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This is a little bit of a trick topic. If Shadow could chew it, burrow under or in it, dig it or play with it in any way, it would become a favorite toy. He was so easy to please. … Continue reading
Watching rabbits run is incredible. Tigger ran like the wind. She was just so fast and so light. No one could catch her until she would tire out. When she ran up the stairs, it looked like she was sailing over some steps, not touching them all as she flew up or down them. Looking at a rabbit sitting still, it is hard to imagine them so fast. The build of front legs to back legs looks so out of sync and balance. It would seem that a funny hopping motion would be all you might expect.
But when I watched Tigger sitting as she is in this first picture, I noticed how very long and straight her front legs were. They were so light and slim in comparison to the rest of her body. It made me think of race horses with the very slender legs that look like they shouldn’t be able to support all the body weight and yet the horses are pure poetry in motion. I realized watching Tigger that she would often have the same way of holding her head and front legs as I had seen in horses right before they would leap into a full run. She also had the same way of straightening her head out level with her body that you see in horses when they race.
Tigger’s Bunny 500 racing was so regulated, we would say that the Tigger Train was running. We tried to make sure that there were always easy open running areas around the full perimeter of rooms, because she would run around and around just like a horse running a racetrack.
We also kept those running areas clear of things. Tigger like a horse was also easily freaked. A weird sound or movement and she would be off like a shot. We often said her motto was, “Run first, look later”. Sometimes her freakazoid runs would start Shadow running and we would have an out of control bunny stampede with them banging into things and each other at high-speed. Their cage at one point was six feet long with a door at each end. They stampeded into opposite ends of the cage meeting head on in the middle. They stunned each other a bit, but fortunately were not hurt. As time went on though, when something would send Tigger into stampede mode, Shadow learned to be in sync with her. You would see the two of them running full speed side by side as close together as two race horses running in tandem shoulder to shoulder to make that finish line first.
There was one time that her mini horse racer speed saved her. We would always look at any sofa or chair before sitting down and look for where the rabbits were too as a safety measure. One evening, Tigger wasn’t as far away as I had judged. I started to sit down and Tigger decided to jump up and race across the sofa as I was coming down. I had no ability to catch myself and literally felt her brush underneath across my lower back as she raced through. I am not sure who was more scared with that one.
We had a couple open-ended boxes with a sheet draped over them as a tunnel for the bunnies. Something set Tigger off once while she was in the tunnel and she took off top speed. Somehow, she got wrapped up in the sheet, pulling the boxes down so that she couldn’t run through them. She kept running pulling everything with her as she then barreled sideways into a hay bowl overturning that, before she ran free of everything and then sat there blinking all the hay dust out of her eyes. We were sitting there within four feet and this took about 30 seconds. We couldn’t even stand up to help her before it was all over. Well, except for the call to the vet to find out what we should look for if the hay in the eyes had caused a problem. Fortunately, she was fine again within 24 hours.
Like a race horse that would become agitated, at the vet we often helped to calm Tigger a bit during exams by covering her eyes. There was one time the vet told us that the rabbit digestive system was closest to that of a horse. Watching Tigger, I thought there were many similarities and that we often had a high-spirited mini race horse in our home.
The one regret I have is that we didn’t have an opportunity to catch lots of Tigger and Shadow on video. With my first family bunny Thumper, I was just learning how to take photos with point and shoot cameras. So there aren’t many photos of him. With Tigger and Shadow, we were making the switch from film to digital cameras. So we got a lot of images (lots of bad ones during the learning), but never had the chance to really start learning how to capture them on video. Something to learn with bunnies of the future …
On Friday, Ballerina in Jammies …
So what on earth do I mean by calling Tigger a baseball bunny? Well, she liked to pitch and she liked to bat. In the picture above, you can see she had lots of different chew toys to choose from and she did like all of them. But her absolute favorite things to play with were the ones she could throw. Tigger liked to pitch things. It really was not so safe to be too close to Tigger if she decided to play, because she could really throw.
I took the first picture here as she approached her toys and was taken completely by surprise when she picked up her Bounce Back Bunny treat holder, whirled around and heaved it at me like a bunny shot put champion. Fortunately, I wasn’t hit. I was amazed she could pick it up and throw it. The toy had a weighted base to help it bounce back up as a rabbit would try to pull a treat out of the slots in the body. The size of it was easily equal to the size of her head. This was the first time she tossed it and I was lucky enough to catch it on camera. Through out her life, she loved to pick up and throw that bunny and any other cat style throw toys we gave her. We would hear bells ring and knew she was pitching, but when the bell sound was followed by a thump, we knew she was shot putting the Bounce Back Bunny.
