18 Unique Toy Ideas for Pet Rabbits (cheap and free!)


what kind of toys are safe for rabbits?

Toys should be a part of every rabbit’s habitat. They provide mental enrichment and stimulation, keeping your rabbit active and healthy. But this doesn’t mean your rabbit will play with just any toy. Every bunny has their favorite way of playing, so it’s up to you to learn about the different types of toys and find the ones your rabbit will play with.

The best toys for rabbits give your rabbit a chance to use their natural instincts (digging, chewing, and foraging). Free toys, like cardboard and shredded paper, offer plenty of fun for rabbits. However, make sure your rabbit has a wide variety of toys to keep them happier in the long run.

Despite the importance of toys for rabbits, it can sometimes be disappointing when you get your rabbit a new toy only to find they don’t like it. The toy will be left completely untouched, your rabbit uninterested. When finding toys for your rabbit, you’ll need to consider how you can entice your rabbit to use their toys by understanding their behavior. You’ll also need to go through some trial and error with your rabbit as you figure out the toys they will like best.

Check out this list of my rabbit’s favorite toys.


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.


What toys do rabbits play with

Toys may seem like an added extra to give rabbits every once in a while, but they are actually a necessary part of any pet rabbit’s life. They can significantly improve a rabbit’s mental health by giving them ways to use their natural bunny behaviors and keep them interested in their surroundings. Good toys promote healthy exercise and natural curiosity, both of which will help to reduce boredom and depression.

In addition to the mental stimulation, some rabbit toys also promote good tooth health. Wooden toys, hay-based toys, and cardboard are all great materials for rabbits to chew on.

Rabbits have the instinct to chew, dig, and forage. When looking for toys for your rabbit, you want to find ones that can satisfy one of these behaviors. If they are unable to use these natural behaviors, rabbits are likely to become bored and frustrated. Bored rabbits are also much more likely to become increasingly destructive around the house. They’ll resort to chewing on baseboards, or digging into the carpet. The best kind of rabbit toys will serve as diversions for these destructive behaviors.

The types of toys that you’ll be looking for include:

  • Chew toys: These include wooden and other natural toys, such as hay-based toys and loofahs, for your rabbit to chew on and keep their teeth trim.
  • Foraging toys: These include puzzle toys, where you hide treats for your rabbit to find.
  • Habitat toys: Items such as tunnels and platform cat towers help rabbits explore and get different vantage points from around the room.
  • Digging toys: These are mats, boxes, and materials that your rabbit can dig into without worry of destroying anything important.
  • Tossing toys: Rabbits like to throw toys around with their teeth, these include many small plastic toys.

Types of toys to give your rabbit

There are a wide variety of different types of toys for rabbits to play with. If your rabbit doesn’t seem to like what you’ve given them, try something different. It’s also important to make sure your rabbit has a number of toys available, so they can use all of their natural instincts (digging, foraging and chewing) whenever they want to without destroying anything in your home.

rabbit with a willow ball
Many rabbit toys are made with willow twigs. These are a lot of fun for rabbits to chew on.

If your at a loss of what to give your rabbit, try some of these ideas:

