Bunny Habitat Ideas
By: Traci Frees, Founder of BunnyNature.org
There are three simple guidelines for housing bunnies: Keep Bunnies Clean, Cool, and Comfortable! These little ones depend on us to take care of them, so whether you just adopted a bunny or you’ve had one for a while let’s consider some creative ways to make their lives enjoyable and secure.
Bunnies are prey, thus everything wants to eat them. We can be creative when building a home our bunnies will feel safe and happy with, for everything is better with bunnies. Let’s explore safeguards to consider, outdoor/indoor adventures, and indoor dwelling places so bunnies will kick up their heels and nonverbally proclaim, “Hooray!”
Safeguards for Habitats
When creating or updating an indoor our outdoor habitat, consider the following safeguards for your little fury friend.Bunnies should be kept safe from many dangers including:
- Flying or ground predators – Make sure the predators cannot get into the bunny’s cage or other habitat by swooping down from the sky, chewing through the wire, or digging under a fence.
- Daring escapes – Ensure the buns cannot dig under their home, jump out, or go where it is unsafe. Be careful with screens on porches or windows, some bunnies will chew these as well.
- Extreme temperatures – Be especially careful to protect them from heat since bunnies can overheat and die. A good rule of thumb – if the shade is too hot for you, bring your bunny inside during the hottest hours of the day. If kept outdoors, give them a place to dig in the dirt or shade so they can stay cool. In winter, make sure there is sufficient cover for them to snuggle down and get warm.
- Chewing hazards – Keep electric cords or other chewing hazards away from bunnies including house plants or other poisonous items.
- Dirty or unsanitary cages/houses – Bunnies want to be clean and smell fresh, not like poop or urine, so keep habitats tidy.
- Wire cage floors – If keeping bunnies in a cage hutch, be sure to give them something soft or solid to rest upon. How uncomfortable to live on wire. When thinking of bunny comfort, consider how we would feel if we lived in the same conditions.
The best scenario is to provide bunnies with a lot of space to frolic and just do bunny things all the time, but due to housing limitations it’s okay if they are confined to their “rooms” for a time each day with the idea that they get to come out and play! Bunnies can enjoy their sleepy time (mostly during the day) in a small, cool area such as a hutch or a cage. However, when it’s play time bunnies LOVE to use their powerful legs to hop around and do bunny things in a safe place.
Over the years, as we’ve learned more and more about bunnies we created a bunny garden in our back yard that we let our bunnies play in. It is important to provide times each day for them to explore, dig, run, and chew on natural grasses/leaves/wood. We used to have to bring our buns inside their indoor habitat when it was time to sleep or the weather got too hot or rainy. Now we keep this garden for visiting bunnies. For instance, if friends go out of town we will keep their bunnies to play and frolic outside in this bunny area and tuck them safely inside when the weather gets bad. Sometimes new bunnies don’t get along so we can’t just add them to our crew. We call this bunny-tude!
In the summer, the bunnies enjoy the garden during the cool of the morning and evening. In the winter, the bunnies demand on staying outside most of the time and only like to come in when it’s raining or during other inclement weather. In the spring and fall it is perfect bunny weather here in south Alabama, no bugs and cool temperatures at night. This is when they tend to do most of their digging.
When making a play area or habitat, try to mimic a bunny’s natural environment as much as possible. Below you can see a hole they started digging and worked on every morning while it was cool. We added grass during the spring and kept a square cut out so the bunnies could continue their excavation project. It is great exercise for them!
When we added sod to their outdoor garden to give them some quick grass one year, we left a square out where they had begun to dig a hole. This project lasted for weeks and gave them good exercise.
When I’m working in the backyard, I often let the bunnies hang out with me and frolic around the fenced yard. I’ll put out some chairs or other coverings they can hide under between their turns of kicking up their heels.
The bunnies will run up and let me pet their heads, then dash across the yard as if to say, “Watch what I can do!” They will also explore every piece of lawn furniture and mark the one’s that they prefer with their chins.
Outdoor play time is so important. These are just a few ideas of what works for us in our living space. We just have to be creative and work with our bunnies to ensure they have plenty of exercise indoors or outdoors.
