Rabbits are always digging! They have a natural instinct to dig, but what can you do about it? You could try to stop your rabbit from digging in one place by filling the hole with rocks and other materials, but they will just find another spot.
A better solution is to give them a designated area they can dig in – a digging box. This way, you’ll be able to keep an eye on their activity and make sure that there’s no risk of injury or harm while they’re enjoying their hobby.
What is a rabbit dig box?
A digging box is a designated place for rabbits to dig in that allows them to express their natural behaviours. It is usually made from cardboard and filled with a rabbit safe substrate like shredded paper and includes wooden chews to provide enrichment.
A digging box is a fun, simple toy you can make for your rabbit. Rabbits love to dig, so filling a suitable box with things your rabbit would like can be a fun and easy way to have plenty of foraging fun for an exploring bunny.
Pet owners with outdoor rabbits often want to give their pet a place to dig that is safe and gets them out of the house so I’ve also included how to make an outdoor digging pit in this article.
It’s important that the materials used to create the digging box are safe for rabbits, so I am going to cover how easy it is to make a bunny-safe digging box for rabbits using 3 simple steps.
Why your rabbit needs a digging box
Dig boxes are a great way to provide enrichment for rabbits who have a natural instinct to dig. The dig box can be used as an area where they are allowed (and encouraged) the freedom of digging in, while you keep watch on their activity and safety at all times.
Digging helps your rabbit burn of excess energy, and is a natural behaviour that deserves to be encouraged. A digging box can also give your rabbit a sense of security and safety, they’ll feel more at home in their environment where there is no risk of injury or harm.
In the wild, rabbits will burrow into soft ground or undergrowth for protection from predators in order to escape danger quickly if needed; so it’s not surprising they enjoy digging at home too. It takes a lot of effort to dig and create tunnels which helps keep them physically fit.
Keeping your rabbit occupied with digging will stop them from getting bored, which can lead to destructive behaviour like chewing your furniture and digging up your plants.
Digging and chewing in their box will help keep teeth and claws healthy, which is essential for rabbits’ wellbeing and means less trips to the vets.
It will keep your rabbit happy and healthy. It’s also a good idea to have a dig box if your rabbit likes chewing on cords or furniture, eliminating this problem altogether is the best option by providing an outlet for your bunny to dig and chew.
If you’ve got a small area to house your rabbit and they’re getting restless on the days when it’s too wet outside then providing them with a digging box will help keep your bunnies entertained!
How to Make Your Rabbit an Indoor Digging Box
Step 1: Choose a box the right size to use for your rabbit
Decide what size to make your rabbit’s digging box. A good rule of thumb is that it should be at least twice as wide and deep than their own body, so a 50cm x 25cm will suffice if you have an average-sized bunny.
Now, for containing the mess choose a box with high sides. The box sides need to be high enough so that your bunny can hop in and out.
If using cardboard, you can cut a ‘door’ in the box, or cover it with material to try and keep the contents of the dig box, in the dig box, and not all over your floor. I found that using a covered cat litter box worked well. Providing you don’t have a cat, of course!
If your digging pit is outside, then you don’t need to worry as much about the mess.
Step 2: Choosing a rabbit-safe material for your box
- A cardboard box without a coating or printed inks on the outside as your bunny is likely to chew it, is good choice. They’re free and easily replaceable once they’ve been chewed up a bit. Make sure you remove any sticky tape or staples before using it.
- Plastic washing up bowls are another good choice. Make sure they are hard wearing plastic and not brittle as broken plastic can be sharp and cause injuries. You need to make sure your bunny can hop in and out of it too or stick a small piece of wood to the side so they can climb up.
- Wicker baskets. There are always loads of these in our charity shop and providing you choose one that doesn’t have varnish slathered all over it, it will make a good digging box. Expect it to get chewed, a lot, but that’s good for keeping bunny teeth under control.
Step 3: Choosing suitable fillers for your rabbit digging box
There are many items you can use to fill the box, some are messier than others.
