Why do rabbits chew on wires? Chewing is a natural behavior for our domestic bunnies, but chewing on wires can be a dangerous habit. Not only is it frustrating for owners to replace and fix chewed wires, but it can be life-threatening to our rabbits if those wires are plugged into a power source. If your rabbit has started chewing on wires in your home, it’s a good idea to remove your bunny’s access to the wires and redirect their chewing behavior towards something safer.
Why Do Rabbits Chew On Wires?
Chewing is a natural behavior for both wild and domestic rabbits. In fact, it’s vital for their dental health. Rabbit teeth grow continuously through their lives, and chewing grinds them down to a healthy length. This reduces the chance of lesions, ulcers, and other issues that overgrown teeth can cause. In fact, it’s part of the reason why fibrous foods like fresh grass, hay, and leafy greens make up such a large part of our rabbits’ diets.
Wild rabbits, and rabbits kept in hutches, are unlikely to ever come across wires to chew on. But, increasingly, domestic rabbits are kept as housepets with free rein to explore the house. In many homes, wires are exposed and easy to access, even by the smallest bunny breeds. And, since rabbits are curious little animals with a natural instinct to chew and explore the world with their mouths, it’s likely they’ll chew on any wires they find. In fact, many owners complain that their rabbits chew on everything in the house, from furniture to clothes, to things like their owner’s hair!
Is It Dangerous for My Rabbit to Chew on Wires?
Chewing is a natural behavior for rabbits. But, it’s important that they’re chewing on appropriate things. Wires are not safe for rabbits to chew for multiple reasons. Primarily, if the wires are connected to a live electricity source, your rabbit could receive a shock that would badly hurt them. In some cases, this can be deadly.
On top of this, wires are made of metal, and encased in an insulating material, such as plastic or rubber-like polymers. None of these materials are safe or healthy for our rabbits to consume. And, not only could they cause internal issues if your rabbit swallows any small pieces, but they can also present a choking hazard. Overall, it is not safe for your rabbit to chew on wires in any circumstance.
So what should you do if your rabbit has started chewing on wires, or is trying to chew on them?
How Do I Stop My Rabbit Chewing On Wires?
It’s important to make some changes if you’ve noticed your rabbit chewing on wires in your home. This can be a sign that your rabbit is feeling the need to chew on something, but doesn’t have a proper outlet for the behavior. So, it’s a great idea to redirect their chewing onto a safer material, rather than trying to stop it altogether. But, you also need to restrict your bunny’s access to the wires, to stop them from coming back and potentially hurting themselves.
Some rabbits will like the texture of wires and wire casings. So, they may keep returning to chew wires, even if you’re giving them something more appropriate to chew on. Because of this, it’s important to remove your rabbit’s access to any wires in your home. There are a few different ways to do this, including:
- Move the wires higher, out of your rabbit’s reach
- Purchase coverings for the wires
- Use baby gates and pet pens to fence off any areas with wires
Of course, you won’t be able to remove the wires from your home. But, by removing them from your rabbit’s reach, you will be able to keep your little pet much safer.
Redirect the Behavior
When you’ve removed the threat of chewed wires by restricting your bunny’s access, it’s important to help them redirect their behavior. Chewing is a healthy and necessary behavior for our pet rabbits. It helps them to keep their teeth ground down, but also helps to stave off boredom. Rabbits will enjoy chewing on fresh hay and fresh grass. Both are important parts of their high-fiber diet. But, on top of this, you can also offer up fresh leafy greens, and rabbit-safe wooden toys.
Why Do Rabbits Chew on Wires? A Summary
Chewing is a natural behavior for rabbits, but it’s important that we ensure our rabbits are only chewing on safe materials. Wires are not safe for rabbits to chew on. If your bunny is nibbling on wires, you should remove their access to the wires and redirect the behavior onto something safer.
Does your rabbit chew on wires in your home? What did you find helpful when stopping this behavior? We would love to hear about your experiences and tips in the comments below!
References and Resources
- Prebble, J. (et al), ‘The Effect of Four Different Feeding Regimes on Rabbit Behavior’, Applied Animal Behavior Science (2015)
- Crowell-Davis, S. ‘Behavior Problems in Pet Rabbits’, Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine (2007)
- Meredith, A. ‘Rabbit Dentistry’, Exotics and Children’s Pets (2007)
- Wyss, F. (et al), ‘Measuring Rabbit (Oryctolagus Cuniculus) Tooth Growth and Eruption by Fluorescence Markers and Bur Marks’, Journal of Veterinary Dentistry (2016)
- Meredith, A. ‘Rabbit Nutrition – An Overview’, Vet Times (2011)