I’ve owned house rabbits for years and while I love my bunnies to death, I’m the first to admit they are incredibly destructive pets. They chew wires, nibble on furniture, chow down on bamboo and raffia baskets, and generally eat their way through anything they can get their little teeth on. That’s why, when I first got my new rabbits I made sure they had tons of free or cheap toys to play with, so they wouldn’t be chewing my furniture.
Some of the free or cheap toys I’ve given my house rabbits are probably things you may have thought of, whereas others might just surprise you as they aren’t usually associated with a bunny toy. The only rule of thumb I have for any toys I give to my bunnies, however, is that they must be free or inexpensive, be lots of fun to play with and, of course, safe for a rabbit to chew.
That being said, if you are looking for ideas for free or cheap toys that will stop your house rabbit chewing furniture, why not try these?
Cardboard box castle – While most house rabbit owners know their rabbits love chewing cardboard boxes, I go one step further with mine and buy two cardboard boxes that I then tape together to make a cardboard box castle.
Cut a hole in the bottom of one of the boxes big enough for your bunnies to fit through, and cut the same sized hole in the top of the other box. Then tape the boxes securely together making sure that the holes are above and below each other. Cut windows in each box and a door in the bottom one.
Make a cardboard ramp wide enough for your rabbit to climb (I make mine out of four pieces of cardboard glued together) and glue that to the floor of the bottom box, making sure it’s also attached to the hole in the top box so your rabbit can climb up the ramp and onto the second floor. My rabbits love these and, even with their voracious chewing, they still last 3-4 weeks before I have to make another one.
Two boxes cost about $3 here in Thailand but, if you ask at your local supermarket, you can often get them for free.
Toilet roll tubes – One awesome free toy for a house rabbit is the cardboard tube inside a roll of toilet paper. I stuff them with timothy hay and then poke holes in them with a pencil and thread ribbons through the holes that I then tie in a bow. My rabbits will spend ages eating the timothy hay, rolling the tube around the floor or throwing it at each other, and gnawing on the ribbons.
Straw hats – Straw hats, as long as they are untreated and unpainted, are fabulous chew toys for a house rabbit. I buy several at a time at a local Bangkok market and give a new hat to my bunnies to play with every week. They pull them around the floor, sit on them, eat them and generally abuse them until they’re falling apart and I have to give them a new one. Just a few dollars each, and your rabbit will get hours of entertainment out of one. Plus, they’re so big, two or three rabbits can eat them at the same time.
Baby rattles – You can buy extremely inexpensive plastic baby rattles for young babies that are a perfect size for a pet rabbit. I just picked up three at my local supermarket last week and they were all priced around two dollars each. While my rabbits hate it when a sound occurs unexpectedly, if they are the ones making the sound, they’re as happy as clams.
Baby balls – Colorful balls for babies and made out of soft fabric or terry cloth are fun things for your house rabbit to throw around. They are much more lightweight than a rubber ball and, as they are made of fabric, can also easily be picked up in a bunny’s mouth.
Squeaky rubber bath toys – Back to the baby toys again, and this time I also buy squeaky rubber bath toys for my rabbits to play with. They drag them all over the floor trying to make them squeak and then bite into them to make sure they do. Again, just a couple of dollars each and my rabbits currently have ducks, a chicken, a pig in a bath, and a penguin on a life raft.
Books – I buy a lot of second-hand books and, once I’ve finished reading them, I pass most of them onto my rabbits who love ripping them up and chewing through them. Just watch them occasionally to make sure they’re not eating much of the book, but I’ve found with mine around 95 percent of the book ends up in tiny pieces on the cage floor with only 5 percent possibly being ingested by them. Even with the ink on them, my vet has told me they’re perfectly safe as long as they’re not eating the entire book.
Paper grocery bags – A paper grocery bag is the perfect size for a medium or small-sized rabbit, as they fit in it easily, can hide in it if they want to, or push it around the floor with their heads. As a last resort, they can even rip it to shreds. Mine play with one a couple of times a week and love them.
For more hints for free or cheap rabbit toys that will stop your house rabbit eating furniture, think about small items made of wood, straw, wicker or raffia (as long as they are untreated with varnish or paint), anything made out of paper or cardboard and many items made for babies or toddlers.