Pet Rabbit Care Top Tips – Toys

Environmental Enrichment and Toys


Parts 1 and 2Fig3 in this series have provided top tips for the budget conscious bunny owner on how to enrich their pet’s quality of life. In this article, find out what environmental enrichment you can provide for your pet rabbits without breaking the bank.

Enclosure enrichment

  • Hanging – get yourself some zip ties or natural twine from the local discount store and hang toys around the enclosure for bunny to nibble on. Putting them at differing heights encourages bunny to ‘periscope’ or stretch up on the hind legs, which is vital for navigating their surroundings for potential predators.
  • Platforms – many bunnies who are kept in a single level hutch and no tall exercise area to stretch up to or platforms to jump upon, have trouble with hind limb strength, so it is important to provide different platforms to enable them to be able to hop up to a lookout post. For example: tree trunk sections, shoe boxes with lids on, upturned terracotta plant pots, children’s bathroom stools, wooden boxes, stools from car boot sales and charity shops, sturdy baskets upside down, plastic cat or dog beds upside down, and even small ‘nest of table’ type items that can act as boltholes as well as look out platforms. If your rabbit’s housing is large enough, pop in a couple of chairs, either wooden or children’s plastic garden ones, for jumping on, hiding under, and serving hay or food on. If they are slippery, try gluing a piece of old carpet or doormat to them. Watch bunny doesn’t eat these though, as they can cause impactions in the stomach.
  • Litter trays – it is recommended to litter tray train your pet rabbits for improved housing hygiene and to prevent urine scalding and the deadly condition flystrike, caused by bunnies getting their bottom ends damp and smelly from sitting in soiled bedding. You don’t have to spend a lot – have a scour in the garage or car boot sales for second hand cat litter trays, plastic beds, shallow storage baskets or washing up bowls for the purpose.
  •  It is a good idea to litter tray train your pet rabbits

    It is a good idea to litter tray train your pet rabbits

  • Soft bedding – outdoor rabbits, just like house dwellers, may like a particular cushion, second hand cat igloo bed, blanket or towel to snuggle up to or dig in for hidden food items. Again, watch with keen chewers.
  • Boltholes – it is important to always ensure bunny has at least one ‘bolthole’ in their enclosure to retreat to in the face of a perceived threat. They need to have somewhere they can run to in the face of danger or when they feel frightened for whatever reason. Commercially made tiny hutches make suitable boltholes, as do cat carriers, kitchen bins on their side, storage boxes tipped on their side, and cardboard boxes with a hole cut into one side. For these, you can also add a tunnel (commercially made or recycled – small bunnies may fit into guttering piping, and larger bunnies into old chimney pots for example) at the entrance to the bolthole, giving the impression of a burrow.

Natural instincts

The first part, ‘oryct’ of the rabbit’s Latin name ‘Oryctolagus cuniculus’ derives from the Greek word for ‘to dig’. The ‘cuniculus’ part means ‘to burrow’ in Latin.

 Rabbits will take in more water from a bowl than a dropper style bottle

Rabbits will take in more water from a bowl than a dropper style bottle


I highly recommend bowls for drinking water, as it has been proven in studies that rabbits intake more water from a bowl than a dropper style bottle and is more natural for them to lap from below than a heightened bottle. For maximum water intake which has urinary tract health benefits, why not offer both a bowl and a bottle?

Loo roll kebabs

Whilst saving money and the planet, ask neighbours and family to collect used loo or kitchen roll tubes. You can do various things with these to create bunny games:

  • Simply place in the enclosure or cage for chewing
  • Stuff with hay
  • With the twine from the discount store, get a screwdriver or even a pen, to make holes in a few loo roll tubes, to connect together, creating a hanging mobile of loo roll tubes – sprinkle these with treats, dried leaves and pellets then stuff a wad of shredded paper or hay at either end so bunny knows there is a reward in there somewhere. These bring owners hours of pleasure and lots of giggles and brilliant photo opportunities!

Treat balls

You can find plastic dog and cat treat balls in discount stores and these can make perfect toys for our rabbits. Place their daily ration of pellets inside, and watch them work for the meal. As with all enrichment ideas, toys and games, rotate these – so don’t give them a treat ball every day or it will become boring. You may find a commercial wire treat ball a good investment as it doesn’t get eaten or destroyed like other commercial or plastic items may. These are like a mini hanging basket and can be filled with hay, veg, or treats and hung from the roof of the enclosure or the door of a hutch. If you are crafty you could even make your own version of this with some meshing, just be careful of sharp edges.

If you frequent fast food restaurants like too many of us do, recycle and bring the boxes and paper cups home – rinse them out and offer food in them, watch bunny get the cup stuck on their head as they nuzzle for the food! Also, I use the ‘large’ drink cups for portion control – I separate out my veg for patients in the hospital and solo foster bunnies I have, one cup per average sized bunny per day works out about the right amount of recommended vegetables! Easy!

You can find toys for your rabbit in car boot sales and charity shops

You can find toys for your rabbit in car boot sales and charity shops

Noisy toys

Most bunnies will happily throw around a piece of rolled up paper or a plastic yoghurt pot, as well as noisy toys, that you can buy, or again recycle – scour car boot sales and charity shops for children’s rattles, cat toys with bells in and similar, even cuddly toys can be readily ‘groomed’ by especially solo bunnies. DIY rattles can be created by filling a used small pop bottle with a few pieces of dry pasta.

Bird items

Many garden centres and discount stores have sales in the wintertime for garden bird items that are out of demand until the spring comes. Grass bird houses and even the mesh style nut feeders can be filled with treats for your rabbit, again, either free to throw about or hung on the run or hutch.

Football (or noseball!)

Many rabbits will nudge a cheap or second hand football around the garden, encouraging exercise and mental stimulation.

Dog toys

There are rubber dog toys that are designed to be filled with a paste or wet dog food – many dogs get bored of these, so if yours has done so, don’t throw it away – pop some pellets inside with a stuff of hay in the opening, and watch bunny throw it around!


We hope that you found this article series useful, and are now ready to try out lots of new ideas to make your pet rabbits’ lives more fun!