Why Do Rabbits Chew?

By Katie Boron

There are several different reasons why rabbits chew on things. The most obvious reason is that it is simply a natural behavior for them. Rabbits have teeth that are constantly growing, and chewing can help to prevent them from getting too long. However, chewing can sometimes become excessive.

One reason behind excessive chewing may be boredom. Rabbits that lack enrichment or do not have a rabbit friend to keep them entertained are likely to chew things that they shouldn’t. Another factor that can contribute to boredom is a living space that is too small. Rabbits that have more freedom are less likely to be destructive. Having several different toys can also keep rabbits entertained and distract them from chewing on things, especially if you occasionally swap out old toys for new ones to keep things interesting. Not all rabbits like the same toys and some can be very picky with what they play with, so you may need to try several different toys before finding the right ones. In addition to providing plenty of toys, it is always a great idea to ensure that your rabbit has a companion of its own species. As humans, we cannot provide the same type of companionship or entertainment that another rabbit can.

In some cases, excessive chewing can be a hormonal issue. Rabbits that are not spayed or neutered are likely to engage in undesirable behaviors such as chewing. Getting a rabbit spayed or neutered by a trusted exotic vet can usually lead to a decrease in these behaviors. Below, we’ve listed some things that rabbits are prone to chewing and what you can do to help.


A lot of rabbits love chewing on phone chargers and other cables found throughout the house. This can be expensive for rabbit guardians as chewed cables will need to be replaced, but more importantly, it is dangerous for rabbits. A rabbit that chews through a cable will get an electrical shock that can cause a variety of injuries, from burns in the mouth to heart damage or even sudden death, depending on how high the voltage is. In some cases, usually with low voltage cables like iphone chargers, rabbits can remain unharmed, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Thankfully, there are ways to prevent your cables from being destroyed. The most popular method used by rabbit guardians is using cord covers. There are several different types of cord covers, and many of them are affordable. Cord covers made of a woven material are a great option for rabbits that like to chew because they are durable and tend not to become damaged by chewing as easily as plastic cord covers.

Baseboards and Furniture

It can turn into a huge problem if your rabbit chews your baseboards, especially if you live in an apartment or a rental property. In rescue, we see so many people returning or surrendering their rabbits for chewing baseboards. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t immediately start looking for a new home for your rabbit - there is always another solution! Instead, try covering your baseboards. Some rabbit guardians line their baseboards C&C grids to prevent chewing. If you don’t like the way that the regular metal grids look, you can purchase transparent plastic grids that will work just as well.
Furniture can be a little bit trickier to protect, but it is definitely possible to minimize the damage that your rabbits can do. If you have a rabbit that likes to rip up couches, you can use couch covers. These come in a variety of different patterns and styles and help protect the couch’s fabric.
Another option would be to supervise your rabbit’s free roam time or block off rooms that contain furniture your rabbits enjoy chewing on. If you have the space in your house, you could also give your rabbits their very own room and remove furniture that is frequently chewed.

Blankets and Rugs

Almost everyone who has rabbits has a collection of tattered blankets that their rabbits decided to eat instead of snuggle with. While you can’t do much to stop this, you can make sure that you are providing your rabbits with safe materials if they are prone to ingesting fabric. Generally, fleece blankets are a safe option. Due to its short fibers, fleece is unlikely to cause a blockage when ingested. As for rugs, buying rugs with shorter fibers can make it more difficult for rabbits to pull the fibers out. In my personal experience, I have found that my rabbits like to tear up rugs that have loops or long fibers.

House Plants

The majority of house plants are not rabbit safe, but if they are within reach, rabbits will usually try to eat them. As a rule, if you are growing a plant and you aren’t 100% certain that it is safe for rabbits, you should keep it in an area that your rabbits cannot get to. Some popular houseplants that are poisonous to rabbits include:
Rubber plant
Peace lilies
English Ivy
ZZ plants
Chinese evergreen (mildly toxic, likely to cause mouth irritation or GI upset)
Spider plant
This list does not include every poisonous indoor plant. For additional information, I recommend checking out Rabbit Hole Hay’s eating guide on their website, which lists a large variety of foods and plants that are toxic to rabbits: https://eatingguide.rabbitholehay.com/articles/Indoor+Plants/