When the days are rainy or too hot/cold to go outside, the bunnies get some indoor play time on the back porch. As long as their potty is near, they use it and make clean-up after playtime very easy.
On very special occasions, the bunnies get to run around in the house. I make sure I pick up any electrical cords, plants, and other dangerous chewy things. I put their potty in a safe corner, which they use happily. Bunnies are very cautious, yet curious. They like to explore, but they also like to stay safe under coffee tables or end tables.
My husband is convinced there will never be a time when we will finally finish the indoor bunny habitats. We’ve made several small areas over the years for the bunnies to stay cool/warm in on our back porch (climate controlled). Below is the first indoor habitat we built to appease Bunny and Toops. After we potty trained the bunnies, their indoor areas were low maintenance and easy to keep clean.
The second indoor habitat we built included padded levels.They often hid under the bottom level behind the curtain to sleep during the day, and then explored the upper levels all night long.This habitat was perfect for them until we adopted some dwarf bunnies and needed to expand, so we revisited Operation Indoor Bunny Habitat.
As our bunny family grew, so did our habitat needs. We have two larger bunnies (Bunny & Toops) we call The Bigs and the dwarf bunnies (Cassey & Lillie Belle) we call The Littles. This habitat was too small for four bunnies, so we built a new one. Below you will see pictures of our current indoor habitat. We have one potty for everyone to use in the second picture. This is where they stay until it’s time to play on the back porch or go outside in their garden.
Our bunnies stay indoors on our back porch in their little haven during inclement weather. Now that we have a little cat door installed in the window, they can go outside at their leisure
I’ve found them enjoying their outdoor enclosed garden all night and then coming in and sleeping during the day during the summer. On cool days they are usually outside day and night and may only come inside for an occasional nap.Below is a video showing this completed indoor habitat with the bunny door.
In their indoor habitat, I often make blanket/sheet forts for the bunnies to play in, provide chew logs, place cinder blocks or other tunnels for them to crawl through and sit on, for they like to have a few new things in their environment to keep boredom at bay. We have blankets on the second level for them to get comfortable and look outside on rainy days,and some secret places to hide when it’s sleepy time.
We keep their potty inside against one wall so they can easily keep their indoor haven neat and tidy. We keep fresh hay in the potty and their food and water dishes nearby. I was refiling their food dish so it is not shown in this picture.
We found that the bunnies prefer a window seat. So we placed some 2 inch foam on the second floor and covered it with a blanket. This is Bunny and Toops’ favorite spot to nap and enjoy looking out the window.
Below is a video we recently made to show our most recent bunny habitat. We finally got the bunny seal of approval. We built an outdoor covered garden next to their indoor habitat above. We included a kitty door in the window and added stairs so they could go in and out as they pleased.
To Rehome or To Keep, That is the Question
We are keepers of bunnies, not enslavers. Sometimes we may find our lifestyles are not yet ready to house a bunny, so we may need to find him/her a more bunny-friendly forever home. If a bunny is sitting in a backyard hutch or in a small cage for days or weeks on end and never getting out to run or be loved, consider rehoming that baby. Bunnies are very social animals and can be curious and loveable. Many will not only be excited to run around and explore your home but will cuddle with you on the couch as well. This may not be the best season of your life to be a keeper of such a precious creation, so let someone else enjoy this little blessing until you are ready.
Bunny Seal of Approval
How will you know your bunny likes his/her new home? If you get a head shake of disapproval, stomped at, or flipped off by their back feet after the initial exploration of their new surroundings, changes still need to be made. You might be close, but your task of creating the perfect place of safety and comfort for them is still at hand. However, if the bunny begins marking items with his/her chin and you see a little playful jump/bloop then you’ll know – mission accomplished!
When considering upgrading your current bunny’s house or just adding some adventure outings to your bunny’s life, have fun with it! Search on the internet using terms such as “Creative Bunny Habitats” or “Bunny Play Ideas” to get inspired with what will work for you and your bunny. Think about what would please your little fury friend and have fun creating a habitat that celebrates the unique nature of bunnies!