One of the most important things to always remember is that rabbits are destructive.
They will chew almost anything, especially if they think it doesn’t belong there or it is in the way on their daily explorations.
Cables are a rabbit’s favorite thing to chew through. Rabbits like to get in behind chests of drawers and other furniture which you would think is a great place to hide cables behind.
But if a rabbit can squeeze their head into a gap, then so can their body. They love to do that, and any cables hanging down in their way will get chewed on.
I know from first-hand experience.
When I had my first rabbit, Caramel, I left him running about in my bedroom while I went to the bathroom. When I came back, he was nowhere to be seen but I could hear him.
He had gotten in behind a chest of draws that I believed he couldn’t have gotten into, but I was wrong.
My stereo, my TV, and my VCR were sat on top of it all, plugged in, and on standby… I was in a panic, trying to pull it all out and to get Caramel out of there.
I thought he would get electrocuted if he bit through a cable. What’s more, I was horrified at the damage he had done.
Caramel had chewed through my stereo and TV cable and was about to start on the VCR.
It was a miracle that he did not get an electric shock that day. Even luckier for me, the cables only had to be cut off a bit and new plugs fitted in, an easy job for me to repair.
But I learned a valuable lesson that day.
Safe Housing… Pens and Cages
For my first rabbit, I had a special, custom-made pen made from timber with a specially lined, waterproof base.
It was easy to keep clean and had a side gate that could be lifted off to let him out to play.
Also, it was fairly roomy (though I expect a little bigger would have been better) but it was perfect for my bedroom and when I was home, he could run about in my bedroom and my mum would bring him downstairs to play when I was working.
However, I had another problem that I was yet to learn about.
Caramel was a jumper.
He could jump out of his pen, the one that was 3 ft in height. He would jump out of it at night and then jump up onto my bed (which was higher again).
Trust me, to get woken up in the night like that frightens you and will give you a start.
It also meant he [Caramel] could get into all sorts of mischief when I wasn’t there, so I had to get a lid made for his pen to stop him from jumping out and keep him safe.
You must provide your rabbit with a safe space to play and run around in, something like a room or an enclosure.
I let my rabbits have a room that they can free range in without too much supervision, one that I have made sure has been made as safe as it possibly could from potential dangers.
What’s Needed to Make a Room a Safe Space?
- Cable Tidies
These are good for keeping all your cables in one strip. It will also help you place them out of the reach of your rabbits.
You can also use conduit for protecting a single cable and for fixing it to a wall and out of reach.
If you really want to be thorough, you could move electric the sockets higher up on the walls. This way, you can be sure you’ll keep the cables out of reach.
Another good tip is using child-proof gates or the ones you would use for a dog in your doorways.
This way you can still keep an eye on your rabbits while also using the gates to keep them out of certain rooms. You’ll also be ensuring your easy access to said rooms.
If the gates fail, Xpens can be used as barriers – they forbid access to places you want to keep safe from your rabbit.
See how I used one here, in a part of my kitchen.
So if you go for an xpen to house your rabbit rather than a complete cage, you need to make sure this is high enough to stop them from jumping out.
A 3 feet jump is just so doable for a rabbit.
Cages might be better for your peace of mind because they will stop any would-be Houdini of a rabbit.
Still, make sure you take out the hiding platform (if it has one). A rabbit can catch its claw in it and injure his toes as a result. This can happen either by breaking a toe or ripping the claw off.
You can even attach an xpen to the cage as a run. This way, they will have a completely safe habitat where you don’t have to constantly supervise them.
For me personally, that is the best option for a first-time rabbit owner
Things that WILL Get Chewed
There’s a number of things that will most likely end up being chewed and nibbled. Most commonly, this list includes:
- Skirting boards
- Charging cables
If it’s important or precious to you, keep it out of reach and put it well away!
My 2nd rabbit thumper would chew all of these, and my 1st rabbit had a thing for wallpaper while Speedy, when he’s bored, will nibble the carpet.
The best way to protect these things is to provide your rabbit with lots of toys to play with.
Cardboard boxes are great too, as a rabbit can chew and shred them to their heart’s content.
But if this is all a bit much for you, then an enclosure made from xpens may be the best way forward for you and your home.
I use one for Speedy when we go on vacation. I find it easier to use one as it offers him a safe place to sleep and play in while also keeping our accommodations safe from any mishaps.
If you decide to use an xpen, then one thing I would recommend is putting soft fleece blankets on your floor with maybe an old sheet over the top.
Then fasten the sheet to the pen in some way – I use wooden clothes pegs.
The blankets will cushion the floor and protect your rabbit’s feet from sore hock. Also, the sheet just makes it easier to clean up the bits and helps keep them inside the enclosure.
That’s All Folks (For Now)
These are just some of the experiences that I have had over the years of keeping house rabbits, and some of the things I have had to do to keep them safe and to keep my home tidy and safe for me.
Editor’s Note: Don’t forget to check out Rachel’s post with advice about How to Introduce a Pet Rabbit Into its New Home and the Steps to take in doing so!