It can be very hard to stop your house rabbit from digging behaviour which unfortunately most rabbits do at one time or another. No matter how many times you tell them No! their natural instinct is very strong and their wild side seems to always take over. This is why if you notice your rabbit trying to dig a things its important to take action with some simple bunny proofing as soon as possible before significant amount of damage is done and the constant distraction of having to jump up every time it start spoils the time you are supposed to be spending relaxing and enjoying time together.
In this article we look at some of the tried and tested methods used by other rabbit owners to stop digging behaviour. Every rabbit is different so we hope there is something that will work for you so you can take the worry out of letting your rabbit roam freely without eventually needing to make costly repairs or loosing your rental deposit.
Build a digging box to use up these natural urges
Rabbits who like to dig need to be provided with an acceptable alternative and one of the best ways to keep your rabbit out of trouble is to build a digging box. This is simply a cardboard box with an open top, filled with lots of things that can be torn up and tossed about. You can fill the box with shredded paper, old telephone directories or hay. The box will keep your bunny amused and makes it easier to contain and tidy up the mess.
Make sure the box does not have any staples or plastic tape and keep an eye on how much your the materials your bunny eats as if this is excessive it could be harmful and if you see any signs that you rabbit it using the box as an alternative to a litter tray then its best to remove for a bit then start again with a new box.
What to do if your rabbit digs up your carpet
If your rabbit starts to dig up the carpet around the edge or corner of a room then you could try laying some heavy ceramic tiles over the the top. This will hold the carpet down and stops your bunny getting access to it. These can then be easily removed when your rabbit is not freely roaming.
A more permanent solution is to lay some cheap mats or rugs over areas where you rabbit has been digging at floor surfaces. They may need replacing from time to time as they take the brunt of the damaged however they are easy to replace then the carpet itself. Alternatively you could try your local carpet store as they will often have off cuts of carpet that can be purchased cheaply. Make sure anything you use does not contain too much synthetic material and keep an eye on how much is being eaten as this could make it unwell.
If you have made a digging box then you could try placing this over any areas of carpet that are being damaged.
What to do if you rabbit digs the soil in plant pots
If you find your rabbit has been digging in the soil of plant pots its best to stop this behaviour soon as possible. Not only can this be messy and even kill the plant, the soil and watering tray can contain nutrients that are unhealthy if digested and if your rabbit was to loose its balance it can pull the whole plant over. If you can move the plants out of reach then this is the easiest way to solve the problem however if this is not possible then a great solutions can be to re purpose decorative product which are commonly used to cover the soil to prevent moisture loss such as polished pebbles or shells. hopefully this will make digging a lot less attractive.
Digging in the yard or garden
If your rabbit is a digger then we recommend you don’t leave them to play outdoors without supervision, however even when supervised it’s a mistake to think they will not be up to mischief in the moment your back is turned. Its important to stay one step ahead by bunny proofing every part of your yard, which you’ll need to recheck regularly.
Don’t take any chances, even if your fence goes down to the ground its best to dig along the edge and bury some bricks or lengths of wood along the edge. If you have a hedge then you can make it escape proof with some wire mesh, its best to bury this into the ground so it can’t be undermined.
If you rabbit does enjoy digging and starts to excavate your lawn then there is not much that can be dome about this. If its in a particular area you may be able to cover it with some paving however this may simply move the problem to another exposed area. Always providing alternatives such as tunnel toys and shelters as this may satisfy your rabbit and be enough of a distraction to keep them out of trouble.
Digging is essential for survival in the wild
Rabbits are born diggers and construct elaborate networks of burrows that go many meters into the ground through hard soil. They have sharp rails and strong front paws that when put to use can dig through most loose materials or soft surfaces.
Need more help? Why not ask the Bunny Proofing group!
We are a community of house rabbit enthusiasts with a specific interest in sharing our experiences of living with these special pets. We like posting tips on enriching our rabbits environments, preventing damage to our homes and making them safe for our rabbits to inhabit.