What to buy for the rabbit who’s got everything — and never plays with it!?!? Lots of sites have rabbit toys that look great. You buy them, your bun just stares at you, hops away, and chews the sofa. Sound familiar? Here’s a guide to the Bunny-tested and approved — toys that all get three tails up.
Finding just the right gift to delight your little thumper is more than just an exercise in indulgence. Really good toys provide rabbits opportunities to do their favorite things: chew, dig, forage — in a safe and acceptable ways. That means he’ll be doing things he shouldn’t, like tearing up your carpet, a lot less. It’s also a great way to show your kids and friends that your bun isn’t an inert lump. On the contrary, he has interests, and hobbies, and can be great fun to watch or interact with.
To find the finest products for flop-eared friends, you have to go beyond big name pet retailers. So, be aware, some of the sites I reference below are quite specialized. They are run by rabbit aficionados, not marketing mavens and internet experts. I assure you, however, they are reliable and secure to use. These folks know their furry customers, and therefore provide awesome and unique products you won’t find at the big stores. Plus you can feel good about patronizing small businesses!
Of all the chewing material available for rabbits, willow must be the most universally adored. I’ve put countless toys in front of countless bunnies made of other kinds of wood — pear and apple wood sticks, balsa, poplar, maple… I generally get blank looks, a small toothmark here or there. The heavier the item, the more likely one of my crew will file an incisor on it, but mostly they get ignored, or at best, tossed around. Willow is the exception.
You can get these willow weavings in a variety of shapes from balls to rings or cubes. Many score well with the long-eared set. But for some reason I can’t explain, the large rectangular baskets are the most reliable. When really motivated, a pair of bunnies can decimate one of these in less than two days. I usually buy the economy packs of a half dozen, to make sure I have plenty on hand.
These come in handy in those situations where somebody’s chewing on something they shouldn’t. Sometimes a fresh willow basket placed between bunny and forbidden object can deflect the chew energy and solve the problem. Another plus: bonded bunnies seem to happily share these without a squabble.
Multiple suppliers may carry this toy, but right now they’re available at Bunny Bytes.
BUY: Bunny Bytes Willow Toy Basket follow the link and search the page for product number: TY030g
Treat Puzzle Toys
All animals need interesting things to do. To an animal, interesting generally means that it mimics the sort of things they evolved to do in nature. For rabbits, foraging for food fits that description.
A puzzle toy is a way to satisfy the foraging drive and make it a little challenging. Not only does your bun get some tasty tidbits, he also gets to exercise his brain and maybe some of his muscles in the process. For flufftails that often get into mischief, supplying an activity like this on a regular basis can channel some of that trouble-making energy into a pastime you both agree on.
Here are two excellent ones:
Lamaze Pile and Play Stacking Cups
Intended for toddlers, these brightly colored toys are safe for bunnies too. Make them interesting by slipping a bit of a treat in some or all the cups as you stack them. In the video, Moraea and Finnegan get their first crack at these puzzles. I’ve put some cereal between each one. They catch on quickly. (You’ll also get some pretty funny sound effects as I adjust the tripod.) Enjoy!
Tokihut Snuffle Mat
I reviewed this adorable mat in an earlier post. This mat is not only clever, well designed and attractive, it is also perfect for stimulating your little love’s foraging reflexes as they sniff around to find the treats you’ve stashed in it. I love this toy. Here’s my recipe for unwinding at the end of the day:
- load up the snuffle mat with cereal pellets
- pour a nice glass of wine
- lay the mat on the floor
- put my feet up and get set for the show
What follows is a bunny ballet of sniffing, snuffling, digging and munching. The video below will give you a taste for it.
BUY: Tokihut Snuffle Mat
A Snack Dispensing Ball
Snack balls are like puzzle toys except they roll. Interested whisker-noses can smell the treats inside so they’ll push it around until the slightly-larger-than-treat-sized opening happens to face straight down, allowing a tasty morsel to slip out. Some bunnies get really good at this game, and it’s a blast watching them chase it around the room. It gets them moving, so it’s excellent for a bun who needs more exercise, too — provided you don’t go overboard with the sweet treats!
Here’s a video of Finnegan and Moraea giving one a try.
These colorful plastic balls come in a few different designs.
The IQ Treat Ball from Bunny Bytes
I prefer this model. It unscrews for easy loading. It also features a inner chamber option with a second treat slot that can be adjusted in size, so you can make things more challenging if your bun gets really good at emptying it.
BUY: Bunny Bytes IQ Treat Ball Follow the link and search the page for TY008bc
The Niteangel Snack Ball
The Niteangel version does the same thing and is more widely available. The treat opening on this model is also adjustable to vary the difficulty.
BUY: Niteangel Snack Ball
The Bunny Bytes Treat Ball
This toy’s munchin’ magic! It’s like a bunny bon bon: peeled willow on the outside surrounds a luscious hay soft-center, in which more delectable goodies are hidden!
I’m not sure what Bunny Bytes does to these things but my rabbits never fail to lash into them like a pair of piranhas. In fact, I always buy them in multiples of two, because if I put just one out, a fight will definitely ensue. Great for special occasions, probably too rich for every day.
BUY: Bunny Bytes Treat Ball Follow the link and search the page for TY034f
These are probably my number one favorite toy for buns. If willow wood is good, willow leaves make it even better! These verdant wreaths are real crowd pleasers – they sometimes do spark a game of keep-away, but more often are peacefully shared. Best of all, being untreated dried tree branches, they can be classified as forage and are therefore very healthy.
Only drawback is they’re not easy to find. Unless, of course, you happen to have a willow tree and can make your own! BinkyBunny is the only place I’ve been able to find them. They also sometimes have bags of willow leaves that make a nice versatile treat as well.
Side bonus/hazard: more than once, a bun has managed to get the stripped willow coil stuck around their tummy. How? I have no idea. Not life-threatening, easily remedied, and pretty darned funny to witness.
The BinkyBunny Maze Haven
If you’re looking for a fun, inexpensive and mentally stimulating tunnel for your sniffwiggler to explore, check out the Maze Haven from one of my favorite rabbit supply sources, BinkyBunny (a.k.a. BusyBunny).
While a simple tunnel is pretty easy to make for your bun, this gadget provides a much more complex and interesting crawl space. You can even make it three-dimensional by stacking them up: a great “real world warren” simulator to tickle your bun’s native home exploration instincts.
These tunnels are so clever and effective, big pet supply companies have started to copy them. Don’t be fooled! Buy the original.
The Fluffy Tail of This Blog Post
If you’re ready to give up on finding a toy your rabbit will actually enjoy, or just out of ideas for something new to offer, I hope you’ll try some of the items on this list. I’ve never had a bun who didn’t love them! And I’d love to hear your fluffer’s feedback on them in the comments below.