Have you ever seen a rabbit “binkying” about in the wild? It almost looks like they are frolicking, as they dash and jump around. This actually prepares them for encounters with predators, and it’s instinctive to all rabbits – even pet rabbits need exercise.
Otherwise, you’ll find signs of boredom like cage-chewing or even furniture-chewing! Realize that rabbits run as much as three miles a day in the wild. So, you want to enable them to get that much exercise on a daily basis.
It’s not just a matter of your rabbit developing bad habits. Rabbits need exercise to stay healthy and maintain a good weight. If you have spayed or neutered your rabbit, this need increases!
Rabbits are naturally active. So, one of the most important needs they have is space in which to be active, whether it’s giving them the run of the house (or a few rooms) or supervising them in your backyard.
If you don’t have a fenced backyard or you worry about poisonous plants in your garden or home, a rabbit exercise pen can be a great way to keep your little bunny secure while they play. Keep in mind the minimal dimensions should be 8 ft x 4 ft x 4ft. You can use a kit like this one to customize a pen to the perfect size.
How much exercise do rabbits need each day?
To keep your rabbit healthy and active, plan to exercise them for about four hours every day. Keep in mind, it’s preferable to split the time between the early morning and evening. This mimics their natural hours of activity.
It’s a good idea to plan a mix of exercises, including
Keep in mind that playtime doesn’t necessarily end for your rabbit once the four-hour quota has been met. Even when you can’t actively engage in playing with your rabbit, be sure to have a selection of safe toys for your rabbit to play with. Otherwise, you may see some of those bad habits like chewing and digging crop up.
The best toys and games to exercise your pet rabbit.
Tons of choices exist for your rabbit’s enrichment. The best options are the ones that suit your rabbit’s individual needs – are they young or old? Do they like to dig? This article covers a few options to help you get started with pet rabbit exercise.
One of the best toys for bunnies might be a rabbit exercise ball. These help to curtail any bad chewing habits by providing your rabbit with a healthy and safe material to chew. Your rabbit will probably also love to throw the ball with its mouth. Get involved by playing reverse catch with your rabbit. You retrieve the ball and bring it back to your rabbit so they can throw it again. It’s the cutest thing to watch!
A great way to stimulate your pet rabbit and get them activated mentally and physically is to use logic games. These are great for rabbits that are “too smart for their own good.” They work by helping them to focus all of that intelligence on something productive and fun.
One toy we recommend avoiding is a rabbit exercise wheel. Technically these don’t really exist, but because of the availability of larger sized wheels, it might be tempting to try one for your rabbit – don’t! They work against the way your rabbit naturally moves and could cause an injury.
DIY rabbit toys.
You might even want to get some DIY action going when it comes to rabbit playtime. Some rabbits love to jump, so you might want to set up a jumping course for your rabbit to go through. Or, you could set up an obstacle course with boxes and hoops for them to navigate.
You might also consider going outside the realm of toys intended for rabbits, although you will always want to be sure the materials are not harmful to your beloved furry friend. For example, some rabbits love to play with basketballs or footballs, nosing or chasing them around their play area.
Another idea is to get bird toys for playing reverse catch, because they can be easier for the rabbit to grip. Just make sure the toys are not small enough to be choking hazards!
Rabbit playtime and exercise don’t have to be complicated. You might spend some time on the floor with your rabbit, letting them gently explore your body – they will probably hop all over you, nuzzling and maybe even nibbling you along the way. It’s a great way to get some cuddles and affection in with your pet bunny.
No matter how you approach playtime, if you’re taking care to make sure your pet rabbit gets the exercise it needs, you’re well on your way to being an excellent rabbit caretaker.
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I have always loved rabbits. A rabbit was my very first pet. Since owning my first rabbit I have gone on to own many more. I look forward to being able to get my kids their very own pet rabbits.