  1. Packing paper. Plain white or brown packing paper that you get in packages can make a great digging and foraging toy for rabbits. Pile it up and sprinkle some treats in it to let your rabbit dig through it and find those hidden treats.
  2. Sticks. You can get apple sticks or willow sticks as chew toys at most pet stores. There are also plenty of wood types you can get from your backyard that are safe for rabbits. Just be sure that no dangerous chemicals or pesticides have been used.
  3. Hay-based toys. Woven or braided hay-based toys are excellent for rabbit teeth, and they are also super healthy for rabbits.
  4. Natural toys. Natural toys such as pinecones and loofahs can be fun chew toys for rabbits. Be sure to wash anything you bring in from outside and give the pinecones a few weeks to dry out before giving them to your rabbit.
  5. Wicker baskets. Any kind of untreated wicker product is safe for rabbits to chew on. This easy to chew material is a favorite of many rabbits. However, be careful of wicker furniture and baskets that have any kind of finishing varnish. If your rabbit takes a couple of nibbles from these it’s not a big deal, but you don’t want them to eat a large amount.
  6. Hanging toys. Many rabbits love to tug on hanging toys or play walls, especially if there is some kind of treat on them. You can easily make your own hanging toy with toilet paper tubes, or purchase some from pet stores. My rabbit really likes this toy from Small Pet Select.
  7. Ball toys. Willow balls, hay balls, and plastic balls can all be a lot of fun for rabbits. They’ll roll them around, toss them and chew on them to have a good time.
  8. Plastic tossing toys. Hard plastic toys can be fun for rabbits to toss around. Baby toys, such as stacking cups, plastic rings and rattles can actually be good options. You can also give your rabbit bottle caps from soda bottles to toss around, just be sure to wash them first.
  9. Seagrass mats. Woven grass mats are a great digging toy for rabbits. Typically they’ll be made of seagrass or woven timothy hay. They’ll chew and dig into the mat until it’s completely destroyed.
  10. Cardboard boxes. Cardboard boxes are an extremely versatile toy for rabbits. They can be flattened to make mats or cut up to make DIY toys and digging boxes for rabbits. You can also use them as habitat items to make hiding houses, tunnels, and platforms.
  11. DIY toys. There are so many types of toys you can make using common household items, such as toilet paper rolls. Try this tutorial to get you started on some cheap and easy rabbit toys.
  12. Paper towels. A crumpled up paper towel can be a fun toy for rabbits to toss around as long as your rabbit isn’t trying to eat the entire towel.
  13. Shredded paper. Piles of shredded or ripped-up paper is great for adding to a large bin for your rabbit to dig into. You can hide treats within the pile of paper for your rabbit to find as they forage and dig through the paper.
  14. Puzzle toys. Any toy where you hide a treat inside for your rabbit to find is great for their foraging mind. My rabbit’s preferred puzzle toy is actually a cat toy. It’s a food dispenser treat ball that you have to roll around to get the food and treats out of.
  15. Climbing toys. Climbing toys, like short cat towers, are a great way to give your rabbit a different vantage point. It can also be an excellent way to encourage your rabbit to get more exercise and stay healthy.
  16. Cotton or fleece material. Cotton and fleece material is safe for rabbits if they ingest a little. Old towels, T-shirts, or blankets can be good toys. Mostly this type of toy will be a digging toy for rabbits. They will shove it around or try to tunnel underneath it.
  17. Untreated wood toys. Wood toys are great for keeping rabbit teeth trimmed down. Just be sure the wood is untreated so you don’t risk your rabbit ingesting any dangerous chemicals.
  18. Tunnels. Tunnels are another fun habitat toy that can give your rabbit a different vantage point. You can even make fun tunnels out of a simple cardboard box!

What types of toys to avoid

While there are definitely a lot of different options for giving toys to rabbits, there are also some types of toys that you want to avoid. These are mainly toys that are made with materials that you wouldn’t want a rabbit to ingest or have a higher chance of causing a rabbit to choke. While in most cases your rabbit will be fine, it’s best to avoid anything that’s potentially dangerous.

The types of toys you want to keep away from your rabbit include:

  • Toys with excessive glue. A little dab of glue used to keep pieces of a toy together is usually fine, but you want to avoid any toys where you can see big globs of glue at the seams.
  • Painted toys. Since rabbits chew on their toys it’s best to avoid the painted ones. The only exception is if a toy is using vegetable dye coloring. You can tell the difference by running the toy under the faucet. If the color starts to run, then it’s using the dye and is okay for rabbits to chew.
  • Toys with bird seeds. Many bird toys are okay for rabbits, but you want to avoid any that have seeds included. Most of these seeds are not good for rabbit digestion.
  • Soft plastic or rubber toys. Avoid any plastic or rubber toy that your rabbit would be able to bite a piece off of and eat. These aren’t good for rabbit digestion.
  • Plastic bags. Any kind of plastic bags or packing paper should be avoided. Just like with young children, these can be a choking hazard for rabbits.
  • Cedar wood. Cedar and other types of wood with a strong aroma are not good for rabbits. If exposed over a long period of time, these can end up causing health complications including liver damage.
  • Wood that has been treated. Any kind of wood or wicker that has been treated or has a varnish should be avoided.
DIY rabbit toys
You can easily make some fun DIY rabbit toys for your rabbit using old toilet paper tubes.

