Rabbits are supposed to roam free in nature, over wide expanses of land where they can hop and burrow to their hearts’ content. Unfortunately, they (amongst other small animals like hamsters and rats) end up barely being able to hop a few feet in either direction over their entire lives.
Though most people wouldn’t consider keeping a Monty 🦁 or Gizmo 🐕 in a cage, the thought of a Squiggles 🐇 in a cage barely raises an eyebrow. This also goes for birds! Because if a bird is in a cage, I cannot chase them in the garden. Not that this is all about me…
Now, it wasn’t that easy giving Squiggles this wonderfully free, full and happy life. It sounded like a little bit of hard work. Luckily, the work had been done by the time I arrived in L.A. so I didn’t have to lift a paw.
Squiggles is an indoor/outdoor bunny who was rescued from living in a cage hardly bigger than she was. She is now allowed out in the daytime into a well-fenced garden and is brought in if there is no one at home to check on her and/or before it gets dark. Supervision is important and I’m not thoroughly trusted… sheesh.
Some people feel very strongly about not having outdoor free range bunnies and that is okay because there will always be dangers. We live somewhere without many bunny-killing predators but there are still hundreds of places for her to hide, should she feel unsafe. And she has started a burrow under the avocado tree and she is very proud of it. Dangerous plants have been removed from the garden and any valuable ones are fenced off.
Squiggles has her own area inside the house with a litter tray which she uses most of the time. Rabbits can be litter trained as easily as cats and dogs. Use good quality timothy hay (or orchard grass or meadow hay – which is a big part of Squiggles’ diet anyway) to attract your rabbit to its litterbox and collect up some of the rabbit’s pellets and drop them into the tray.
Squiggles’ area also has a few pee pads. “Rabbits choose one or a few places (usually corners) to deposit their urine and most of their pills” – Squiggles likes this WHOLE corner. She also has a cardboard castle which she absolutely adores. And she has chewed off a turret in appreciation.
I know Squiggles very well now (like I know that Squiggles sometimes likes to eat a book edge so is not allowed in the sitting room on her own) but I can imagine that every rabbit is different so you should do your own research on good rabbit practice. I’m not an expert. I’m a cat.
Chewing is natural for rabbits: a bunny’s teeth are always growing, so he/she needs hard things to chew on to keep their teeth trimmed. Rabbits can find it quite satisfying to chew on wires too! Exposed cords can be encased in a vinyl tubing and, by splitting the tubing lengthwise with a utility knife, your wires can be pushed inside.