Friday, 22 April 2011

RABBITS AT PLAY

Did you know that rabbits love to play? This is a fact that many people, who never have lived with a bunny in their house, find surprising. Even so, these animals enjoy themselves in their own inimitable way.

As dogs and cats become frisky on occasions, rabbits will suddenly dash around the room for the sheer joy of running. In my When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) memoir, I wrote of the time my rabbit, Gideon, discovered the joys of racing at top speed in the hallway of the house I rented at the time. I was often distracted from my writing in the mornings by the sound of his exuberant charging back and forth. Watching his obvious pleasure in his new game gave me immense enjoyment too.

Other rabbits also demonstrated their sense of fun throughout the years. Neutrino, named after a song by Klaatu, loved to push toys out of a cardboard tube used by builders to make concrete pillars. I suppose it seemed like a burrow to him. The odds and ends I shoved back into it was like dirt that caved in. We spent many happy moments playing this game.

Cardboard bunny houses are one of the most entertaining toys for both them and their humans. Every rabbit I've had enjoyed them. All I did was to cut an entrance in each end of a box and place it on the floor. My bunnies chewed on their houses, hopped on top of them, and even napped inside them. When I placed an old phone book inside, the rabbits spent many happy hours shredding the pages.

My rabbit-loving friends and I also placed hay in toilet paper tubes to encourage them to eat more of this beneficial food. Like children, bunnies would rather eat treats than something that helps their digestion. The coarse fibres in hay also prevents their teeth from growing too long. In addition, placing hay inside the tubes made it fun for them to eat. My rabbits often tossed them around while they dined.

In my When a Man Loves a Rabbit book, I also wrote about a fun toy I made for my long-eared friends. Here's how it came about.

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During the summer, I invented a cool bunny toy. My PC had
ruined a fair number of CD-R disks and I was idly examining
one when an idea struck me. I found a toilet paper tube,
flattened it and turned it into a spindle. Then I shoved it through the centre of the disk. The toy rolled back and forth and made a
satisfactory noise, from a rabbit's viewpoint.

All three of my lads loved the new plaything and my house
was filled with the distinctive sound of their game. The only
problem with my new invention was that the aluminum coating
on the disk started to peel. I scraped it off, so that the rabbits
wouldn't ingest it and that solved the problem.

When I told the folks on PetBunny about my new invention,
people liked the idea so much that they started making them for
their bunnies.

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When a Man Loves a Rabbit contains many more fascinating stories of life with house bunnies. These range from the tragic to the hilarious. Click here to read more about this book and to order it. You may also e-mail me directly if the comment form doesn't work.