Today’s article delves into the wonderful world of homemade toys for rabbits. Some of the toys that are sold for rabbits are excellent, but it can get costly buying interesting new toys for your bunny to enjoy.
So, we’d like to show you how easy it is to create DIY rabbit toys instead, toys that are made from items that are usually either cheap or free – and toys that will give your bunny many hours of fun.
Why Are Rabbit Toys Important?
Toys are great for bored rabbits and give them something interesting to do. With a bit of thought, the toys you give to your bunnies can be so much more than that.
With this in mind, we will categorize our DIY rabbit toys according to our rabbits’ natural behaviors and offer different toys that will help your bunnies express these behaviors.
This will not just keep them occupied, but it will be supporting their well-being at the deepest level. Rabbits need to be able to behave like rabbits, and these toys and games will enable them to do that.
What About Safety?
Always make toys with safety in mind. When using toilet rolls and other paper and card, always offer the toys under supervision. While most papers and cards are relatively harmless if ingested, some rabbits have extremely sensitive digestion and shouldn’t eat anything beyond their food.
When using long lengths of string, there is always a possibility that your rabbit will get tangled if left unattended. A rabbit will panic if caught on something, which can make things worse, so always supervise this kind of toy.
Foraging And Grazing Toys
Wild rabbits spend up to 80% of their waking time foraging and grazing. So, let’s start with these important behaviors. Toys in this category will always involve food. They can be used as a stimulating way to deliver your rabbits daily rations.
1. Snuffle Mats
A snuffle mat is a surface that allows your bunnies to search for little nibbles – their daily pellets, small cubes of carrot or apple, or little sprigs of their favorite herbs. Even a tray of grass could be used as a snuffle mat.
It’s very easy to make a washable snuffle mat yourself using a dish draining mat or outdoor mat and strips of fleece fabric. This is an excellent tutorial if you want to give it a go.
When you first start using your mat, sprinkle several small pieces of your rabbits’ favorite food over the top of the mat, so that it’s easy to find. Once they get used to the idea, you can start to hide the pieces deeper in the fleece.
2. Foraging Bridge
This is a bridge made from toilet rolls that you can hang vertically or horizontally for your rabbits to forage in. Stuff the tubes with hay and a few pellets or vegetable treats to increase your rabbits’ interest.
This video shows you how to make the bridge – it’s talking about rats, but the idea translates well to rabbits. You could hang it vertically from any sturdy frame (e.g., a heavy dining chair), or inside your rabbit’s cage or pen.
To create the clothesline, simply run a line between two sturdy attachment points (e.g., a table leg and a heavy chair) at rabbit height. If your rabbit has to reach up a little, that’s perfect.
Cotton string is good for the line. If you want a thicker rope, you can braid the string, but don’t use a commercial washing line as it may harm your bunnies if they eat it. You will also need several standard clothes pegs that have a tight action.
Then you can peg pretty much anything of interest to the line, including other foraging toys like filled paper bags, sprigs of herbs, strips of fleece, and so on. Another option is tying items to the line with the cotton string, like willow sticks or broccoli heads.
4. Hay Rack
Yes, we know! Your rabbit already has a hay rack. But have you considered that you can repurpose all kinds of items as interesting hay delivery systems? Anything that’s safe and has holes in it can be used for this purpose.
We like the cheap plastic grocery bag storage holders like this one:
- CLEVER BAG STORAGE SOLUTION: Eliminate the clutter of bags scattered around by conveniently storing them in this holder.
- PUT IN BAGS EASILY, TAKE OUT BAGS EASILY: Multiple holes of different sizes accommodate various sized bags and provide easy access.
- SAVES SPACE: The sleek vertical design is perfect for small spaces allowing many bags to be stored in a small area.
- QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: Made from thick, durable plastic; easily wipes clean when necessary.
- TWO INSTALLATION OPTIONS: Install using either adhesive strips or mounting screws (both included).
What about an old burlap sack that you can fill with hay and cut holes in? Or even a paper grocery bag? There are lots of possibilities if you start looking at things with fresh eyes.
5. Toilet Paper Tube Balls
Making toilet paper tube balls is easy, and many rabbits enjoy them because they are small enough to toss around. Once your bunny is becoming an expert forager, these little balls of fun can be put into other foraging toys, such as the stuffed tubes, for extra interest.
The first two minutes of this video (again made for rats) shows you how to make these simple little balls. To modify them for your rabbits, fill them with a small chunk of broccoli, celery, or some shredded kale.
If your rabbits are slow to catch on, use their favorite fresh food, and have some poking out through the gaps. You can also shuffle the rings to make two gaps that are a little bigger, which can help them to begin the process of dismantling the ball.
6. Stuffed Tubes
Stuffing a tube is so easy and so effective. Even rabbits who are new to foraging toys can usually get the hang of a stuffed tube. Take any tube and stuff it with a mixture of
- Hay and rabbit pellets.
- Hay and chopped vegetables.
- Hay and fresh herbs.
If your rabbits are uncertain, make sure you place some tempting food towards the ends of the tube, and don’t stuff it too tightly at first as this makes it harder for the rabbit to empty.
