Rabbits poop a lot. Once you have a pet rabbit, this becomes all too apparent when you find their little cocoa puff poops scattered around your home. Most rabbits can be litter trained relatively easily. However, some rabbits are a little more stubborn and will continue to leave their poops outside their litter box.
The best way to prevent your rabbit from pooping everywhere is to get them spayed or neutered. This will reduce the territorial instincts that cause the rabbit to scatter their droppings. You should also make sure they have a welcoming and easy-to-reach litter box available at all times.
Even rabbits who are litter box trained will occasionally poop outside of their box. It’s pretty much impossible to stop this behavior entirely, but there are steps you can take to significantly reduce the amount of poop you find scattered around.
Important: This post contains affiliate links. As an associate to Amazon, Small Pet Select, and Chewy.com, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
Why is your rabbit pooping everywhere?
In general, rabbits are actually fairly clean animals. They will try to choose a couple of spaces that are out of the way to use as their bathroom so that the rest of their space is clean. However, some rabbits are not as good at keeping the place clean. Some rabbits have stronger instincts to mark their territory, or they still need to learn house manners.
The most common reasons you will find rabbit poop around your house include:
- Territorial pooping: Rabbits are territorial animals that will scatter their poops around an area to claim it as their own. They will do this when they first explore a new area and if they share an exercise space with another animal they are not bonded to.
- When a rabbit reaches maturity: When young rabbits reach adulthood, they are more likely to act up and start pooping everywhere even if they were previously litter trained. In most cases, getting your rabbit spayed or neutered will significantly reduce or completely eliminate this behavior.
- The rabbit was never litter box trained: If your rabbit was never litter box trained, it’s a lot more likely that they will use random corners in the room or spaces underneath furniture for their bathroom. It is still possible to litter train an adult rabbit, but the older they are the more set in their ways they’ll be, so it may take extra time. (learn how to litter train a rabbit)
Can you ever get a rabbit to use the litter box 100% of the time?
Even the most well-behaved, litter-trained rabbit will still leave an occasional poo outside of their litter box. If your rabbit ever gets surprised, excited, or scared, they may temporarily forget their litter box manners and leave a poop behind.
A rabbit who is exploring a new place for the first time will also scatter a couple of poops around to claim the new territory as their own. However, this behavior should stop after your rabbit feels comfortable in the new space.
1. Keep your rabbit’s habitat clean
If your rabbit is notorious for using the bathroom outside of their enclosure or litter box, the first place to look is at the enclosure itself. If their home base isn’t clean enough, rabbits might protest and try to find a bathroom elsewhere. Try to make a habit of scooping out the soiled parts of their litter box every day and keep the rest of your rabbit’s enclosure in a clean condition.
- Read more: How to keep a rabbit enclosure clean
2. Get your rabbit spayed or neutered
If your rabbit has not been neutered yet, this might be the simple solution to your problem. Many rabbits’ litter box habits improve pretty quickly after they’ve been fixed. It is important to note that it may take up to a month after the surgery to see an improvement in their pooping habits. It takes a few weeks for the rabbit’s hormones to calm down after getting neutered.
For the spay or neuter surgery, I recommend finding a rabbit veterinarian rather than a general veterinarian who sees cats and dogs. Check out the House Rabbit Society’s vet listings to find one near you (US and Canada), or the Rabbit Welfare Association if you live in the UK.
3. Keep other pets away from your rabbit’s area
Rabbits are more likely to spread territorial droppings if they share an area with other pets. This is especially common if they share a play area with other rabbits who they are not bonded to. For example, when I volunteer with rescue rabbits they are let out for exercise one at a time in a play area. The rabbits will always leave poop scattered about because the place smells like other rabbits.
This behavior happens less frequently with other types of house pets, such as cats and dogs. However, it’s still possible that your rabbit feels their territory is threatened by other pets and is scattering their poop to claim the territory for themselves. If you recently brought a new pet home, it’s more likely your rabbit will exhibit this behavior. It may subside as they get used to the smell of the new pet.
4. Make the litter box an inviting place for your rabbit
If you want your rabbit to use the litter box instead of choosing other places in the house, you’ll want to make the box an enticing place for your rabbit. There are some simple changes you can make to the litter box setup that will encourage better potty habits.
- Place hay in the litter box. Rabbits like to munch on hay while they do their business, so adding a pile of timothy hay to their box can improve litter box habits.
- Use a larger litter box. Make sure the box you use for your rabbit is big enough for your rabbit to fit in and turn around. I recommend getting a cat litter box for your rabbit and avoiding the small corner boxes that are marketed toward bunnies.
- Use a low-sided litter box for elderly, disabled, or obese rabbits. If your rabbit has any kind of mobility problems due to excess weight, arthritis, or some other disability, they might have trouble jumping into the litter box. Get a box with low sides or a low entrance (like this one) so that your rabbit can use it more easily.
5. Make sure your rabbit is healthy
A loss in previously good litter box habits can be an indication of a health problem. It’s always a good idea to bring your rabbit in for a health checkup whenever they show any significant changes in behavior or habits like this.
Since rabbits are prey animals, they have evolved to try to hide their symptoms when sick. This helped to prevent them from looking like a weak link and getting picked off by predators. For that reason, small changes in behavior (like the loss of litter box habits) can be the result of a different underlying condition.
6. Let your rabbit pick the location of their bathroom
Sometimes rabbits are stubborn. They will decide they want to use one (or two) specific spots for their bathroom and refuse to use any other. In times like these, it’s best to work with your rabbit’s habits than against them.
Even if it’s a little inconvenient, place a litter tray in the spots where your rabbit seems to prefer as their bathroom. Scoop some of their dropping inside the box so your rabbit will understand they are supposed to use it. It’s also a good idea to place a pee pad (like one of these dog potty training pads) on the ground surrounding the box since your rabbit might go right next to the box, to begin with.
7. Use multiple litter boxes
If your rabbit is pooping all over when they are exploring and exercising, try giving them one or two more litter boxes in their exercise space. Sometimes the rabbit just can’t be bothered to go all the way back to their home litter box to use the bathroom and need a closer option.
You can tell if your rabbit is scattering poops for territory or needs to use the bathroom by how the poops are placed. If they leave all their droppings in a pile, it means they needed to use the bathroom and didn’t want to go back to the litter box. If they have one or two poops scattered around various areas of the room, that means they are territorial droppings and multiple litter boxes won’t help much.
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Recommended Products and Brands
Important: These are Affiliate links. As an associate to Amazon, Small Pet Select, and Chewy.com, I may receive a small commission from qualifying purchases.
The two brands that I use when buying food for my rabbit are Oxbow and Small Pet Select. These both have high quality rabbit products and are companies that care about the health of our small animals. If you are purchasing anything from Small Pet Select use the code BUNNYLADY at checkout to get 15% off your first order.
- Hay: Second Cutting Timothy Hay from Small Pet Select
- Pellets: Oxbow Garden Select Food for Rabbits
- Treats: Oxbow Simple Rewards
- Toys: Small Pet Select Natural Toys
- Enclosure/cage: A rabbit exercise pen
- Rabbit carrier: SleepyPod Mobile Pet Bed