How Do You Play With a Bunny?
By: Traci Frees, Founder of BunnyNature.org
The simplest way to describe bunny play style is Gentle Exploration.
Bunnies love to play. They will kick up their heals, run, frolic, burrow in blankets, dig holes outside, and enjoy forts all when they feel safe.We must learn what our bunny likes and dislikes by observing her behavior. Of course, there are no laws when it comes to behavior, but there are some basic bunny tendencies. Following are some lessons learned from our bunnies.
Bunnies are very curious and will want to investigate, but they rarely like to be chased. Remember, bunnies are prey in the wild and even when they chase each other around eventually someone will get spooked and the play will abruptly stop to ensure everyone is safe. Bunnies enjoy gentle exploration.
Some bunnies may enjoy more vigorous play while others can scare easily, so we must adapt our play style with our little friend. Most like soft, safe play. Bunnies are not built like cats, they are not predators. Many bunnies don’t like to play rough, wrestle, fetch, or hunt anything since their bodies are delicate. Most bunnies are not sure what to do with most ropes and other toys made for dogs or cats.
They do like to play with empty toilet paper rolls and dig in blankets. Sometimes they will take a chew log or other small item and toss it up in the air. We should be impressed by this demonstration of their feat of strength. Don’t be surprised if a bunny’s attention span for playing is not very long.
Bunnies really like when we help them build a fort to play in made out of blankets, towels, or even cardboard boxes. They can get under the fort with them so they can hide from danger. Just make sure they can’t get trapped.Make sure there are no electrical cords or house plants for me to chew. Keep a bunny potty in the same room, so the bunny can jump in it when they need to use it. This will help me keep our house tidy.
When they’ve played for a bit, then it’s time to rest. Bunnies can easily overheat, so they must rest a while and let the heat leave their bodies through their cooling ears. When we allow a bunny some supervised exploration time in our house, they will often find coffee tables or end tables to hide under.
If there is a safe place for a bunny to dig, let them! A hold can always be filled in and grass can always grow back. Digging helps wear down their claws and teeth. It is also great exercise. Bunnies dig and live in holes in the wild, so stand back and be amazed at my digging , tunneling, and excavation skills. Fresh air and sunshine are always good ideas for a bunny, we must just make sure they are safe outside from predators and that they cannot tunnel into an unsafe environment.
The best way to play with a bunny is just to be still, wait patiently, and let him come up to us – no sudden movements, no chasing, no harsh handling – just soft touches and safe play. Their favorite type of play is just hanging out with us and checking us and our things out. We can watch movies or television together. We can let them hang out on our desk as we work. We can hold them close and snuggle. We can also let them crawl around and explore us. They can run around, but we need to remain still and calm. We are bunny protectors, keepers, and understanding their play style will exponentially enhance their level of enjoyment when hanging out with us.
For more information on keeping bunnies as pets, check out our eBook: My First Bunny: What Every Bunny Wants You to Know.