The Big Ol’ Bun Environment
Here’s the thing…
When it comes to a bunny’s environment, they are nothing like other small animals. You see, bunnies are NOT a hamster, gerbil, mouse, rat or guinea pig. That means they are never supposed to spend all their time in a small cage every day. And some would say those other animals I just mentioned aren’t supposed to either, but that’s a different convo.
So, no… We feel that a bunny is probably somewhere between a puppy and a cat. And here’s why…
Most bunny parents have some sort of enclosure for their buns (but not all). And their buns only spend time in their enclosure when necessary.
Let me explain…
Bunnies Can Actually Be Free Range Animals
You see, many bunny parents let their buns free range most of the day and put them away at night. Or, bunny parents may keep their buns in their enclosure when they head off to work, then let their buns out in the evening for a few hours.
And that schedule works out great, because rabbits live on a crepuscular sleep cycle anyways. That means they are awake mainly in the early morning hours and in the evening — they sleep during the day and at night.
So, with bunny parents who work during the day, they usually let their bun out in the morning for a few hours to get some exercise, put them in their enclosure during the day to sleep, and let them back out in the evening.
And some bunny parents are home all day long, so they let their buns “free range it” all day.
Take us for example… (We work at home) Our rabbits only go in their enclosure at night. See, we usually let Doodles and Lulu out early in the morning to play, frolic and binky around. We’ll give them some breakfast, and they usually tire out within a few hours — where Doodles makes his way into his tunnel in our living room, and Lulu posts up behind the back corner of a couch (usually over a vent, of course hah).
Then, they start waking up in the early evening hours — just in time for dinner. They’ll eat and play around for a few hours into the night until bedtime. That’s when they know it’s time to go into their enclosure… because they ALWAYS know their nighttime treat is coming.
But wait… What does this all do with rabbits being somewhere between puppies and cats?
Because they can usually roam free and lounge around during the day like a cat, but they may need to be enclosed at night just like some people may do with their puppy. You see, bunnies (much like a puppy) can get themselves into trouble while unsupervised — like chewing on things, rooting around… all sorts of (not) fun mischief.
And giving them some down time at night where they can hang out, eat some hay (while pooping), self-groom and do all the other little bunny things they do without worrying about them getting into an unsafe situation isn’t such a bad idea.
And what happens when your bunny doesn’t get time out of their enclosure?
Well, what would you do if you were confined to a small room 24/7? It would get severely depressing really fast. It may be a day or two before you’re sluggishly singing “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts…” while pointlessly waiting for a meerkat and warthog to come rescue you.
Same with your bunny. Depressed bunnies make us sad, so make sure yours gets plenty of time out of her enclosure.
Speaking of which…
So What’s the Ideal Bunny Enclosure?
I’ll be blunt here…
No cages… check
No bottom wiring… double check
No outside enclosures… you betcha (some bunny parents may contest this, but most house rabbits should be kept indoors)
NO buying any rabbit enclosure of any kind from the pet store… bingo!
So what the heck do I do here?
There are a couple ways you can go…
Some bunny parents actually build their own enclosures. Now, hear me out! It’s not as hard as it sounds.
You see, you can actually get a folding pet exercise pen and either use something like that for the actual enclosure. Or you can makeshift an enclosure using that material.
There’s actually certain types of materials (panels) that let you build and shape your bunny’s enclosure. It’s actually a lot of fun to do!
And how big should you make the enclosure?
The House Rabbit Society says at least 4 to 6 times the size of your bun when she’s splooted out lengthwise. But the bigger the better. And consider how much time your bun spends in the enclosure. Does she need extra exercise space, or will she be “free ranging it” most of the time?
What To Put In My Bunny’s Enclosure?
Here are 5 necessities…
- Litter box (filled with wood pellets and hay)
- Hay rack next to litter box (so they can eat and poop at the same time, ha)
- A “hidey house”
I’ll put on the breaks here really quick and explain… Your bunny needs to have a “safe place” to hide any time she rests or just feels on edge.
Remember, bunnies are prey animals who typically live underground in the wild. Sometimes they just want to feel safe and hide. A “hidey house” provides just that!
Most people use a cardboard box and cut out two entrances — one on the front and one on either side. The two entrances are actually VERY important. Your bun wants to feel like she can escape at any point and not feel trapped.
Ok, let’s get back to the list…
- Water bowl (NOT a water bottle/dispenser. I explain exactly why right here)
- Toys, toys and more toys
Oh yes… Always have some toys for your bun to play with. Especially for nighttime, when they love to get into all types of bunny misadventures.
There’s plenty more to talk about when it comes to your bun’s environment. And we’ll put up some posts with more information as we go. Until then, subscribe below to get frequent bunny parenting tips directly to your inbox. This will help you always be aware of new posts we put out for bunny parents like you.