We have 2 Dwarf Lop-Eared house rabbits. They live inside, but play out when it's sunny. I don't mention them often, but they regularly appear in the background of my photos. We never intended to have rabbits, but they found themselves homeless at around 12 months old, so we gave them a roof over their head on condition they always use the litter tray. They've complied, so we like to try and keep them happy without letting them eat all our cables, and that's why we first developed The Rabitat.
It really is as simple as taking two or more cardboard boxes, tape them shut, cut holes in the sides for doors and fasten them together - remembering to match up doorways to both boxes! With a sharp knife you can have your creation completed in under 10 minutes.
Make extra holes in the roof and sides so you can keep an eye on the rabbits, and have at least 2 exits. You can create a multitude of different arrangements, so the rabbits have something new and exciting to play in, and on!
Obviously the rabbits will remodel their Rabitat constantly - who cares? It's free! They can chew and rip the card as much as they like, scratch at the boxes and make doorways everywhere - and while they're doing that, they aren't chewing anything else. They don't actually eat half as much card as you'd expect.
We've had a few Rabitats now and we've tried ramps and stairways, opening flaps, corridors and huge central rooms with half a roof. We even tried adding an upstairs, and a completely sealed box - but annoyingly they didn't bother trying to get in! It really can be different each time depending on what boxes you have and how much time and creativity you want to invest. Even with only 2 boxes, you still have lots of options for something your rabbit can really have fun with. Depending on the size of your Rabitat, it can last 2 or 3 months before they've dismantled it enough that you have to flatten and recycle it.
Handy stuff we've found out through trial and error...
- A Rabitat with a straight end can be stood up behind a door or in another unused spot out of the way when not in use (really confuses the rabbits).
- Hiding food or treats inside the Rabitat is one of the most exciting things that can happen to a rabbit apparently.
- Keep doorways rough and a little small to help remove loose hair - the rabbits will make them bigger if they're not happy.
- Tape the boxes shut to give them strength for being climbed on, but make sure you can always get to your rabbits quickly if necessary.
- Your outdoor Rabitat will need to be moved under cover if it rains, and will not last as long. Check it daily and remove any soggy or grim looking boxes before they start to grow interesting mould.
- You can make alterations or repairs, move and add or remove boxes any time you want. The rabbits are fascinated by it when it's almost the same, but different.
- We have a lot less unwanted chewing, climbing and jumping on the window ledge when the Rabitat is in use.
- Whenever you move the Rabitat, you will need to get the sweeping brush or vacuum out - and it will have a lot of hair and bits of loose card inside, so crush and dismantle an old Rabitat outside or you'll be cursing me for hours.
The downside to the Rabitat is that it does look scruffy from certain angles, and if you use a few boxes then it'll be quite big. If you're a bit more crafty than me you can decorate your Rabitat - make it a cruise liner, a row of houses, or a castle. We've found our rabbits usually leave the side facing the main room alone, and don't make doors in it, so my youngest children have said they are designing the next Rabitat themselves....
If you make a Rabitat for your pets, please share a photo with us, we'd love to see it - and frankly copy it if you have some awesome idea we didn't think of!