Small Pets

How to Set Up a DIY Rabbit Dig Box

What is a rabbit digging box? Do rabbits need a dig box? What happens if you don’t have one for your rabbit?

Rabbits are known for two things: breeding and burrowing. Digging is a natural instinct in all rabbits, whether in the wild or your home. The only difference is that domestic rabbits don’t get the same opportunities to exercise that habit.

But not being able to dig and chew does not mean the instinct will ever go away. Keep reading to learn more about dig boxes and how to make a DIY dig box for your rabbit!

What Is a Dig Box?

A rabbit digging box or dig box is a great enrichment tool to help your rabbit exercise his natural habit to dig and chew things up. It is a simple box full of shredded paper or other types of substrate, but don’t let looks deceive you. This one simple tool can save you tons of stress and money, and it’s a no-fail way to make your rabbit happy.

Why Your Rabbit Needs a Dig Box

Rabbits are natural burrowers, meaning they love to chew and dig things. In the wild, this would be for housing and safety purposes. They live, breed, and nest in these burrows. And, if you have a colony near you, you may have even seen this network of holes and tunnels.

Even in domestic rabbits, this urge to dig and chew runs strong. This instinct dulls when your rabbit’s fixed, but it never really goes away.

When a rabbit doesn’t have a designated space to exercise this instinct, he will most likely try to exercise it somewhere, like his litter box, bedding, or even your floors. This can become extremely stressful (and expensive if it’s so bad you’re replacing things).

Bunny dig box

Before I discovered dig boxes for rabbits, my rabbit would dig in his enclosure, and I always came home to a mess. And I also couldn’t trust him around expensive or nice things, so I held off on replacing my flooring for years. But, once I gave him his own place to dig, I only had to correct him twice before he got the hint, and we haven’t had an incident since.

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But aside from the stress and mess, giving your rabbit a way to exercise a core instinct in a non-destructive way is extremely important. If your rabbit doesn’t respond by chewing and digging the house, suppressing this instinct may result in your rabbit becoming stressed or depressed.

Benefits of Giving Your Rabbit a Digging Box

Here are the main benefits of giving your rabbit a digging box.

Prevents Household Destruction

Again, having a digging box gives your rabbits a way to dig and chew without destroying your house and making a huge mess.

A Safe Place to Dig & Chew

Not only can the burrowing instinct be harmful to your household items, but it can actually be very dangerous for your rabbit, depending on what he gets into. And rabbits don’t often like digging in the wide open, so the box can also provide a sense of security.

More Exercise & Enrichment

Giving your rabbit another enrichment option will help him stay fit and active. So, if your rabbit needs a little more “get up and go,” a digging box is a great motivator.

An Overall Happier, Healthier Rabbit

Giving your rabbit this fun way to exercise a strong urge without wreaking havoc is good for keeping him active and physically healthy. But it’s also beneficial to his mental health because it prevents your rabbit from becoming stressed or depressed.

How Big Should a Rabbit’s Digging Box Be?

A rabbit’s digging box can be as big as you’d like it to be and what you’ve got space for, but the recommended minimum size is the size of a cat’s litter box.

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Of course, this is completely dependent on your rabbit’s size. The rule of thumb here is for your rabbit to have enough space to move around and actually be able to dig without making a huge mess.

What is the Best Kind of Box for a DIY Rabbit Dig Box?

A large cardboard box or cat’s litter box is the best type of box to start with. If your rabbit is cramped or needs more room, size up to a cat carrier.

You can also get creative and use a large woven basket. Another option is a spacious plastic tote, but you’ll need to cut a hole so your rabbit can get inside and sand down the edges. Keep the top open to allow the air to circulate.

My rabbit Chillé loves the cat carrier because it’s already like a burrow, so I made a low bar to slightly close it in and filled it with crumpled paper and some hay to entice him. He absolutely loves it since there’s more room and privacy than the cat litter box option.

What Do You Put in a Rabbit’s Digging Box?

You’d think that sand and dirt would be what a rabbit really wants to dig, and you may be right, but dirt and sand can be extremely messy. Even if it never comes out of the digging box, your rabbit will track it all over your house. I learned that the hard way.

Here are some other rabbit digging box materials to use instead:

  • Shredded or crumpled paper or newspaper
  • Chunks of cardboard
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Rabbit bedding
  • Aspen shavings
  • Hay

How to Set Up a DIY Rabbit Dig Box

The first thing you need to do is make the rabbit digging box, which you simply do by placing the materials in the box. If you’re using a cardboard box, make sure to cut one side to make sure it can hold all of the materials, but your rabbit can easily hop in and out of it.

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Set your rabbit’s digging box wherever you’ve seen him digging or chewing the ground before. If you haven’t seen that, put it close to his station or enclosure. Also, sprinkle a few treats inside to entice him to use it.

What to Do if Your Rabbit Isn’t Using the DIY Dig Box

If your rabbit isn’t using his dig box, he may not like where you’ve put it. Rabbits can be very finicky over this kind of thing, which you’ve probably already learned during litter box training. Often, it’s natural for us to want to keep our rabbit’s stuff all together, but this can cause overstimulation. 

So, if this is the case, try moving it away from your rabbit’s station or the rest of his toys. Or, if your rabbit doesn’t like the digging material, switch it up until you find something he likes.

And finally, if your rabbit isn’t using the dig box at first, he may not know how to use it. So, entice him with some treats to get him in there. Once he gets going, he’ll love it. I promise!

Conclusion

A rabbit’s dig box is one of the most important tools you can have for enrichment. DIY rabbit dig boxes are simple and inexpensive to make, and this method of releasing a normal instinct is beneficial to your rabbit’s physical and mental health. Plus, it saves you a heck of a lot of work and stress. Who doesn’t love that?!

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