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Thread: Digging

  1. #1

    Default Digging

    I have a single female house rabbit who after 2 years being with us has suddenly started digging.
    She has never done this before. She has always steadfastly ignored her digging boxes.
    She diggs the contents of every litter tray out all over the place. We have tried giving her a digging tray which she likewize empties then moves onto the the litter trays and empties those too. If she has already emptied them then she sometimes digs at her blankets.
    It's a nightmare, she's making such a mess it's ruining the hoover cleaning up after her.
    Background :
    She was initially brought home and bonded with our widowed male. She is 6 or 7 years old as was he. They were outdoor rabbits. They got on really well until he died last autumn. We brought her inside to keep her company until we find her a new mate.
    Unfortunately we have been unable to find a male of a similar age and don't want to get a younger rabbit and end up on a treadmill of rabbits constantly getting a new rabbit when the older one dies.
    She is very friendly and loves to snuggle up with us in the evenings.
    Help! How can I stop this behaviour?

  2. #2
    Warren Scout
    Join Date
    Jul 2017


    How to stop it? Hmm, don't know.
    From what I have seen, female rabbits just have a very strong urge to dig (perhaps less so in winter). They live in warrens after all. Our Willow turned the entire garden into a labyrinth of underground tunnels and on one occasion she even came up in the neighbour's flower bed. She looked delighted. (Willow, not the neighbour.)
    (I even measured her progress and found she averaged about 20 cm per day.) I guess you could put down some physical barrier. (I would have felt sorry for her so I didn't.)
    Now that the weather is warming up, would it be perhaps possible to give your rabbit an outdoor controlled space for daytime digging?

  3. #3
    Mama Doe
    Join Date
    Oct 2008


    I've never found a way to stop a rabbit digging - it's what they do. Some do seem to be more determined diggers than others, though, so it's more a case of managing it.

    I would put a digging box inside a much larger enclosure so the mess is contained, eg in a dog crate - with a cover over it, or line the inside (cardboard box / sheets, pespex sheets, etc - anything that will contain the mess with high sides). Maybe only accessible by a tunnel to limit any mess being trodden out of the area. It also makes it more like a rabbit warren.

  4. #4
    Alpha Buck Motty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    West Berkshire


    whilst it is not a answer to the digging issue, have you thought about contacting a rescue to find a male as a long term foster, and then hand him back when your girlie goes to the Rainbow Bridge?

    The white bum you can see in my signature is my girlie busy digging

  5. #5
    Moderator Zoobec's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013


    Is she spayed?

  6. #6


    Yes I believe she is spayed.
    Like I said she came to us as an 4/5 Yr old. She had been donated to a preschool by parents moving away. But as staff changed she wasn't getting the care she needed. When our Betty died I suggested trying to bond her to our lonely Brian.
    I was told the original owner has said she was spayed.

  7. #7


    I don't mind her digging in one area its that she is suddenly digging everything out everywhere.
    There is little point in her being litter trained if she then spreads the urine soaked litter everywhere. 🙄

  8. #8


    Maybe I should move her back into her outdoor enclosure. Then she can make as much mess as she likes. 🤷
    She hates being picked up so I don't want to be moving her back and forth all the time.

  9. #9
    Wise Old Thumper joey&boo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015


    Reminds me of my Boo, she's a complete rotter with it. So many of the threads I make December - February are moaning about her doing this. . She typcally calms down in a month or so. Sometimes I embrace that she keeps herself so active & well entertained...& me entertained too.

    Some rabbits just LOVE digging. I think its as simple as that including Boobly Bears dried forage & herb mix

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by cazaline View Post
    Maybe I should move her back into her outdoor enclosure. Then she can make as much mess as she likes. 🤷
    She hates being picked up so I don't want to be moving her back and forth all the time.
    If you are going to do that she will definitely need a Rabbit companion. Rabbits need a companion of their own kind and this is especially true for outdoor Rabbits. Indoor Rabbits are usually less destructive if they have a Rabbit companion too.

    As you are not 100% certain that she has been spayed I would suggest a Vet check. Digging is very normal behaviour, especially regarding Does. It is often worse as Spring approaches. All completely normal, itís what Rabbits do.

    BUT a sudden change in behaviour, including frantic digging, can be indicative of an underlying health problem. In an older unspayed Doe this could include the possibility of uterine adenocarcinoma.

    In the meantime try providing her with a digging box

    And other environmental enrichment
    Last edited by InspectorMorse; 25-02-2021 at 04:54 AM.

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