You can try all different textures and sizes of tubes, from toilet paper tubes to wicker tubes or a length of the downspout. Try placing the tube on the floor or threading a string through it before stuffing and hanging it at a suitable height.
- 100% Natural Willow
- Great for playing and hiding
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- Perfect for hamsters and rats
- Large 32cm
7. Muffin Trays
All sizes and shapes of individual cake baking trays can be repurposed as rabbit toys. Silicone or metal are both okay, as this toy should be supervised in use. You will need a tray and some sheets of paper or several balls.
Sprinkle a few treats into each of the cake cups and top with a scrunched-up sheet of paper or a suitably sized lightweight ball. These plastic balls with holes in can be used separately as foraging toys by threading sticks of carrot, celery, and cucumber through them.
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8. Paper Bags
Any size of paper bag can be turned into a homemade bunny toy in just a couple of minutes! Fill the bag with your rabbits’ favorite hay and throw in a few extra yummy bits of fresh vegetables. Small bags can be hung up, while larger bags (like grocery bags) can just be left on the floor for your bunnies to enjoy.
9. Rabbit Pellet Dispensers
You can make a toy that dispenses treats as your rabbit plays with it from various items of recycling. So long as you can seal the container and cut or drill holes in it, then it can be repurposed as a fun homemade toy.
The simplest idea would be a long, soft cardboard tube. Using strong, sharp scissors cut a few holes around the tube’s surface, large enough for the pellets to fall through. Squish one end to close it and add some pellets. Squish the other end to seal.
A milk carton or juice container is another good option. All that’s needed is to make several holes around the container. Add some pellets and replace the lid.
10. Turf Trays And Other Grazing Toys
Grazing fresh grasses and field herbs is such a natural behavior for your rabbits that it’s important to provide some opportunity for grazing living plants. Large turf trays can be cultivated using untreated lawn turf in a large growing tray. If you grow two trays, you can alternate between them each time your rabbits crop them right down.
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Other options for planting up trays of living plants are microgreens and wheatgrass. Microgreens are the small seedlings of plants like kale and broccoli. They are highly nutritious and will give your bunnies extra nutrients as well as a new and interesting grazing experience.
Wheatgrass is easy to grow, and the shoots are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, most bunnies love them! Grazing trays are great DIY toys for your rabbits, and once you have the equipment, you can just keep refreshing them throughout your bunnies’ life.
11. Living Herbs
Another option is growing small pots of living herbs and offering these to your rabbits. Herbs like mint and parsley are really easy to grow on a windowsill and will quickly reach the size where you can offer them to your rabbits.
Learn more: Herbs That Rabbits Can And Can’t Eat
Rabbits like to chew. They have teeth that grow continuously throughout life, and they wear these down by grinding food, grinding their teeth (bruxing), and chewing. Offering chew toys can support dental health and allow them to express this natural behavior.
Click here for more information on chew toys for rabbits.
12. Sticks And Blocks
Several wood types are safe and attractive for rabbits. These include willow, apple, hazel, and blackthorn. Quick and easy rabbit chew toys can be made by offering small branches, sticks, or sawn blocks from any of these trees.
If you are using foraged wood, make sure that it is untreated with pesticides and cleaned:
- Remove any debris and insects
- Scrub the branches and rinse well.
- Allow the branches to dry out thoroughly (at least a month is a warm, dry place)
- Saw the branches into smaller pieces.
For a full list of safe and unsafe branches, check out this site.
Read more: Safe woods for rabbits
Balls are fun! They move with a little input from your rabbits and can create a lot of excitement. They are hard to make, so you’ll probably want to buy them – but once you have, there are many DIY ways to increase their value to your rabbits.
We like these:
A set of six balls that make great natural toys for your rabbit. They can be chewed and tossed around and provide different smells, tastes, and textures. They can easily be attached to a length of string and tied to a washing line (above) for a completely different type of fun.
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- UNIFORM HOLES provides maximum accuracy
- THESE PRACTICE BALLS are the same size as a standard 9" baseball, but weigh much less
Cheap, plastic balls with holes – which come in various sizes – are great for you to create ‘sputniks’ for your rabbits. Cut long strips of vegetables and weave these through the holes. You can also add small hazel sticks for added interest.
Balls that you can make yourself include:
- Large, soft balls made from long strips of packing paper. Just start by scrunching up one end quite tightly and then winding and molding the rest of the strip around the growing ball.
- Fleecy pompom balls in various sizes. (see the video)
- Raffia string pompoms.
Paper and fleece curtains are easy to make and can be excellent homemade rabbit toys. Just cut multiple papers and/or fleece strips and then gather them into bunches of around 5-10 strips by scrunching the ends together and tying them off with cotton string.
You can create as many bunches as you like, then peg them onto the washing line (above) or hang from the cage/pen roof. You can add extra interest by adding sprigs of herbs to your curtains.
Curtains provide for a different kind of chewing – as your rabbit will be manipulating the environment using their teeth as they pull at the paper strands and herbs.
