Why does your rabbit chew things other than her meals? Chewing
is a normal, natural, necessary (and highly enjoyable)
activity for rabbits. Here is an outline of some considerations
to help you understand the why of chewing, as well as the how of
preventing destruction of your favorite wicker furniture.
Sex. Females often have a stronger urge to burrow than males,
although this is not the only reason rabbits chew. The
hormone/age factors below also apply to males. Both males and
females can and should be spayed or neutered as soon as they
are sexually mature (3 1/2 to 6 mos. old).
Hormone/age. Is she spayed?
If young (under 2 yr..) & unspayed, spay her.
If young & spayed, her chewing will lessen with time.
If mature (over 2 yrs.) & unspayed, spay her but get a
If mature & spayed, her behavior isn't governed by hormones.
Remember, a spayed rabbit will chew less and less as she
matures. It may be just a matter of riding out a high energy
stage of your bunny's life.
Personality. Chewers are often intelligent, outgoing,
affectionate individuals who like to be in charge and get lots
of attention. Does she chew to get attention? Would a
companion alleviate boredom? Anything that would entertain
her/make her happier might lessen her chewing.
Yes. You can give rabbits pieces of the thing they want to
chew: their own small towel, for example, providing they
aren't ingesting it. This is especially useful when the
attraction is the particular consistency.
Here are some items that are OK for rabbits to chew on:
apple, willow, aspen branches;
untreated fresh pine lumber attached to cage so it
doesn't move--piece of molding, 1"x2"s, or 2"x4"s;
basket with hay in it--let the bun chew the basket as
well as the hay;
Fruit tree branches, such as, apricot and peach are toxic while attached to
the tree but not after they're cut and dried (a month or more). Lisa McSherry
and Rusty Fayter, who package The Busy Bunny baskets, share this research.
Another tip they offer for your bunny's safety is to keep your purchases of
imported baskets limited to willow, the only basket material not sprayed with
Yes, if then ingest the fiber. Since swallowing indigestible such as carpet presents a health
hazard to your bunny, follow up excessive chewing incidents with
a petroleum laxative such as Petromalt or Laxatone (sold at pet-
Yes. For digging, build a "tunnel" (top isn't needed, just
bottom, high sides, and end. Cover the bottom with a bit of
carpet or something similar. Bunnies LOVE to dig at the end of
tunnels. (Same thing can be accomplished by putting a board
with carpet tacked on between two pieces of heavy furniture
against the wall...just be sure the board can't move or the bun
will be digging the carpet beneath where the board was meant
Discipline (clapping hands, saying "no") has a small role in
stopping chewing behavior. Most people report that it's easy to
make their bunnies understand them, but difficult to make them
stop the behavior through the use of discipline only, especially
if the bunnies are left alone for periods of time. Section 7
of this FAQ covers general companion rabbit training techniques.