Tigger loved to pick up empty paper towel holders and swat things with them. I discovered how actively she would put that to use in one vet visit. I took her in and put a paper towel holder in the carrier with her to keep her occupied while we were waiting. She wasn’t happy about being in the carrier and at the vets, so she picked up the paper towel holder and starting smacking it around and hitting all the sides of her carrier. We were in an exam room at the end of the hall with the door closed, but she was making such a racket that the vet techs kept coming in every few minutes to make sure everything was okay. Uh, yeah, just my little rabbit batter doing her practice training and taking a physical means of stress relief.
Her love of throwing things extended also to sometimes tossing the plastic salad plates of greens that we would put down on the floor and flipping over large round bowls of hay. She had a middle of the night habit sometimes of picking up the corner of her litter box with her teeth and dropping it, repeatedly. Even up a flight of stairs, behind a closed bedroom door, we would hear thump, whump, thump … pause … repeat … Sometimes I would get up to go see what she wanted. Tigger would be sitting at ease in her cage looking at me with that questioning look on her face, “Hey, what are you doing up?”
On Wednesday, Tigger the mini race horse …
Had a delay here today while storms rolled through causing the power to flicker. That is always the signal to power down and take a break. Sunshine is back and here I am to share some bunny fun!
Previously, I posted about ways to protect your space and your bunny with bunnyproofing. Now its time for fun! A bored bunny is a destructive bunny. Helping a bunny have fun will aid your bunnyproofing. Find things they enjoy doing and they will leave other things alone.
What each bunny likes is different. There are jumpers, chewers, diggers, throwers, and a few do like to play chase. Do some trial and error to find out what your bunny likes best.
You can find toys at pet stores, baby stores, or online sites. Don’t limit yourself to just rabbit toys. Look for untreated wood chews or wood toys. There are cardboard chews, cardboard tunnels and rabbit “bungalows or cottages” available.
Hard plastic toys are great: Here are some ideas and the sections we found them in: keys on a ring (infant/baby), linked chains (bird), balls with bells inside (cat / ferret), bounce back treat dispensers (small animal), rattles (infant/baby), and Slinkies (kid) are all possibilities.
If you have a problem area where your rabbit likes to misbehave, try “mining” the area with belled toys. When you hear the bells, you know it is time to check and see if your bunny has taken advantage of the toys or needs to be escorted out of the forbidden zone.
DIGGING & TUNNELING
If you have a safe space for it, you can try a sandbox for a digger bunny. If not, try filling a box with shredded paper and watch your bunny go burrowing through.
We remembered the fun of childhood sheet forts and created a sheet tunnel. We took two cardboard boxes with cutouts at each end and on one side, placed them five feet apart, and stretched a sheet over. The bunnies love to run through, burrow in and out under the sheet, and sometimes just nap. We play peek-a-bunny by lifting the sheet up and down at the side peering in on them.
Some bunnies like to play chase. Our Shadow will start to run and look back to see if we’re following. He will run back and start again until someone chases him. His happy binkies tell us we have the right idea. Be careful to know your bunny well with this one, since most bunnies fear being chased.
Our rabbits love to hop up with us while we read magazines and try to chew them. We take the pull out ad cards and hold them sticking out a bit at the edge of the magazine. They grab the edge of the card, yank it away from us, and run off with it. Shadow and Tigger like the game so much that if we want to continue reading, we usually have to gather the cards back up and keep letting them “steal” them away.
We take cardboard tubes from paper towels and load them into a small lightweight plastic wastebasket which we set upright in the play area. Tigger and Shadow love to overturn the basket and unload the tubes. We also put a boatload of cardboard tubes under one bookshelf Tigger liked to commando crawl under. It would take her awhile to pull enough tubes out to try to get under. That would give us an opportunity to stop the secret carpet chewing that would occur if we didn’t catch her in time.
The more time you spend with your rabbit learning about their play style, the more you will learn about just how playful and fun a rabbit can be. Just be careful to stay back a bit until you learn whether your bunny is a thrower like our Tigger.
Tigger likes to pitch and bat. She will pitch her weighted bounce back bunny as in the picture, or small wire or plastic belled toys. She will take cardboard tubes from paper towel rolls and use them like a bat to hit things. I had one vet visit where I brought one along to keep her distracted while we were waiting, not realizing how she would use it. She was smacking everything she could with it so loudly that even with a closed-door, the vet techs kept coming in every few minutes to make sure everything was okay. Silly me thinking I could get her to be playful and forget where she was.
Let the games begin!