As burrowing animals, rabbits enjoy digging, and it’s very easy to create DIY bunny toys to encourage this behavior.
15. Indoor’ Rummage’ Box
To make a rummage box, find a large cardboard box and either cut off or tape down three of the flaps around the opening. On the fourth side, hold the flap out at a right angle to the sides of the box and tape it in that position.
This is creating a low barrier to help the contents stay in the box. If the flap is wider than your rabbit will comfortably hop over, you’ll need to trim it back a little before taping. Place the box on its side with the flap ‘step’ at the bottom of the open side.
Fill the box with a variety of materials that your rabbit will enjoy digging about in. These could include hay, fleece, shredded paper, card scraps, and small sticks. Throw in a handful of rabbit pellets and let your rabbit investigate.
16. Outdoor Digging Box
Creating a good digging box can be a wonderful DIY project that will give your rabbit hours of pleasure. If you want an easy option, you could invest in a suitable children’s sandbox. We like this one if you are looking for a permanent structure:
- HEXAGONAL SAND BOX — Sand box is perfect size for playing and socializing with friends
- TURN INTO A BALL PIT — For added versatility, add play balls for an instant ball pit
- SMALL FOOTPRINT SPACE — Uses a small footprint perfect for compact backyards or patios
- ROUNDED CORNERS FOR SAFETY — Made from premium redwood with rounded corners for added safety
- INCLUDES — Box contains wood pieces, hardware pack, and instruction manual
A cheaper plastic sandbox is another option, but make sure you give attention to how the rabbits are going to be able to get in and out. Complete DIY options are under-bed storage tubs or similar plastic crates.
Use sand, coconut fiber, or sterile compost in your digging box – or a mixture. The coconut fiber is sold in dry blocks, which you soak in water. If you water it regularly, you’ll keep the ‘soil’ structured and diggable as it can be very dusty if it dries out.
- Perfect for Frogs, toads, tortoises, box turtles and other terrestrial turtles, forest dwelling lizards and snakes and all types of invertebrates
- Made from 100% coconut fiber for ultimate natural
- 100% organic and can be composted after use
- Natural coconut bedding ensures your pet feels natural and right at home
You may think that pet rabbits don’t get the opportunity to burrow, but they do mimic this behavior when they enjoy hides of all kinds. Burrowing toys are diverse and can include anything enclosed that you make for them to relax and snuggle down in.
17. Making An Outdoor Plant Pot Hide
Choose a large earthenware pot that’s much bigger than your rabbit. In your rabbits’ enclosed outdoor area, dig out an area that’s roughly the size of the pot lying on its side. Dig down 2-3 inches.
Place the pot on its side into the hole and repack most of the earth around the outside and inside the pot to create a flat earthy base. Your rabbits will enjoy hanging out in the hide and sleeping on the cool earth.
Other items that you could use to create temporary or permanent hides are cardboard boxes, wide diameter pipes, and baskets.
Rabbits enjoy stretching to full height and will often stand up in a “lookout” behavior. We can make toys that encourage this behavior, such as the washing line and curtains (above). Let’s look at some other examples.
18. Bottle Top Play Toy
Collect a variety of plastic bottle tops that are coin-sized and using a large nail or a metal skewer melt a hole through the center of each top. To do this, hold the skewer (while wearing a heatproof glove) in a flame for a few seconds and then push it through the plastic.
Take a length of cotton string and tape around the end to create a tip. Knot the string and thread the bottle top pushing it down onto the knot. Then thread the rest of the bottle tops until you have a clackety toy that you can hang from the gage roof or a piece of furniture.
19. Willow Kerplunk
Take a long cardboard tube and make two holes at opposite sides near one end. Thread cotton string through both holes loop ends together and tie off to create a hanging point.
Create opposite holes in a variety of different orientations down the length of the tube. You can create the holes with something sharp and then enlarge them by twisting a small scissor blade in the hole. Thread willow sticks through each of the pairs of holes until you have something resembling the children’s game – kerplunk! Hang it up for your bunnies to enjoy.
20. Floor Toys – Binkying
Our rabbits love to express their joy and bounce and binky around an open space. When feeling playful, many rabbits like to toss small items around, and these behaviors sometimes appear together. So, providing floor toys can help to get your bunnies into a playful mood.
Many DIY rabbit toys can be adapted as floor toys. Here’s a list of some of our favorites.
- Pinecones – gather, wash, and bake them in a low oven until dried to remove any bugs or mold.
- Bottle Top Toy – can be made (see above) and simply tied off at both ends to make a great little floor toy.
- Scrunched Up Paper Balls – easy rabbit toys to make in seconds.
- Treat Balls – the toilet roll balls described in the foraging section are excellent floor toys.
- Small Cuddly Toys – look for those without squeakers or plastic eyes to be safe toys for bunnies.
We hope that we have given you some great ideas to help you create stimulating DIY toys for your rabbits to play with. Toys that are safe, fun, and allow them to express their natural behaviors. We know you’ll enjoy them nearly as much as your bunnies do, as you watch the bouncy pleasures, they take in what you’ve made for them.
Last update on 2022-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API