Make Your Own Homemade Rabbit Toys
Making Your Own Rabbit Toys
Rabbits need toys too! Thankfully, they're easy and fun to make, an you'll get lots of ideas here.
Sometimes it seems that rabbits are the most forgotten pet in the house. Usually quiet, they can't bark or meow to get your attention and they're often locked in cages where they aren't noticed until feeding time. Just because rabbits are quiet, though, doesn't mean they aren't intelligent, playful creatures. In fact, rabbits are very smart, and can get health problems from lack of mental stimulation.
That's where toys come in. Rabbits need toys even more than cats or dogs that at least have windows to look out and space to roam. There aren't a lot of rabbit toys on the market, though, and the ones that are out there are usually expensive and poor quality. That's why I made this page. There are numerous toys you can make that your rabbit will love, and best of all, they're so cheap to make that you can make a ton of them, so you can switch out the bunny toys as your rabbit gets bored or destroys them.
Always be cautious when your rabbits play with any toys. No toy is perfectly safe. Supervision and common sense are a must! Only use materials that won't hurt the rabbits, especially if they chew.
Make a Tunnel for Your Bunny
In nature, rabbits like to burrow, so tunnels make popular toys.
One way to make a tunnel for your rabbit is to use a piece of poster board— you can even recycle one that you used for a garage sale sign. Grab it by the short edge, and bring it around so it matches up with the other short side and forms a tube. Using a stapler, attach the two edges. You'll want to cover the staples with tape to soften sharp edges and prevent injury. You can also cover one end with a circle cut from another piece of poster board—some rabbits like the feeling of being closed in and others don't, so see what works best for your rabbit.
Another idea for a tunnel is to just use one of those cement mold cardboard tubes you find at home improvement stores. They're sturdy enough to hold up well to the bunny's play.
Rabbits love to chew and will chew on everything from food bowls to their cages and even themselves if they don't have anything else. Giving them something to gnaw on offers them a way to keep their teeth in good shape without endangering themselves.
Wood Chew Toys. Though many rabbits love to chew on baseboards, some don't prefer wood. They each have their own personalities, though, so yours might just love a branch to chew on. You can also find a block of wood and either set it in the cage or bolt it to the cage wall. Only use wood that is safe for rabbits, though. Avoid chemically treated wood at all costs! Untreated pine in small amounts is okay, and a few of the fruit trees, but never let them chew on branches or twigs from apricot, cherry, plum, or peach trees, and not redwood trees either. I've heard lots of people say apple branches and twigs are okay, and if you use them sparingly you should be fine, but they are a member of the same family as the other dangerous fruit trees, so use with caution. Most people use apple, pine, or willow for their rabbit toys, and that is typically what commercial toys are made of as well.
Paper or Cardboard Chews. You can also give your rabbits cardboard to chew on. Toilet paper tubes are extremely popular, as are cylindrical oatmeal boxes. A thoroughly cleaned out cardboard salt container with the metal parts removed can be fun as well. I also like to take random pieces of cardstock from bills and other places, the ones I would normally just toss into the recycling bin, and fold them up or crumple them and toss them for the rabbits to play with and chew on. Most rabbits love these most of all, and either toss them in the air or just sit and rip them apart. Don't use any glossy papers though, since they can contain too much dangerous ink.
Cardboard Rabbit Castle
Don't toss out those cardboard boxes too soon. Rabbits love to play hide-and-seek, and a cardboard box is the perfect venue for a fun game.
You can just toss an old box on the floor for them, but with a few additions and modifications, that cardboard box will be even more fun: Cut a hole in each side of the box, big enough for the rabbit to squeeze through, and then add a few smaller holes scattered around the sides so the rabbit can peek out. You can even connect a few of these boxes by cutting holes, lining them up to make passages to neighboring boxes. Bunnies like these but many take a little bit of time to get brave enough to play in them.
Toilet Paper Tubes
Many bunny owners know that rabbits love toilet paper tubes and will invent all sorts of games with the empties, but if your bun starts getting bored with the regular empty rolls, try to mix it up a little. Do one of the things below and see what your rabbit thinks.
- Stuff the tube with hay or grass—rabbits love to pull the pieces out.
- Cut the tube into rings—these are fun to toss about.
- Hang the tube by a string—bunnies love to push these around.
Try to come up with a few other uses for the toilet paper tubes. They're free and easy to work with and rabbits have lots of fun with them.
Toilet Paper Tube Ideas
Though these are called cat toys, my rabbits often snag them right from under the noses of my cats, so I think they almost work better as rabbit toys.
- DIY Toy Out of a Toilet Paper Tube
Though this article is titled making a cat toy, it is great for bunnies as well. Rabbits love to bat this toy around and watch it spin across the floor. The toy reacts differently than normal shaped toilet paper tubes, so its actions are fascinating.
- Make Free Toys from Toilet Paper Rolls
This toy comes from something you probably throw away. It only takes a few minutes and a pair of scissors to have some fun homemade toys.
Balls and huts made out of woven willow twigs are great fun for most rabbits. You can weave them together yourself, just find some willow trees and pick a few twigs and twine them in and out of each other. Or you could re-purpose some willow balls from a craft store. They have piles of all different shapes and sizes. Make sure you do not get any that are lacquered, though— if it has a high gloss on the surface, choose another type. They're also fairly inexpensive if you want to just pick some up from the pet store.
