Rabbits are funny, little creatures. They live their lives grazing in a meadow in big social groups, while keeping a wary eye out for predators. If one is spotted, they hop quickly away to safety, before coming out to graze again when the coast is clear.
This is how they live their lives and, while we know this is how they live, we as humans have added our own little ideas to how rabbits live and how rabbits act.
Strangely, this has led to some misinformation floating about regarding rabbits and what they do during their daily lives, due to the fiction we have created around them.
Do rabbits dig holes and burrows like we see in cartoons or TV shows? Or is that a myth that we have perpetuated? In this article, we seek to find this out and explore whether rabbits actually dig holes or burrows.
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Do Rabbits Dig Holes?
Absolutely, domestic and wild rabbits will engage in digging activity and will go about digging holes all over the place. Even if there is only a little bit of something to dig, a rabbit will most likely dig in it with full gusto.
As to why they dig holes, it is in part instinctual, part good survival skills, and part fun.
Most mammals throughout time have developed methods of surviving, with most of them becoming burrowers, since one of the first mammalian animals was a digger by nature.
Throughout time, even if the mammal lived in open grassland, they still made use of the sharp claws that that first digging animal left to them in their genetics for survival.
Some used them to climb trees, like primates, some used them for hunting, like cats, and some kept them for digging, like rabbits.
Rabbits dig not just holes, but whole networks of interconnecting tunnels called warrens that all the rabbits in the area use.
These tunnels provide protection from predators, somewhere to sleep, somewhere to give birth and raise young, and a place that has a consistent temperature compared to the outside.
In fact, digging is so important to a rabbit’s survival that it has become an instinct to dig in the same way that being social is for humans – even if we aren’t talkers, we do instinctively seek out others most of the time.
They also dig for the fun of it, because digging has been hardwired into their brain to be something they do, so for rabbits it is a fun and soothing activity that makes them feel good (which is adorable in our opinion).
Should I Let My Rabbit Dig?
Absolutely, you should let your rabbit do some digging. However, we also understand that this may not be ideal if you don’t want your yard to become a complete mess.
They may be small, but never underestimate a rabbit’s digging ability. What took you years to cultivate can be destroyed in moments, if you turn your back for a few seconds there will be a big hole in the middle of your lawn.
Therefore, you might want to supervise your rabbits in the garden, as they are incredibly determined and will keep digging if they are left to their own devices.
They may even escape from your garden, which is terrible, as they do not have the street smarts or the savvy to survive in the wild like their cousins do.
They have not been raised to watch out for predators or to not eat toxic plants, so they will have no defenses against these. As such, it might be best to create an area where they can dig, but that is impossible for them to go beyond.
A digging box is perfect for this. It allows for your bunny to get out its natural urges, while keeping them safe. A box like this will keep your rabbit entertained all day and help you to relax in the knowledge they are still safe.
How To Make A Digging Box
Since a digging box is a large container that your pet can dig through, it has to be an appropriate size and shape to accommodate for the animal. Depending on how large your bunny is will depend on how big the digging box is.
Ideally, you should have two: one in the rabbit’s hutch and one outside in the garden, with the one in the garden being bigger. However, we recognize this is hard and not everyone has the space for this, but if you do, you should do it.
The one outside should be available while the rabbit is exploring, and they should be encouraged to use it to avoid any large holes in the garden itself.
The one in the hutch will be great, as a rabbit will tend to be active at dawn and at dusk, times when we are asleep or going to bed.
The best materials to put in these containers are:
- Hay. – This is the most convenient option and the easiest one to get a hold of.
- Shredded Paper. – This is probably the material they love the most to dig through.
- Paper Bags. – The rustling sound really appeals to rabbits, just make sure to put something else in there with the bags.
- Towels – An old towel you don’t want anymore will be great, as they are soft and rabbits love bunching them up.
- Soil. – This is really a last resort, as soil is messy and may have some undesirable creatures you don’t want in your house. Also, you do not want your rabbit to make the connection in their brain that soil equals digging, because they will ruin your garden.
Rabbits do dig holes, because it is instinctual to them, and they love the activity. While you should not encourage them to dig in soil, you should not discourage the activity of digging.
Instead, you should find a healthy outlet for it by making a digging box for them to use at their leisure.