How to find toys your rabbit will want to play with

The problem with toys is that it can be difficult to find any that your rabbit is actually willing to play with. I know I’ve struggled over the years to satisfy my rabbit’s need to play and chew. I’ll get brand new toys, only to find that my bunny ignores it and continues to go after the baseboards instead. It took a lot of trial and error for me to actually find the items that interested my rabbit.

Unfortunately, there is no way to know what your rabbit will like to play with ahead of time. While some toys have a tendency to be more popular among rabbits, every bunny has their own idea of what is fun to play with. You’ll have to learn about your rabbit’s personality by giving them a variety of toys. Eventually, you’ll find some items that your rabbit absolutely loves, so you can continue to get your rabbit these items.

Toys that I have found are favorites among a lot of rabbits (including those I work with at a rabbit rescue):

  • Willow balls
  • Cardboard toys
  • Hanging toys
  • Puzzle toys
rabbit hay toy
You can get fun toys for your rabbit where you hide treats in a pile of hay. This will also encourage your rabbit to munch on hay until they can get to the yummy treat.

Where to get new toys

Many of the toys on this list can be easily found for free in your own home. If you’re looking to buy toys, the place I always recommend is an online shop called Small Pet Select. I discovered this store about a year ago and have been really impressed with the quality of their products. I even found something that my sister’s rabbit liked, who was a notorious toy-hater (meadow hay fidget sticks).

Small Pet Select has a a variety of hay based and natural toys available. Try out a bunch of their available options so your rabbit will be able to choose their favorites from among the toys they send. Inevitably, your rabbit will ignore some of the toys you get, but you’re sure to find something that your rabbit absolutely loves. After you’ve figured out which toys your rabbit will play with, you can continue to get just those ones in the future. (If you use the code BUNNYLADY at checkout, you can get 15% off your first order!)

To give your rabbit even more choices, you can make a number of fun DIY toys using cardboard and items you probably have lying around your home. I put together a few easy step-by-step guides that you can check out to create some of these cheap bunny toys.

How to keep your rabbit interested in their toys

Just like children, rabbits will eventually lose interest in the shiny new toy that you gave them a week ago. It’s not uncommon for a previous favorite chew toy to eventually go completely ignored. To help your rabbit stay interested in their toys, it’s a good idea to rotate which ones they have available at any given time. Every couple of weeks take some toys away and give your rabbit a different set of toys. Then, a couple weeks later give the old toys back and see how your rabbit has renewed interest in them. This way of rotating toys will keep you from having to spend a fortune on new toys every time your rabbit gets bored of the old ones.

Sources:

  1. Curley, Kendall. “How to Pick Out Safe Rabbit Toys.” PetMD. March 7, 2019. https://www.petmd.com/rabbit/care/how-pick-out-safe-rabbit-toys.
  2. “Toys.” House Rabbit Society. July 20, 2011. https://rabbit.org/faq-toys.

Tips and Tricks Newsletter

If you are new to caring for rabbits, check out the Bunny Lady bimonthly newsletter. Right after you sign up, you’ll receive a FREE pdf rabbit care guidebook. I put together a guide that goes over all the basics of rabbit care so you have it all in one place. Then you will receive tips and tricks about rabbit care straight to your inbox so that you know you’ll be taking excellent care of your new rabbit.

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.

Amy Pratt

Amy Pratt is a lifelong rabbit owner who has been specializing with rabbits at the Humane Rescue Alliance. She helps to socialize the rabbits and educate volunteers on the care and behavior of these small mammals.

Recent Posts