Who's right?

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TwirlyGirly

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Several days ago I was browsing on Amazon for cat houses (we have two cats).

I found a line of wooden cat houses that are adorable and reasonably priced. One looks like a mid-century modern TV!

As I was reading the product pages for these cat houses, I noticed two of the three models mentioned in several places on the page they could also be used for rabbits.

I was horrified, because I know certain woods are toxic to bunnies if they chew on them; if not the wood, any finish on the wood or glue used to assemble the piece would be toxic, too.

I immediately messaged the merchant (third party seller) and explained my concerns. The seller replied to my message the next day, thanking me and saying they would remove all references to rabbits in the listing for both models.

When I told my (soon to be - on May 22) 26-year-old daughter (because I was happy I was able to get the seller to change the listings which could potentially save the life of one or more bunnies), she said (paraphrasing) bunnies instinctively avoid chewing on wood that's toxic or has toxic materials used in an item's construction.

It's my understanding it's not true universally that bunnies will always avoid chewing on wood or anything with elements toxic to them.

So...who's right in this case?

Can anyone give me a link to a source recognized as an authority on rabbit behavior vis-à-vis what they can be counted on to avoid chewing because it's toxic to them?

(BTW, I have spent quite a bit of time with Google trying to find the answer on my own. But while I found plenty of info about what's toxic to bunnies and warnings not to give rabbits these things, I wasn't able to find anything either confirming bunnies *will* avoid chewing on toxic substances, or that they definitively *won't* avoid chewing on them).
 

Hermelin

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Rabbits don’t have the instinct as their wild part. Otherwise why would they eat chocolate or any other thing that could kill them. Some domesticated bunnies have a better instinct than others but many would chew even though it’s toxic for them.

For example I had avocado trees before in my home but when I noticed my bunnies tried to get to it. I got rid of it and I will never bring in an avocado tree into my home. They got a taste of a old brown leaf but I managed to make sure it was not a lot. Avocado trees are toxic to bunnies. Instead I have lemon trees where it’s okay eating the leaves. So bunnies don’t have a good instinct on what is toxic for them.
 

TwirlyGirly

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Rabbits don’t have the instinct as their wild part. Otherwise why would they eat chocolate or any other thing that could kill them. Some domesticated bunnies have a better instinct than others but many would chew even though it’s toxic for them.

For example I had avocado trees before in my home but when I noticed my bunnies tried to get to it. I got rid of it and I will never bring in an avocado tree into my home. They got a taste of a old brown leaf but I managed to make sure it was not a lot. Avocado trees are toxic to bunnies. Instead I have lemon trees where it’s okay eating the leaves. So bunnies don’t have a good instinct on what is toxic for them.

Thank you for your reply, Hermelin. I appreciate it!

You confirmed my thinking on the subject.
 

Hermelin

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Thank you for your reply, Hermelin. I appreciate it!

You confirmed my thinking on the subject.

Rabbits have been domesticated for a while now. So their natural instinct won’t be the same as for a wild bunny who fight for their life. I know that one of my bunnies would die if he ran away because no instinct of what is dangerous compared with another of my bunnies who is more cautious and a lot more cautious over what get put down into his mouth.

They get used with us humans helping them survive which makes them independent on us to survive. It’s rarely for domesticated bunnies to survive in the wild, it can happen but not that common. So it’s better to think that your bunny will digest something that is toxic and work to prevent it than taking the chance your bunny knows what is toxic or not ☺️
 

Preitler

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...

I was horrified, because I know certain woods are toxic to bunnies if they chew on them; if not the wood, any finish on the wood or glue used to assemble the piece would be toxic, too.

I immediately messaged the merchant (third party seller) and explained my concerns. The seller replied to my message the next day, thanking me and saying they would remove all references to rabbits in the listing for both models.

Do you have any proof that there is anything actually toxic there? Rabbits can deal with way more than most mammals, they even like stuff that kills cows. Just that that something is on a "toxic" list on the internet doesn't mean that it's actually toxic for rabbits, or that there are any easily consumable amounts or critical concentrations.
Also, just because cedar shavings are not a suitable litter box filler that doesn't mean that a solid piece of cedar can do any harm.

Google does not give you information, it gives what you are looking for, it's a search engine (pretty bad one). if you search if something is toxic, that's what you'll get.
Everything ends up on those toxic lists that even just should be somewhat restricted in some ways for any animal on earth, reading those just makes you paranoid with no merit whatsoever.

Rabbits are barely domesticated, and only for a very short time. Their Instincts are there, but they need to practice them. I let my rabbits graze outside, they know best what they can stomach and what not. They survive very well in the wild in an environmaent rabbits evolved for, well, they definitly are more prone to fall victim to predators because of learned behaviour or colours, but all the instincts are still there. The predators are a main reason why the US doesn't have a feral rabbit problem.
 
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skipidragon

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Several days ago I was browsing on Amazon for cat houses (we have two cats).

I found a line of wooden cat houses that are adorable and reasonably priced. One looks like a mid-century modern TV!

As I was reading the product pages for these cat houses, I noticed two of the three models mentioned in several places on the page they could also be used for rabbits.

I was horrified, because I know certain woods are toxic to bunnies if they chew on them; if not the wood, any finish on the wood or glue used to assemble the piece would be toxic, too.

I immediately messaged the merchant (third party seller) and explained my concerns. The seller replied to my message the next day, thanking me and saying they would remove all references to rabbits in the listing for both models.

When I told my (soon to be - on May 22) 26-year-old daughter (because I was happy I was able to get the seller to change the listings which could potentially save the life of one or more bunnies), she said (paraphrasing) bunnies instinctively avoid chewing on wood that's toxic or has toxic materials used in an item's construction.

It's my understanding it's not true universally that bunnies will always avoid chewing on wood or anything with elements toxic to them.

So...who's right in this case?

Can anyone give me a link to a source recognized as an authority on rabbit behavior vis-à-vis what they can be counted on to avoid chewing because it's toxic to them?

(BTW, I have spent quite a bit of time with Google trying to find the answer on my own. But while I found plenty of info about what's toxic to bunnies and warnings not to give rabbits these things, I wasn't able to find anything either confirming bunnies *will* avoid chewing on toxic substances, or that they definitively *won't* avoid chewing on them).
Buns use teeth as fingers. They will taste anything they can reach, wood, plastic, carpets, wire, furniture, walls, paint. You're right and thank you.
 
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