Rabbit Rag Dolls
If you have old, clean rags, especially legs from jeans, you can make you rabbit a rag doll.
It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Just take a scrap of sturdy cloth, tie a knot in the middle, and toss it to your bunny. They love to toss the toy around and play tug with it. Since some like to rip it to shreds. It's best to be cautious and remove the toy if they rip up too much, since the fabric particles might not be good for them.
Small stuffed animals can lots of fun, too. Remove any eyes or loose pieces though, and get rid of them if they start to get torn up.
Most rabbits love playing with bath towels. Dragging them around, sitting on them, even digging on them, bath towels are lots of fun for rabbits, though make sure to wash them regularly, as many rabbits also really like peeing on them.
Bunnies Like Ripping Up Phone Books
Something about paper makes bunnies want to tear it up and phone books are full of paper that they have to rip from the binding so it's even more fun.
Household Items That Make Good Toys
- Crumpled paper bag
- Old phone book
- Old paper boxes
- Pieces of cardboard or empty chunks from cereal boxes folded in odd shapes
- Empty spools of thread
- Hay, alfalfa, or timothy
- Old wicker baskets
- Retired cat toys, stuffed animals, or baby toys
- Cardboard egg cartons
- Empty oatmeal canisters
- Milk jug rings
- Wicker paper plate holders
Any ball can be made into a rabbit toy. They seem to love rolling them along the floor and occasionally swatting them. Look for a few balls around the house, but remember to guard carefully against them chewing on their new toy. Most balls are rubber or plastic, so you need to watch them carefully so they don't ingest any.
Many rabbits like the little balls with bells in them. For some reason bunnies often like the sound of bells, and so will have a ball pawing their little toy around.
A nice natural wood ball is best, but almost impossible to find. Only use wood that's safe for rabbits to chew on, and avoid lacquers. You may even be able to find a natural chunk of wood with a roundish form that you can shape into a ball using sandpaper.
Small Plastic Bottles
Small plastic bottles, like those for sodas and water, make nice rabbit toys. Empty them, put the caps back on, and then give them to your rabbit. Especially on a linoleum floor, pushing around a plastic bottle is lots of fun for your furry friend. This isn't recommended if your rabbit is a big chewer though, and don't let them have the bottles if they start chewing on the plastic.
Grass Play Things
Dried grasses are a bunny's best friend. They seem to love everything about stuff made of dried grass: the smell, look, texture, and even the taste.
Items made of dried grass will be extremely popular with your fluffy butts, but remember, part of the fun is tearing them up.
Make a Grass Mat
If you have some bunny-safe grasses in your area, you may want to try your hand at weaving a grass mat. Don't worry too much if it doesn't turn out pretty, your bunnies won't care what it looks like. To get the grasses you could let a small patch of your lawn grow out and become tall enough for weaving or just use some pieces of hay or straw, then weave the pieces in and out like a basket until it's in a mat-like shape. Whatever it turns out like, I'm sure your rabbit will love it.
The great outdoors can be a wonderfully thrilling place for your rabbit. A safe and secure fenced backyard with appropriate oversight by a human is a place where your bunny can eat grass and dig to their heart's content.
There are numerous folding animal playpens that you can unfold and set on the grass so your pet can run around inside in relative safety. You can also you a large cage and set it on the lawn so the grass comes through the bottom. This will keep your bunny safer than the open-top playpens. You can even use a leash. Rabbits are easily leash-trained, and though you can walk them like a dog, you can hold the end of the leash and follow behind them as they explore.
Whatever way you let them explore the outdoors, make sure you are very careful. Lots of things like to eat rabbits and if you aren't watching you might lose your bunny. There are even stories of people holding their bunnies and getting attacked by dogs, so always be aware of your surroundings. Also, the sun may feel good to you, but rabbits are extremely sensitive to heat and vulnerable to dehydration, indoor ones especially, but all of them will die if they get too hot. Make sure they have some sort of shade and access to water and that you take them inside if it gets too hot for them. Even if they're playing outside for a few minutes they should have a container to drink from.
Enjoy the outdoors occasionally, but do it safely.
Indoor Grass Lawn
If you can't let your bunny have outdoor time, you may want to grow her some grass of her own. Any sort of plastic pan will work as a planter and then just start some grass seed in it in some dirt and keep it watered. When the grass is nice and tall, give it to your pet as a nice treat.
Alfalfa should always be part of your bunny's diet as well, and moving hay racks can be lots of fun for them.
Recycled Cat Toys
Many cat toys make wonderful rabbit toys as well. Anyone with house rabbits and cats knows this since often rabbits will snatch the cat's toys right from their furry mitts.
Be cautious when if giving your rabbits cat toys, since some of them will be dangerous if chewed on. Make sure the toy is appropriate before you let your rabbit pretend he's a kitty cat!
Empty cereal boxes make great toys. Simply cut them up the middle so the rabbits can't get their heads stuck inside and then toss the boxes down on the floor. They love light things that are easy to pick up and toss, and cereal boxes work great for that. Try stuffing them with grass for some extra fun.
Setting a mirror down on the floor against a wall can really interest your rabbit. They are territorial and so become very intent when they spot another bunny, even if that bunny is their own reflection. Once they realize that bunny they see has no scent and moves just like them, they may become fascinated by the new experience.