Wild rabbits are notorious for digging holes and for living underground. For their own safety, rabbits live in huge underground colonies. Before returning to their underground dens, wild rabbits only come out to graze and exercise.

So, why do rabbits dig holes in the ground? You might be surprised to learn that your pet rabbit digs instinctively. For domestic rabbits, digging is more of a pastime than a means of survival.

In this article, we’ll look at why rabbits like to dig and when their digging turns destructive. We’ll explain to you how to build a dig box for your bunny and what you need. Finally, we have answers to all of your questions.

Why Do Rabbits Dig Holes infographic

 

Why Do Rabbits Dig Holes?

Your pet rabbit, believe it or not, has a natural instinct to dig. Most rabbits dig holes in the wild. To disguise their den from predators, wild rabbits will fill them with their fur and proceed to cover their holes with leaves and twigs.

Rabbits dig burrows for protection and to escape extreme weather temperatures. Rabbits will also dig when they are bored, anxious, or just want to feel protected. Digging gives both physical and mental stimulation to your beloved pet rabbit.

Why Do Domestic Rabbits Dig Holes?

Digging is a frequent trait of both domestic and wild rabbits, and it is considered normal behavior. In reality, digging is necessary for wild rabbit survival. They dig warrens and live together in a large group.

Although we may feel that our pet rabbits do not require digging, it does fulfill a lot of their welfare needs and exercises their muscles in ways that are beneficial to their health.

Additional reasons for digging are:

  • Rabbits’ nails are always growing. Digging in the dirt or on a grass mat helps trim down your pet bunny’s ever-growing nails.
  • Rabbits living in a home may dig to relieve stress. 
  • It’s also possible that your rabbit is trying to gain your attention because they are feeling ignored or lonely.
  • It’s possible that your pet rabbit is bored. They start digging holes in your carpets and maybe in the corners of a room to relieve boredom.

Rabbits Dig Holes To Build a Nest for Their Babies

Rabbits have a habit of digging holes before the birth of their babies. Pregnant rabbits dig a shallow hole to create a birthing nest. Fur, twigs, grass, and leaves will next be added by the pregnant rabbit. Wild animals or predators cannot see the nests because they are built in such a way that they are hidden.

Rabbits Dig Holes To Play

If you have pet rabbits, they will almost certainly want your attention, and the only way for them to get it is to dig into your yard. Digging up your furniture or plants might also be a sign. Provide your bunny with plenty of mental stimulation in the form of toys.

 

What Caused My Rabbit to Begin Digging Destructively?

The leading cause of destructive behavior in rabbits like excessive digging is boredom. Destructive behavior includes the following:

Digging Into Their Litter Box

If the digging happens when you’re trying out a new litter, go back to the old one. It’s possible that your rabbit will dislike the new litter.

Digging in Her Cage

 Add a blanket for your rabbit to dig on if he or she is in a Hutch with wire floors. Your pet rabbit’s paws will not be injured as a result of this.

Digging at the Carpet or Floor Surface

Add a grass mat in the area where your rabbit is continually digging at the carpet, place a grass mat.

While it is perfectly normal for your pet rabbits to go about digging in their hutch or cage, some rabbits in cages appear to dig more than others. If the digging is constant, your rabbit could also be stressed

A lack of mental enrichment, a lack of companionship, or illness are all common causes.

rabbit inside hole

 

What Is a Digging Box?

A digging box is a dedicated area where rabbits can dig in order to express their natural behaviors. It’s generally constructed of cardboard and filled with a rabbit-friendly substrate like shredded paper, as well as wooden chews for added fun. You may construct a digging box for your rabbit as a fun and easy toy.

How Is a Digging Box Helpful?

Digging is a natural behavior that should be encouraged since it helps your rabbit burn off extra energy. A digging box may also provide your rabbit with a sense of security and protection; they’ll feel more at ease in an area free of danger.

A digging box intends to confine the mess created by the digging and shredding, therefore it must have high enough sides to keep the contents within while yet allowing your bunny to hop in and out.

 

How To Make a Digging Box?

To make a digging box for your bunny is pretty straightforward.

What You Will Need:

  • A cardboard box is two times the size of your bunny. Make sure that there is no ink printing on the inside or the outside of the box.
  • A plastic tub or container – double your bunny’s size applies 

Safe Rabbit Materials

  • Hay
  • Shredded paper
  • Toilet roll tubes
  • Towels
  • Soil
  • Sand

Hay: This is, without a doubt, the simplest and greatest solution for your rabbit’s digging requirements. Place the hay inside the box and bury a treat or toy for your rabbit to find.

