Whether your rabbits live inside or outside, rabbit proofing is essential to ensure both the safety of your rabbits and the safety of your possessions! Being very inquisitive by nature rabbits love to explore, be that trying to squeeze through tiny gaps behind your sofa or trying to sneak behind a garden shed. Vigilance is the key to making sure they stay out of mischief!
Inside the home seemingly innocent household items can be harmful to rabbits, as can rabbits be equally destructive to your home. The trick is using effective rabbit proofing techniques as a preventative measure.
Sofas can be a marvellous adventure for rabbits and some will try tirelessly to get behind the sofa. Once they are in a nice tight enclosed space they become free to wreak whatever havoc they like without you seeing to spoil their fun! The signs….. When all goes quite mischief is afoot!
In general behind most sofas there will be wires which rabbits love to chew. They may start chewing the back of the sofa and before you know it not only have they got through the foam but are chewing the wooden frame as well!
Not only does it ruin your sofa but it can also be very harmful to your rabbits. If they eat the foam it can cause blockages in the stomach which may require surgery and can be fatal.
If there are gaps down the side of your sofa you could try the following ideas:
- Place large heavy objects in the gaps. If the objects are too light your rabbit will probably be able to push them away.
- Using cardboard or MDF cut out the exact shape of the gap in your sofa to prevent your rabbit from getting through. To make it slightly more aesthetically pleasing you can paint it the same colour as your walls.
- Use industrial carpet tubes from local carpet stores and put them behind your sofa creating a wonderful tunnel for your rabbit. The cardboard should be thick enough to prevent escapes and breakthroughs and will protect the edges of your sofa whilst providing excellent entertainment for your rabbits.
Wooden furniture can be just too good to resist and you may find that your rabbits like nothing better than to gnaw through your furniture.
Chewing is natural behaviour for rabbits and a great way to keep their teeth worn down. The trick here is to divert their attention on to acceptable chewing items rather than your wooden table.
If your rabbits start to chew try clapping once loudly and saying “No”. Your rabbits should stop and look at you with displeasure and will no doubt go back to that chewing spot. If you continue to do this your rabbits should learn that this is not acceptable behaviour.
You must never physically chastise your rabbits nor should you deprive them of food.
For some rabbits doing the above quite simply won’t cut the mustard and you’ll have to employ other tactics to prevent your rabbits from chewing your furniture:
- Place cardboard/ plastic tubes on legs of furniture and other areas that your rabbits are chewing.
- Always provide lots of other enrichment for rabbits you may find that they are chewing out of boredom.
- Use a small amount of vinegar or bitter apple spray and rub it onto the areas that your rabbits are chewing. Most rabbits should find the smell so distasteful that they won’t even attempt to chew it. Be warned though other rabbits will simply lick it off and carry on chewing!
Some rabbits will chew through plasterboard, again this could be harmful and lead to blockages. Using the above tactics should help prevent continued destruction.
Carpets can also be fair game for your rabbits and chewing them can be fatal as it can cause blockages in the GI tract. Although you are limited to what you can do, if your rabbits are chewing carpets you can employ some of the techniques above.
For rabbits wires are reminiscent of roots coming through their burrows in the wild and as such are subjected to a good trimming down. Your cables are rendered useless and it has the potential to harm your rabbit with an electric shock. You can employ the following tactics to prevent your wires and cables becoming fair game:
- Keep cables and wires out or reach from your rabbits by keeping them behind units and furniture that your rabbits can’t get behind.
- Use lengths of plastic tubes/ cable tidies to keep all of your cables together and protected.
- Use cable trucking for cables/ wires.
Plants that we keep in our homes can be just as harmful to rabbits as the plants in our gardens. It’s important to know which plants can be harmful to rabbits so that we can avoid having them in our homes. Follow this link for a list on harmful plants.
This is not an exhaustive list of rabbit proofing your home but should provide enough ideas to make sure that the basics are covered.