By Chelsea Mattson

Rabbits are intelligent creatures that become very bored, very easily. Boredom often leads to destructive behaviors that may cause property damage. This is affectionately known as *bunstruction.* Digging, foraging, and chewing are how these animals explore and personalize their world, and they absolutely need outlets for those instincts. Here are some options for providing rabbits with enrichment that satisfies the need for bunstruction in a way that is safe for rabbits and acceptable for humans.


Rabbits love to eat. Having to work for their meals will help keep them fit and their minds active. Examples of foraging methods include:

Snuffle mats – These are either hay mats with lots of tufts on them, or fleece mats with lots of ruffles sewn onto them. The fleece mats are marketed for dogs, but can provide a bit of a puzzle for your rabbit. Just sprinkle their pellets, some dried herbs, or pieces of their normal treats into the mat, hiding them in the fabric for your bunny to sniff out. These can be DIY’d by crumpling up a fleece blanket and scattering the chosen reward in the folds.

Treat Balls – This is another item often marketed for dogs, but rabbits can learn to roll around a ball with a hole to dispense their pellets. (There are brands for small pets as well.) This toy can be a great way to feed pellets to those rabbits who like to eat their meals in a hurry. Slower feeding prevents choking, and rolling the ball around gets the bun moving. Movement increases gut motility, which is helpful in preventing GI Stasis.

Scatter feeding – Ditching the bowl and just spreading pellets or greens across the floor is a great way to encourage slower eating, get the bun moving, and keep one rabbit from hogging the bowl or plate. You can scatter in a designated area to monitor feeding, or hide snacks throughout their space to encourage more stimulation.

Stacking cups – Babies love stacking stacking cups, but so do rabbits! Putting a few pellets, some forage, or a treat or two into a stack of baby stacking cups will make their brains work hard. Also, rabbits really seem to like to throw things or knock them down.

Chew toys – Chew toys are essential to a rabbit’s dental health, and also a great outlet for frustration! Some examples of acceptable chews are loofah, balsa wood (or other safe wood), kiln-dried pine, apple sticks, mulberry wood, willow balls, hay wreaths, dried sunflower stalks, bamboo, seagrass twists, and plain cardboard. Rabbits will throw their chews around, play with them, and gnaw away their troubles. Please make sure you’re offering a variety every day. More importantly, make sure your chews are safe! There are a variety of toxic woods, unsafe pet store chews, and unsafe ingredients out there.

Puzzle Toys – Yet another dog toy! Rabbits can learn to use dog puzzle toys in order to get to food rewards. Choose ones with pull-out cups or easy-to-move parts so that they can dig or toss their way to the goodies you add.

DIY Foraging Toys – A paper bag, toilet paper tube, paper towel tube, or a plain cardboard box can be turned into a foraging toy with the addition of some hay. Just stuff them full, add a treat, pellets, or dried herbs if you’d like, and let your bunny figure it out.


Rabbits very much enjoy digging. It’s an instinct to burrow and make themselves comfortable, and a great way to release frustration. Here are some alternatives to them tearing into your carpet…

No-pill Fleece Blankets – A pile of no-pill fleece blankets, or even just one balled up in their pen or hidey house, makes a great digging material. Rabbits will love digging, pushing, or moving the blankets around and making a cozy bed.

Dig Boxes – There are a variety of safe materials to put inside of a box to provide a digging space for your rabbit. Some of these include: Paper crinkle bedding, Cardboard (tp rolls, torn boxes, etc.), No-pill fleece scraps, No-pill fleece blankets, plastic ball pit balls, pet-safe vine balls, Organic soil without added fertilizers, Carefresh Bedding, Straw or hay. Please make sure the materials you choose are safe! DO NOT use sand in a dig box, as it potentially could cause impaction if your rabbit ingests it while grooming themselves, or an infection if it sticks to their genitals. Please supervise the use of a dig box to ensure the rabbit isn’t ingesting unsafe materials.


Rabbits love to hide. They especially enjoy it if their houses have at least 2 or more exits, as they don’t like to be cornered.

Wood houses – These should be made of a safe wood, such as kiln-dried pine. Please make sure that the house has more than one entrance or exit, and is made without nails, screws, or toxic glues. They can be as simple as a box with holes, or as extravagant as a bunny castle.

Cardboard – Plain cardboard boxes (no adhesives, labels, coatings, or tape) are a safe material to DIY houses for rabbits. Add a couple openings to the box and let your rabbit become a bunstruction worker!

Fabric Tunnels – Rabbits enjoy a good cat or toddler pop-up tunnel. After you remove any hanging bits, insert a fleece blanket or two into the tunnel for them to dig around in inside. Bonus points if you put their cardboard boxes or wooden houses at the ends, so that they have a burrow system! Please make sure they aren’t chewing the walls, and remove the tunnel if they try to ingest it.


Some items in a rabbit’s cage are for after the bunstruction has taken place. When it’s time to take a break, here are some things to help them feel more comfortable…

Stuffed animals – A safe stuffed animal can provide comfort to a rabbit who just wants to cuddle. Please make sure that you are giving plushies without parts that can be chewed off, such as plastic eyes, whiskers, or loose threads. If your rabbit starts to chew the toy, please take it away.

Bumper / hop-n-flop beds – Beds with bumpers on either side provide a feeling of comfort to a rabbit because it feels like they’ve got others around them. Rabbits are social creatures, and cuddling helps them to get a better rest. This feeling can be simulated with one of these beds.


Rabbits can be trained to perform several tricks. They can learn to come when called, give high-5s, spin, stand up to beg for treats, play find-the-treat with a few cups, or many other activities. Spend time with your rabbit and see what natural behaviors you could ask for.


Rabbits are social creatures. Another rabbit is a playmate, cuddle buddy, and dinner date. Having a rabbit friend to interact with is a great way to reduce boredom. When rabbits are lonely, destructive behaviors can increase out of frustration. Proper bonding is important, so please make sure to reference knowledgeable parties on how to do this safely. Also, make sure you are spending plenty of time interacting with your rabbit! They need your love, too.

A note on edible and inedible materials:

The safest materials for ingesting on this list are grass hay and safe woods. We already know that anti-pill fleece fabric and plastic are unsafe to ingest, and if the rabbit chews them they should be removed from the pen. However, it is also important to note that large amounts of cardboard or paper should not be ingested by rabbits. Most often, a rabbit will rip and gnaw at cardboard and paper, and maybe a small amount will be ingested. If your rabbit becomes greedy and starts deliberately eating large amounts of cardboard or paper, please choose a different material for their enrichment. Ingesting a significant amount of cardboard or paper can run a risk of intestinal blockages. Please make sure the cardboard and paper you are offering has minimal ink (printing/color), isn’t bleached, has no coatings or sprays, and has no tape or adhesives.