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Forum BEHAVIOR Bunny Burrowing

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    • FuzzBun
      21 posts Send Private Message

      So my little female mini rex Jax is spoiled. My husband built I pretty awesome outside enclosure that her hutch sits in. I did have fencing under it for awhile but took it out and Jax when immediately to making herself a burrow. Luckily she dug at the back of the enclosure inside the bottom of her hutch. And directly behind that is a big railway tie raised bed. So she’d have to dig down and then way up to reach the other side. 

      Question is…do bunnies generally tunnel or do they typically burrow down..and then widen it out and stop? She has tunnel a fair distance down and under the railway tie…its quite impressive…far enough that she goes down there and we can’t see her anymore…but feeling down there its like once she’s out of sight she’s started to widen it out at the bottom. I’d hate to have to fill it back in cause even here in Alberta its get hot during the summer and she has created a at least 10 degree cooler space to retreat to. But if rabbits tend to tunnel fair distances chances are she will eventually tunnel all the way outta her enclosure and bye bye bunny.

      Also because its so cool…instead of closing it back up…anyone has suggestions I could preserve it? I was thinking I could make really thick concrete mix and hand pack the sides of her burrow allowing to dry ..this would stop her from being able to tunnel more but still leave a cool little cave …plus it would still be colder down there…but then I’m not sure how that would work for air flow…suffocation could become a problem?? I’m just not sure…I am all for letting her embrace her instincts and be au natural…as long as safety isn’t affected. Don’t want to fully hinder her desire to dig and burrow PLus it makes it so I dont have to tackle her and trim her nails…she gets them trimmed down natually while digging

    • Q8bunny
      6345 posts Send Private Message

      Hmm… this is a tricky question for me. Most of the buns on this forum, I think, are indoor/house buns. And for those buns who do have an outside space, I believe it’s recommended that there be hutch wire on the ground as well simply because buns are natural diggers and just when you think you’ve got their tunnel figured out or obstacled – POOF! Bye bye bunny.

      Personally, I wouldn’t bother with the concrete. Chances are your darling will dig herself another cave – bunnies LOVE the actual digging part maybe even more than the cool dark burrow (although that’s obviously very nice in bunny land).

      Maybe other forum members have some experience with this and can provide more detailed input??

    • Jillian191j
      21 posts Send Private Message

      I personally don’t have any experience with outdoor bunnies, but my boyfriend had 3 outdoor rabbits as a kid and he said his rabbits dug burrows and they got pretty deep, deep enough that if they were in there you couldn’t find them, but they never broke ground on the other side of the fence. However, I think his rabbits might be an exception because he also let them run loose in his yard, and they never ran away. They would even come when you whistled for them. I think these rabbits might have secretly been dogs ….

    • flemishwhite
      195 posts Send Private Message

      I thought our newly obtained rescue rabbit, Bunny, would enjoy being outside during the day in a pen.  I had to build it really tall since she kept trying to escape.  Then she built a burrow.  IMPRESSIVE….the amount of dirt that came out of the ground.  To prevent dirt from piling up outside of the hole, she would how her front paws out straight and push with her hind legs to bulldoze the dirt away from the hole.  When she built her burrow, she then would stay in the burrow all of the time…it was then I realized she was afraid of being outside. She only came out the eat.  So…when she did come out to eat, I threw a pillow over the hole to keep her from escaping, grabbed her and took her in the house were she lived for the rest of her life.

    • FuzzBun
      21 posts Send Private Message

      I managed to get my cell phone on flashlight mode and film the tunnel as far as I could…I was up to my elbow..Jax had zig zagged left then to the right and then it looked like it went a further foot and half! I’m impressed!!!

      We live in Northern Alberta the soil here is thick hard clay! She digs digs digs and then turns around and pushes the dirt like bull dozer out. Its quite fascinating to watch. But I started to get a little nervous of how long the tunnel was…so I moved her cage incloser/and hutch (we have a massive yard easily almost a acre so there’s lots of places I can move her. 

      I don’t want to stop her desire to dig with wire mesh on the ground. She is never left outside alone long so if she starts another hole we would catch it before she got completely free Although with a hole as long as her first…there’s really no way to know which direction she’s going after awhile cause we can’t reach far enough down to tell. 

      She seems crushed she was moved but hopefully she will just restart It is great exercise and she seems to really love digging

    • Hazel
      2581 posts Send Private Message

      Since the wire has been removed from the bottom of the enclosure, I would be worried about another animal digging their way in. Also, the burrow could become unstable due to rain or other factors, and cave in on her. Generally, I would advise to keep her indoors (is she outside full time?) but if that’s not an option for you, I think you should put the wire mesh back under the soil to secure the bottom. She might be disappointed, but it will keep her safer.

    • BinkyBoo
      28 posts Send Private Message

      I agree with Hazel, but wire mesh is very bad for bunny’s paws and it makes them uncomfortable. I would either keep her indoors most of the time, or let her burrow until it gets out of hand.

    • Brambino
      148 posts Send Private Message

      I use a wire mesh skirt for Bramble’s outdoor enclosure. It extends about 1ft around the perimeter of the cage. Doesn’t stop bunny burrowing but stops foxs from scratching there way in.

    • Autumn's Dad
      208 posts Send Private Message

      Before Autumn (also a female Miniature Rex), I had no experience of true house rabbits as I was raised with rabbits outside in an enclosure with free run in the daytime. I can tell you they are very crafty in their digging habits! they choose the path of least resistance (soft stone free soil) and this is largely what dictates their direction (shallow bedrock/ gravel= shallow narrow burrows and loose soil= deep wide burrows that can reach down about a meter in my experience). Agreed, she is retreating from the heat and creating a safer environment for herself. You could try concrete or fitting a wide bore pipe capped at the end. to stop her digging another cave you could put a large sheet of plywood down after digging the turf/ topsoil and replace it on top of the board, this will not have the problems mesh has and will still keep her contained (plus safeguard her from predators digging their way in). Just keep the concrete or pipe sting up above the soil to ensure water doesn’t flood it.


    • jerseygirl
      22254 posts Send Private Message

      Perhaps you could submerge a gabion cage under her hutch then let her re dig her tunnel.

      When I had a single rabbit, I filmed her digging one time. She also dug to about an arms length. It started downwards and then went more horizontal. 

      A friend of mine has a video of her female burrowing then filling it back in.

      Another friend has some wild rabbits as pets and she let them burrow down the side of her house. They had an enclosure for night time in this same area. They usually popped up in the evenings for dinner time. She made the side of house as secure as possible and protected them from mosquitoes, but she always felt there burrows were an added protection if a predator ever did enter the area. Of course, it they can burrow out of the area, they are at risk… These guys could only burrow so far, fortunately. 

      One thing that did happen though is a rabbit from another pair jumped into their side. We think there was probably a fight and he disappeared for a day and night. It was really stressful wondering what happened to him. It turned out he had bolted into one of the burrows and hid there. So this was an issue as they was no way to check if he was injured until he reappeared.

      So if you do let her burrow, ensure she cannot go too deep because she may go there when unwell.  There are pros and cons to them having a burrow. 

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Forum BEHAVIOR Bunny Burrowing