It has taken a while, almost 12 years for my husband and I to come up with the mantra, “they are just doing what bunnies do.”
That mantra usually comes from frustration. No one wants their cords cut, carpet chewed, baseboards wrecked. But that is what bunnies do and if you accept one into your home…well you can expect these behaviors.
Keep the Relationship Friendly
Some bunnies chew or dig or destroy. Some are perfectly litter trained. Some leave that “surprise” poop on the carpet. These are the things bunnies do. Accepting and even loving their habits is part of our job as companions. A surprise poop flying out of their butt as they jump out of the litter box…you gotta laugh. Right?
Although not everything they do is cute or funny, the responsibility is on you to make their areas as bunny proof and safe as possible for you and them. Getting angry doesn’t solve anything. Some tips on keeping everyone in the house happy.
Get rid of or protect table lamp cords. If you can, replace the table lamp with something on the wall or in the ceiling.
Keep your phone charging and computer cords totally hidden or protected. If your lagomorph companion chews them, he’s not trying to annoy you - he’s clearing roots out of his warren.
Rabbits seem drawn to anything with buttons or keys, like remote controls, keyboards and other small objects. Keep these out of easy reach.
If you like your baseboards as they are, protect them. Or accept that you might have to replace them when you sell the house.
Give them plenty of surfaces to chew. A block made of untreated kiln-dried pine or untreated willow will keep bunny happy until the edges or bark is gone. Move on to woven hay mats or cardboard. Be sure the willow is from a reputable bunny store. WIllow baskets made for people use may be coated with a something not safe for chewing.
Give them plenty of toys to play with, plastic cups to toss, bowls to push around, so they focus on themselves.
Remove all plants within range of their periscoping and jumping height. Plants can be poisonous.
Protect your books by putting them on high shelves. Rabbits love to eat the spines.
Be sure to have a safe place for them at night while they are not being monitored. An enclosure or a single room that is free of destruction possibilities.
Block tight places where they can get stuck like the back of the couch with a barrier or rolled towel.
If your rabbits aren’t all bonded, consider separate enclosures to avoid territorial conflict such as marking one’s territory with poop or pee. Likewise, give each rabbit a special time to be out for exercise without the stress of another rabbit in their exercise space.
Where to get Tips and Tricks
There are many places on the internet to get ideas for making your home safe for bunnies and annoyance-proof for you. It does take a little thought and work, but so do bunnies. They are not an easy first-time pet.
But once you’ve got the hang of your rabbit’s psyche, the stress level on both sides will go down. Be mindful in your interactions and understand that it’s the rabbit’s home too. This may require compromises. “You give me your baseboard? I’ll give you your carpet.” Whatever the trade is, know that you both have to give a little to find the joy of a rabbit/human companion relationship. It is worth the effort.