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Rabbit Bites Its Cage And Pen

Why would a rabbit suddenly start biting its cage and playpen when it has plenty of room and toys?

By Caroline Charland
Posted: June 13, 2010, 5 a.m. EDT

Q: I have a Netherland dwarf rabbit that is spayed and about 5 years old. I’ve had her for about five years and noticed that she has developed a habit of biting the wires of her cage and her playpen. I don’t understand why. There is no major damage to her, just the cage coating. I don’t see anything wrong with her appetite or anything.

Recently, I noticed she bites on the wire more often. I have boxes and willow tunnels, but she doesn’t seem to like biting into those. She has a whole bunny-proof den room to run around, even when I’m out of the house, so it is not a size issue. Sometimes she bites the wire when she is outside of the playpen. What is the cause of this wire-biting habit?

I have also purchased biting toys from pet stores, but she doesn’t enjoy biting those at all. Is there a way to get her to nibble on the toys?

A: I think your rabbit needs a rabbit friend. Rabbits are social and naturally live in groups. So even though you have provided her with a lot of room and lots of toys, I think she needs company.
 
At the Bunny Bunch, the rescue I founded, people bring in their single (spayed or neutered) rabbits for dates. We have the person pick our about four different rabbits that are up for adoption, then one at a time we sit with them in a pen to see which rabbits are the best match for their rabbit. I suggest contacting a rabbit rescue group in your area and setting up some bunny dates for your rabbit.
 
Rabbits are very territorial, so a person that knows what they are doing needs to sit in the pen with the rabbits in case they want to fight. Some rabbits try to fight right away. This doesn't mean they won't bond eventually, but it does mean it can be harder to bond them. So we keep trying rabbits until we have a pair where some grooming occurs, or they seem to like each other’s company
 
Once you find rabbits that seem to get along, they then have to go through the bonding process until they can be left together safely. This can take from a few days to weeks. But, once you have found your bunny a honey and they bond, they sleep together, play together, eat together and will hopefully take away any boredom your bunny had, so hopefully the pen biting will stop.
 
Also provide a variety of different toys and chews for both your rabbits. Always choose rabbit toys that are safe. Some toys can be made of things too hard for the rabbits to chew, or that are just not that inviting. For some great toy ideas, check out toys we offer through the Bunny Bunch Boutique.

See more rabbit questions and answers>>

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