Bunnies in ball pits highlight importance of rabbit enrichment

The RSPCA Danaher Animal Centre in Essex is raising awareness about the importance of rabbit enrichment.

The animal centre is showing off some creative ways to make sure your rabbits are ‘having a ball’, and Princess a Himalayan lionhead rabbit has been enjoying her time in a homemade ball pit.

The rabbit has been in the care of the RSPCA since March after she was brought in by the inspectors with a respiratory infection which has now been resolved and is now looking for her forever home.

Animal centre manager Debs Satchell said: “Whether it’s cubes or tubes, cardboard boxes, or perhaps shop-bought brain-stimulating ‘puzzle’ games, there is plenty to choose from to keep our bunnies entertained.

“We try to offer smaller residents at Danaher plenty to keep their minds occupied and try to change the enrichments we provide them with regularly to avoid them becoming bored.”

Dr Jane Tyson, the RSPCA’s rabbit and rodent welfare expert explained that rabbits are one of the UK’s most misunderstood pets who are all too often consigned to the end of the garden in a hutch alone.

She said: “However, rabbits are incredibly sociable animals and need to be housed with at least one other friendly rabbit. They are very active, intelligent animals and benefit from enrichment which can help keep their minds and bodies active and also strengthen the bond between you and your pet rabbits.

“Whilst not all rabbits will enjoy being in a ball pit, for those that do, this can be great enrichment and owners can scatter some tasty, healthy treats in the pit for the rabbits to find.

“It is important they are never forced to enter a ball pit and are always able to escape. They should also always be supervised whilst in the ball pit to ensure they don’t hurt themselves or start to nibble on the balls which could be dangerous.”

For more information about caring for rabbits, visit www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rabbits