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  • Writer's pictureGail Petersen

Toys for Girls and Boys

There is no end to the different tastes that our rabbits have for toys. Some like to chew, some dig, some shred, some toss, some could care less. So what do you look for to keep your fur babies engaged and active?

Whose Toys are Who’s?

Bri is a total chewer. Before we got wise, she did a number on all our baseboards and terry rugs. We put down Bri barriers so she had to find other munchies. She loves wood. My husband, Bill, has cut wood into sticks and bars and hooked them on to the pen walls so they would be still while she chews. If her chew toy moves, she gets frustrated and leaves it. But she loves cardboard too…but only certain kinds. Argh! It is like being a sommelier for wood.

She used to chew her blankets, rugs, fleeces, everything. Her pen was bare for a while until we figured out what was safe. It is ok if they chew, but not if they ingest. She did both, but on different materials.

After four years, she stopped eating blankets and fleece. She LOVES willow baskets, rabbit safe wooden sticks, anything willow. She ingests it, which for her, is good because it moves her food through. If she ever feels blocked up, we provide an unvarnished willow basket, and it increases poop production by increasing her fiber.

Every Bunny is Different

My other buns have different opinions. Lena doesn’t care about toys at all. She doesn’t chew or pull or throw or bother with anything. She has toys but never touches them. She doesn’t chew willow or fabrics.

Our earlier buns, Bear and Honey, who passed over the Rainbow Bridge several years ago, were big toy players.

Bear’s favorite toy was his baby keys. He tossed them to me and I tossed them back and he tossed them back. He threw them in his water bowl, his salad bowl, his litterbox, his bed…he pushed them around for great fun. He ruffed up his blankets and then jumped on them like the two were in battle. He was a runner – back and forth, back and forth from room to room. Then he’d just stop and flop.

Honey was our wild child. She loved her boxes. She chewed and chewed until an entire box was physically gone. Ingesting it all. Of course we only gave her things with no ink print and safe. She loved paper bags, hard plastic balls and anything else she could throw. She was a bowl clinker too – saying, “Hey Mom, where is the food?” or “wake up Mom…I’m sure it is time for breakfast.” She was the beginning of me understanding rabbit communication. “Get with it mom…I’m hungry.” “I need some fiber or a toy.” She brought us such joy through this education. Always making us laugh out loud.

What are Safe Toys?

You’re probably thinking, what is safe and what isn’t. Here’s some basic rules:

· Watch for choking hazards. No pieces that can be bitten off and chewed or swallowed

· No paint or coloring that can be ingested – no colored wood

· No wood that is not healthy wood (

· Different kinds of hay can be a great chew outlet. Oat, meadow…try something in addition to the regular Timothy.

· Toilet rolls with no glue strips on them – stuff them with hay

· Baby keys and rings made with hard plastic that can’t be impacted by chewing

· Boxes…lots and lots of cardboard boxes with no tape, glue, or stickers

· Corrugated cardboard sheets…they love to rip them and eat them

· Paper. Brown paper, shredded paper, ripped paper. Put in a box makes a great digging adventure!

Most importantly watch your rabbits when they play and what works for them and what doesn’t. Sounds can be fun, a squeaky toy, and so can roly poly things.

Human Play

I play with my fur kids. I lay on the floor and let them climb on me, sniff, and nip my clothes. It is a good adventure for them. Every day is different because they have different smells from your clothes. Let them jump on your tummy, your feet, your back. Be there on the floor where

they can find out about you. It makes you closer and I know some people don’t have time. But the time you take to watch tv at night, don’t lay on the couch, lay on the floor and let them come to you. Your relationship will grow much closer.

Teaching Them to Play

Rocky and Gigi are learning to play. Gigi binkied 13 times today with me on the floor with her. She liked the exploration or my feet and my hair. She licked my eyebrows and jumped on my back. Rocky can’t binky but he is curious. He is a good sniffer and loves to explore my face when I hold him every day.

For me, I have found that alternating toys is most important. They get bored very quickly. So, trade out one toy for another, then put the old one back. They don’t know and it is different for them. I throw a rag or a towel on the floor. That fun lasts for a day or two. Be creative, or not. A toy is something that they can throw or lift or push. As long as it is safe.

The best are most often the simplest. They all LOVE a paper bag! (you can now

buy on-line if your grocery store is no longer giving them out). Just be sure to get "food safe" ones.

Remember: Just because it has a picture of a rabbit on the package or says it is made for rabbits – Does NOT mean it is safe for your rabbit! Know the source and materials used.

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