Environmental enrichment refers to improving the environment in which your rabbit lives. It offers a variety of:
- Housing areas
- Opportunities for Foraging
The goal of environmental enrichment is to improve the quality of your rabbit’s life and their welfare.
The provision of toys and other environmental enrichment items includes handling animals and socialization with them. Environmental enrichment should be
Increase the variety in your rabbit’s day to day life
Encourage natural behavior.
Your rabbit will benefit from environmental enrichment. This is particularly important if your rabbit is left alone for more than four hours each day.
Why is enrichment so important for rabbits
Rabbits are intelligent, curious, social, and active animals. It is easy for rabbits to become bored and their welfare can suffer. Many pet rabbits are kept in a cage for long periods of time every day. They must have control over their environment to avoid stress and boredom.
Your rabbit’s environment should be considered when enrichment is given. You could, for example, build a bigger pen to allow your rabbit’s hutch to be opened onto. This will encourage your rabbit’s exploration and exercise. Large floor space and high ceilings allow for normal behavior such as:
- Tossing their hind legs up.
You should consider the psychological and physical stimulation that you can offer your rabbit when creating an environment for enrichment. Materials should be non-toxic and have smooth edges. You must inspect enrichment items for potential injuries and damage regularly. Any items found to be dangerous or damaged should be discarded or replaced.
Ideas to enrich the environment for rabbits include:
Hide places and platforms in their hutch.
Toys and other objects that can be used to explore, manipulate, probe, encourage play, and permit digging and scent marking. You can purchase toys online or at pet shops. You should have multiple toys to rotate. You should not place them all in the same hutch or pen and leave them alone. They’ll quickly become bored.
Nutritional enrichment — offer food in a way to encourage your rabbits’ foraging for and work for their food. A treat ball containing small pieces of carrots or other food might be one example. To encourage foraging, you could also hide leafy greens in their hutch or under the hay.
Positive interactions between humans — This includes grooming your rabbit, playing games and training it using positive reward-based methods like clicker training.