Our favourites are
- shredded paper from our office waste which chops it up into little bits
- brown amazon packing paper
- straw and hay which they can happily eat
To add variety and interest you need to pop other items in the box like:
- Toilet roll tubes stuffed with hay
- Pinecones with treats poked in them
- Willow sticks and wooden blocks to chew
- Apple or pear tree twigs
It’s best not to use anything like bubble wrap, those fluffy packing beans or other manmade packing fillers as these could be toxic and fatal to your rabbit if they eat them.
Newspaper and magazines might seem like an obvious choice but the chemicals in the inks used to print on them should not be eaten, so please don’t use them.
Oh and don’t use your bunny litter in the digging box or they’ll start pooping in it!
Rabbits are intelligent and get bored easily so regularly swap out the contents of the box and hide different treats to keep your rabbit interested in foraging. You’ll want to empty it regularly anyway, as there will be little bunny gifts in amongst the contents for you to find.
How To Construct An Outdoor Rabbit Dig Box
Our bunny was making a mess in the garden again. She would dig up all the vegetable plants, scatter dirt across everything and make huge holes. She was a rabbit that was addicted to digging!
But I didn’t like it when my beautiful garden became a disaster area, so I had an idea…I created an area for her with a specially constructed digging pit where she was allowed to go and get as dirty as she liked diggin away without ruining anything else!
Now my rabbit gets really excited every time she gets to go outside because she knows where she can have fun and I won’t be upset anymore. You can build your rabbit an outside digging box too, here’s how.
Step 1: Find the perfect spot for your digging pit
First, you’ll want to find a spot in your garden where the ground is soft enough for digging. As long as there’s plenty of dirt and no rocks too close by that could cause injury or entrapment- it should be perfect. Look for a shady area with plenty of room for making the pit.
Step 2 : Dig a hole!
Dig a hole that’s about 12 to 14 inches deep, making sure it is straight down and wide enough for your rabbit so they can stretch out in it. It should also be at least twice the length of your rabbit with plenty room either side for movement and allow your rabbit to turn round.
Step 3: Shore up the sides
Use wooden boards along the size of your hole to keep it from collapsing in on itself and prevent your rabbit from digging a huge burrow under all your garden.
Step 4: Add a ramp
Add a ramp on one side of hole for easy access. Use a wooden board and place it so that your rabbit can walk into their digging hole easily from any angle without having an incline greater than 20 degrees with no greater than a one-inch drop. They’ll probably jump in, but it’ll be easier to get out if you have a ramp.
Step 5: Fill the hole with rabbit safe materials
Sift the soil you dug out to remove sharp stones and objects.Then fill the hole with the sifted soil to at least a 8 inches deep. Add in some wooden chew blocks, apple twigs and a lava block and cover them with straw and hay.
Step 6: Make a platform
Add another plank across the surface of your digging box. Rabbits will often use this as balance points while they are eating or standing on top.
Step 7: Digging time!
Let your bunny explore their new dig box for an hour or two. They’ll probably spend the first few minutes just sniffing around and exploring everything while you watch patiently from afar! The point of this is that rabbits tend not want to dig in an area if they’re being watched, so you want to give them privacy.How to Make The Perfect Rabbit Digging Box for Indoor and Outdoor Enrichment Click To Tweet
Rabbit Digging Box FAQs
Why does my bunny constantly dig in his cage?
Usually rabbits dig to create a nest ready to hide their kittens ( babies) or to hide from predators. If your rabbit is digging in their cage then consider creating a specific digging box for them to allow your rabbit express their natural behaviour.
What should I put in my rabbit digging box?
Sifted soil, shredded paper, straw and hay plus chewing material like sticks and lava blocks.
What is a rabbit dig box?
A dig box is a cardboard box filled with shredded paper, straw and chewing material designed to allow a rabbit to express their natural digging behaviours in a safe environment.
Why is my bunny digging in her litter box?
Rabbits dig to create a place to hide, or to nest. Any box with a substrate will encourage your rabbit to express their natural behaviours.
Why is my rabbit digging the floor?
Digging the floor is usually a sign of frustration in rabbits. Provide your rabbit with a digging box so that they can express this instinctual behaviour and relieve their boredom.