It is important for your bunnys health and happiness that you share lots of time together, for most people this involves relaxing at home in front of the TV or on-line with your rabbit roaming in the room.
Unfortunately these electrical devices and their power leads can be very dangerous, even deadly if your rabbit chews into them unaware of the danger of electrocution.
The soft plastic insulation around a power cord offers no protection from a rabbits razor sharp teeth that are perfect for chewing through tough roots and shoots and if their wet mouth comes into contact with the wires inside they can receive a severe shock.
The crawl spaces around the back of your TV or stereo centre can be especially dangerous for a curious bunny that can go unnoticed there until the damage is done.
Unfortunately it can be very hard to train your rabbit not to chew on wires, they have a strong natural drive which easily overtakes them and the constant distraction of you having to repeatedly jump up and and say NO! can mean the time you do spend with them becomes more of an annoyance.
The only safe way to share you home with your rabbit is to take the time to fully bunny proof all the electrical devices and cables and in this article we show you how by simply moving some of your furniture around to cleverly hide power cords or by invest in some plastic tubing to wrap around more exposed cables you can make you home safe.
We also have some great tips and tricks from veteran bunny owners on how to block of crawl spaces around the back of your TV and what disciplined and training is possible to let you to relax with your rabbit roaming freely without having to unplug everything first.
How best to arrange you home to keep wires out of harms way
The first thing you can do to stop your bunny chewing the wires in your home is to make some simple changes to the way your furniture is laid out to make them less accessible. By arranging furniture and electrical devices together you can limit the amount of exposed electrical wires your bunny can reach and greatly improve safety.
Move furniture with lamps or other electrical devices directly in front of plug sockets so you can lead the wires from the plug straight up behind them. Make sure you push the furniture up against the wall to prevent any access. Remember bunnys like to climb on things so move anything out the way that could provide an alternative route on top.
Get in the habit of leaving gadgets that need chargers somewhere out of the way by finding a permanent place for them to live thas out of reach like as a kitchen worktop .
Stop your rabbit going behind your TV
House rabbits love to explore and no amount of saying No! will keep them out of forbidden areas like behind your TV when your back is turned. Its best to always block these area off entirely so the nest of electrical cables they contain are permanently out of harms reach.
A simple way to do this is to keep all your TV boxes and audio equipment together in a cabinet, if you choose one with glass doors you will be able to keep the doors shut and still use your remote controls.
Position the TV against a wall in frount of a plug or in the corner where a plug socket is so you dont need to trail any cables up to it. You can block of the sides of your TV to stop access behind with other bits of furniture or large ornaments. Alternatively you can use a couple of sections of a pet pen or the wire grids from office storage cubes either side. Avoid blocking in the sides with cardboard as this will only encourage you rabbit who will eventually chew through it.
If your rabbit makes it a mission to try and go behind the TV you can help refocus this natural need to explore by providing some safe and acceptable alternative such as tunnel toys, tents or even a cardboard castle to help keep them out of trouble.
How to cover wires in split length tubing
Sometimes it is hard to avoid wires that stretch across your room or to your appliances on a shelves or furniture tops. A simple, convenient and cheap way you can protect them is by slipping the wires inside a length of tough plastic piping.
Piping can be purchased from most DIY stores and flexible or ribbed tubing is the best a choice as it is tough but can be bent around corners. You can get pipe that has already been split along its length or if not you will need to cut it along its length with a knife.
To install it first cut the tubing to the correct length then you can simply slip the wire inside along the split without having to take the plug off. You can make is safer by securing the ends with some tape in case your rabbit tugs at it leaving the wires inside exposed.
Installing tough plastic conduit for a permanent solution
Plastic conduit is an ideal solution if you want to add some permanent bunny proof to your home. The tough strips of boxing can be mounted on a wall above your baseboards and wires that would otherwise lead around the edges of the room can be hidden away inside them keeping them safe.
They are relatively cheap and can be purchased from most DIY stores and can be installed with a minimal of effort. The soft plastic can be easily trimmed to size and these systems typically come with a variety of corners and junctions that making it easy to give a professional finished look.
Make sure you fit them leading down from plug sockets then up the wall behind furniture high enough to only expose the cables once they are safely out of reach.
Screening of areas of your home with sheets from a pet pen.
Fully bunny proof all the electrical devices and wires in your home is possible but it can be a massive task to undertake and some things can simply be hard to bunny proof and still have access to them yourself. A way to balance your needs and your bunnys is to divide your living spaces up, put all the things that need to be plugged that you do”t want your rabbit anywhere near on one side and simply screen it all off.
This can be done by taking a pet pen and breaking it up into sheets and using these to fence of sections of the room.
If you have a room with a lot if electrical equipment in it but need easy access to it, like a room with a computer in it or a kitchen or utility space you can blocked it off a pet or baby gate. This will keep bunny out but still allow you easy access and let you leave the door open.
Toys that will keep your bunny out of trouble
Rabbits are natural chewers and are always be on the lookout for new things to nibble and for some reason electrical cables seem especially irresistible to them. This instinctive behaviour can be hard to stop no matter how many time you say NO!
One of the best ways to keep your bunny out of trouble is by providing lots of safe and acceptable alternatives it will find more interesting instead.
There is a wide variety of chew toys available in pet stores such as wicker balls and willow twigs that can help satisfy a rabbit instinctive need to chew or if you are felling creative you can even make toys just as good yourself for free with little more then an old toilet roll tube. Remember to replace them regularly to stop your rabbit getting bored and overlooking them.
Applying bitter apple sprays or other deterrents
Bitter sprays can help make your electrical devices and wires a lot less appealing to chew on for your rabbit however it will probably not stop this unwanted behaviour entirely so you should always try and find a more permanent solution.
Do not apply the spray directly to any areas where the wires connect with equipment, instead spray it into a cloth first then wipe the liquid on. Remember to keep reapplying the bitter spray regularly so it doesnt lose its effectiveness. Always use a product designed for specifically rabbits such as the and avoid home made remedies like perfume or chilly oil as these can be harmful to your rabbit.
Training and discipline
It can be hard to use training and discipline with a bunny. Firstly you have to catch them in the act or any telling of will be wasted, secondly you have to judge the right amount of discipline to use. You should never shout at, scare or hit your rabbit as this sort of over reaction wont discourage them and in the long run can make them timid, antisocial or even aggressive towards you. The best way to let your rabbit know its not allowed to do something with their name followed by a firm NO! If this does not work a stronger deterrent can be to keep a water mister to hand and when you catch your rabbit spray a mist of cold water over them. Another common technique is to use a empty jar filled with coins that you can shake as a warning.
Why do rabbit chew wires?
Rabbits have razor sharp teeth that they use to chew roots and shoots that grow into their burrows or paths. They do this to keep their burrows and paths clear, for food and it also help ware down their teeth that grow constantly through their life. Unfortunately electrical wires are pretty much the same size as roots and shoots and often lay in your bunnys path at the edges of the room where they move around. This makes them almost irritable to rabbits and the moment they run across them their natural urge to much them is likely to take over.
- Arrange you home so plug sockets are hidden behind furniture then trail power cords out of reach to make them inaccessible.
- Block off access to the space behind your TV station or sterio.
- Protect exposed power cords behind fencing, in split length tubing or wall conduit.
- Plug in phones chargers and laptops where then cannot be reached.
- Always move remote controls out of reach.
- Never allow your house rabbit access to unprotected power cords.
- Always keep batteries out of reach.
- Keep objects that can be hot like light bulbs or curling tongs out of reach.
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.