active or curious than unaltered rabbits plus it also lessens their drive to hump whenever they’re bored. Fixed bunnies are also easier to integrate with other bunnies should you decide to get a second rabbit.
Spaying/neutering is beneficial to your bunny because aside from reducing boredom, it also drastically reduces your pet’s chance of developing reproductive cancers in the future.
7. Play Toss
Playing with your bunny is a sure way to form a bond whilst keeping them entertained. One of the ways you can play with your rabbit is with a little game we call “Toss”.
Start by getting a rabbit toy in the shape of a ring which is easy for your rabbit to pick up in their mouth and throw. We prefer rings made from natural materials like straw, hay, or grass so the rings can double as chew toys to reduce the chance of destructive chewing.
Rabbits have chew toys that are shaped as a ring and when rabbits play they usually toss this around. You can try tossing their toys around too and see if your bunny follows your lead.
Here is an Amazon link to the rabbit toy rings we prefer. We also always keep some rabbit toy balls around because the way they roll makes chasing them even more fun for our bunnies, even though they are harder for a bunny to toss.
8. Play Reverse Fetch
Another rabbit favorite is the reverse fetch game in which your bunny will nudge a ball to you with their nose and then you nudge them back. Or it could be a rabbit tossing a ring and you “fetching” them. This isn’t tiring for you as an owner but rabbits enjoy this so much and it will help you bond with your cute bunny.
What breeds of rabbits are the cutest? Find out in this Rabbit Pros Article.
9. Build A Maze
Rabbits love going through mazes, you can easily build one by using old cardboard. Using cardboard is safe just because it is safe for rabbits to chew on cardboard.
To make your cardboard bunny maze even more fun, you can hide some of your bunny’s favorite treats in the maze to keep them motivated.
P.S. You can buy a pre-made cardboard rabbit maze on Amazon.
10. Build An Obstacle Course
Rabbits love to jump and play, and you can encourage these fun behaviors by building them a small agility course.
This is also a great way to teach them tricks as they can learn to jump through hoops and do jumps on command for them to go through the obstacle course.
If you need some ideas about what you can build for your bunny obstacle course, check out the dog agility courses available on Amazon.
11. Simple Cardboard Boxes
Rabbits love to chew and if excessive chewing is a problem you can always redirect their chewing to more acceptable things. We love giving our rabbits cardboard boxes with small holes cut in the side for our bunnies play in and chew on.
Cardboard is one of the most common things that are given to rabbits to chew on. Most rabbits will chew on the cardboard and spit it out, however, you should regularly check to see if your rabbit is actually eating the cardboard. Ingesting too much cardboard might cause blockage in their intestines.
12. Provide Chew Toys
13. Create A Digging Box
If you find that your rabbit tries to lessen their boredom by digging through your carpet, then you should consider building them a digging box.
Rabbits are smart animals and they can be trained to use digging boxes instead of your carpet.
Here is an article about dealing with your rabbit chewing on your carpet.
Building a digging box doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as a cardboard box filled with shredded newspaper. To help your bunny learn to use their digging box, start with hiding some treats in the box.
Or you can get something like this super cute foraging mat from Amazon. Your bunny will love digging to find their favorite treats in the folds of this mat.
14. Add A Hanging Hay Basket
Rabbits in the wild forage for food for most of their days. You can simulate these same activities by hanging hay baskets around a rabbit’s play area.
In this sense, rabbits will have to work to get to this hay just as if they were foraging. You can also put these hay baskets in different areas of a maze so that the rabbits will also work to find them.
You can find the ball hay feeder in the image above on Amazon using this link.
P.S. Don’t be afraid to hang your bunny’s hay basket high enough that they have to stand up straight to reach their treat. A tired rabbit is a good rabbit.
15. Pet Your Bunny More
Most well-bonded rabbits love being petted because it feels like you are grooming them.
One of the attention seeking behaviors that rabbits exhibit when they’re bored is the constant need for pets. I encourage you to indulge your rabbits with pets.
It helps you form a closer bond with them because it helps them associate you with a pleasant experience
16. Give Them Treats
Treats are a sure-fire way to keep rabbits interested. However, always track how many treats you are giving your rabbits as high sugar can cause weight gain and a fat rabbit isn’t a healthy rabbit.
To make your bunny work off some of the calories from their treats, consider putting them inside mazes or after an obstacle course to keep your bunny from getting lazy and fat.
17. Teach Your Rabbit Tricks
A good bunny training session is both mentally and physically challenging for your rabbit, and it’s impossible to be bored when you are both mentally and physically challenged.
Training your rabbits to do tricks will help you from a better bond with them plus you get to discover just how smart your rabbit is.
18. Listen To Music
Rabbits love listening to music. Don’t believe me?
I have an entire article about rabbits and music and it is scientifically proven that rabbits do like listening to some kinds of music, especially soothing classical music.
19. Read To Your bunny
This is another unique way to keep your bunny entertained. Rabbits don’t like loud noises and aging rabbits prefer quiet companionship which makes sharing reading time a perfect person/rabbit activity.
Reading to your bunny in a soft voice can also be very soothing to them and it helps to maintain or create a bond with them. Plus, you get to read which is never harmful to anyone.
20. Sing To Your Bunny
If you can read to your bunny, then you can sing them lullabies too!
Some people have that soothing voice they can use to soothe their bunnies and even if you’re not the best of singers, rabbits won’t judge. You can give this a try, your rabbits will surely love you for it.
Bored Rabbits – The Final Word
This became a pretty long article, but only because helping a rabbit suffering from boredom is such an important topic for a new rabbit owner.
The truth is that bored rabbits are sad rabbits, and sad rabbits will eventually become unhealthy rabbits. The sooner you can identify that your bunny is suffering from boredom, then the sooner you can take steps to keep your rabbit healthy and happy.
Do you have other creative ways to help entertain your bunny? If so, please share them with other bunny lovers in the comments below, or jump over to our rabbit lovers’ tribe on Facebook.