Paper that has been shredded: Rabbits also like digging through shredded paper and sifting through it. Drop the leftovers into a trash box if you have a home office with a shredder.

Telephone directory: This may also be used as a toy. Store your bunny inside this book and place it in a box. She’ll begin tearing the pages apart with her teeth and claws. She’ll be allowed to dig around after she’s finished.

Paper Bags: The rustling sound attracts rabbits, and your pet will enjoy digging and pulling the sack apart. For added enjoyment, tuck a goodie into the bag.

Towels. Old towels are fun and safe for your rabbit’s digging box. Your furry friend will have tons of fun scratching and bunching the towel and the material won’t damage her nails.

Soil. If everything else fails, fill a box with soil. But think about it carefully. Because soil is filthy, your pet will need to be cleaned afterward. You’ll also be forming a link between dirt and enjoyment. It’s understandable if your rabbit thinks your flowerbeds are fair game.

Materials To Avoid

  • Magazines with a glossy finish
  • Ink newspapers
  • Sand, sawdust, or clay
  • Plastic foam packaging material
  • Litter

In a digging box, avoid using sand, sawdust, or clay. This can irritate a rabbit’s eyes and nose if it gets into them. Rabbit litter should also be avoided because it can cause allergic reactions. You also don’t want to make a link between trash and having fun.

Instructions:

Remove any tape or staples from a large clean cardboard box.

Fill the box with shredded paper, straw, and old toilet paper tubes that your rabbit will like.

Make sure it’s not being used as a litter tray on a daily basis.

To keep your rabbit engaged, hide a few goodies, like toys and treats at the bottom.

 

Alternatives to a Digging Box

Grass Mats

Made particularly for pet rabbit cages, grass mats let your rabbit satisfy his digging needs. They fit in the bottom of the rabbit cage and are ideal for digging or chewing by your rabbit. 

Spaying and Neutering Your Pet Rabbit

Spaying or neutering your pet rabbit will prevent your bunny from engaging in a variety of undesirable behaviors, including digging in his cage.

If nothing else helps to keep your rabbit from digging you should take him to the veterinarian for a checkup. His obsessive digging might be a sign of a medical condition.

Cute brown dwarf rabbit digging a hole in the ground.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Spaying or Neutering My Rabbit Prevent Them From Digging? 

While spaying or neutering rabbits won’t entirely cure the problem of continuous digging, it can frequently assist. This is especially true for female rabbits, who have an innate desire to build nests. Males, too, can benefit from neutering since it calms down their temperament and makes them less inclined to dig destructively.

Are Pinecones Safe To Put In My Rabbit’s Digging Box?

Pinecones are absolutely fine to put in the digging box of your pet rabbit. Sticks, paper, straw, and pine cones are all ideal chewing materials to add to your rabbit’s digging box.

Can I Stop My Rabbit Digging?

Since rabbits are inherent diggers, there is no guarantee that you can stop them from digging. . You shouldn’t be too concerned about stopping your rabbit as long as it isn’t putting itself in danger or destroying your belongings. Distracting your rabbit from destructive or harmful digging is the easiest way to stop it.

 

Mystery Solved: Why Do Rabbits Dig Holes?

Our pet rabbits, it turns out, are hard-wired to dig. Not every rabbit enjoys digging, so don’t be concerned if your rabbit doesn’t seem interested in digging.

Domestic rabbits dig when they are bored, stressed, and are afraid. This behavior is completely normal except when their digging becomes destructive. 

Providing your rabbits with a digging box helps keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Trimming their ever-growing nails and getting some much-needed exercise are other benefits.

Make sure to use only safe materials when constructing your digging box. Add extra stimulation by hiding toys and treats in their digging box. 

Let us know where your rabbit’s favorite digging spot is.

 

 

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Sarah Logan

Sarah Logan is the Editor here at The Bunny Hub. Sarah is a long-time bunny lover having kept pet rabbits since early childhood. With over 35 years of experience caring for fluffy-tailed, lop-eared friends, Sarah wanted to create a space dedicated to providing expert advice on not only general care, but proper nutrition, and, the best products and accessories every serious owner needs. Here you will find everything you need to make informed decisions in all aspects of becoming a proud rabbit owner. We do all the hard work for you. We research and test out the latest products, then we tell you about our discoveries. From choosing the right breed of bunny for your family, to making purchases you won’t regret for the important things like a hutch for your fur baby to live in. We’re here to make sure you have all the information you need to give your bunny and happy and healthy life.

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