Contributed by Elise M.
Once upon a time, I had a nice house. I had baseboards, drywall, fine furniture and everything was nice and tidy. And then I got rabbits. A now, it’s all just a memory.
Despite copious amounts of internet research, no amount of bunny proofing seems to have saved my home from two little rabbits. Who would have thought that they could outsmart us?
Our first bunny proofing methods were to keep our rabbits to a single room, minimize the damage. This worked fine until we discovered that our older bunny, Coffey, was protégé to Houdini, and could escape anything. And then would chew on everything and pee everywhere. It was…enlightening.
Next we tried distraction. We bought tons of toys for them to play with that would keep them so busy they’d have no desire to chew on anything human. That was just a dream. Why chew on a toy specially designed to make a rabbit happy when you can chew on mom’s favourite chair?
Our next step was to follow the traditional methods, we put up baby gates on the rooms we didn’t want them in. We put foam protecting wrap on all the cords and built fences to keep them away from electronics. Rabbits apparently LOVE to eat plastic baby gates. Coffey was the first to discover that rabbit teeth work well on plastic, when she broke out of her cage while we were at work. She was able to carve a hole the size of her body right through the middle of the gate. We were certainly surprised to find her out of her cage and back in her favourite forbidden hidey hole. We tried spraying on the bitter apple spray which just made the gate tastier, and decided that wouldn’t work. We figured out a way to block the holes on the baby gates, and thought that was done. Instead we had now given our buns a nice, loud way to wake us up in the morning, pulling on the baby gate leading into our bedroom with all their might at 6am on a Saturday morning. Not impressed. From now on, we only have metal baby gates which are much more effective.
Eventually we learned to tune out the baby gate crunching, but we didn’t remember to bunny proof their new favourite toys…the corners on the walls and the baseboards. This took some creativity. We tried reprimands, which did nothing. We tried putting things that smelled icky to rabbits (like human body spray) onto the walls, tabasco, etc, but nothing would deter them. My husband ended up taking small pieces of 2×1 wood on the wall over the corners that were getting chewed on. It works, though now we have the strangest looking baseboards. We also put up foam corners designed for babies, which seems to help a bit.
Electronics had to be off limits, any cords were wrapped in wire loom (snap on wire protector) from the hardware store, or fenced off. Eventually the rabbits seemed to learn to not go near them, though we still find the occasional set of headphones we left too low that now have nice chew marks all along the cable.
I think the most interesting bunny proofing we forgot to do was remotes. We no longer have the ‘back’ or ‘9’ button on our TV remote, and my husband thought it would be cute to have one of our buns play video games with him until he lost the ‘select’ button on his PS3 remote. Those are now always turned upside down, though one never knows when they may strike at them again. At least the buns knew what to get ‘Dad’ for Christmas that year.
We have yet to figure out how to protect our furniture. One would think that rabbits wouldn’t chew on leather, since it’s cow after all, but we learned that’s not true. Our IKEA chair (the fake wood) was also a favourite toy for a few weeks, but at least that wasn’t an expensive loss. Tables were all switched to metal, and things were now stored in large plastic bins instead of boxes.
Bunny proofing seems to be an evolving process of trying to outsmart each other. Who knows what they will chew up next.
About Elise M.: I am Elise, proud bunny Mom to Coffey (2 year old female Netherland Dwarf) and Mocha (1.5 year old female Mini Rex)
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