Christmas trees for rabbits to chew on

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as the saying goes. And boy, the rabbits at Best Friends sure know how to make good use out of something many people toss away without a second thought.

At a time when most folks are beginning to think more about planting gardens than holiday decorations, the rabbits continue to get incredible use out of donated Christmas trees. The rabbits don’t waste one scrap of this kingly treasure.

Rabbits chewing on Christmas trees

Rabbits chewing on branches of a Christmas tree
Rabbits love Christmas trees.

You see, rabbits love to eat the needles, whittle off the bark, and explore under and inside the branches of donated trees. Chewing is also great for their teeth, as a rabbit’s teeth grow continually.

In early January, local businesses and families with homes near the Best Friends Sanctuary start donating their discarded trees. This keeps the rabbits deliriously happy since they have trees to work on until early spring.

With that in mind, here’s a quick tip: If you do buy a real tree for the holidays, so long as the tree has not been chemically treated or flocked, please find somebody with rabbits and make their day by donating this 24/7 snack bar and recreation room all rolled into one to them after the holidays are over.

Bringing the great outdoors to the bunnies

Rabbit sitting under a Christmas tree
Scooter has the forest come to him.

There’s another benefit, too. While most of the rabbits at Best Friends have outdoor access all year, a select few rabbits need to stay inside due to medical reasons. These indoor rabbits seem to get especially excited when a fresh load of branches shows up. "If they can’t go to the forest, we’ll bring the forest to them," says caregiver Michele Page. The trees and branches inside the play areas offer enrichment.

So, what happens when the holiday trees are gone? Even the rabbits can only make them last so long. Well, as it turns out, this is something of a year-round fetish. Right about the time the Christmas trees are done and gone, the next crop of trimmed branches is due to head their way. Fruit tree trimmings are a particular favorite. Need to trim your apple tree in the spring? Find a rabbit to share the clippings with and you’ll make a friend forever.

Then, of course, if you prune throughout the summer and into the fall, well, by that time, Old St. Nick is right around the corner again. Another treasure haul ripe for the taking.

Donating to the animals

In addition to Christmas trees and fruit tree trimmings for the rabbits (which need to be dropped off at the Sanctuary), find out what else is on the bunnies’ wish list and how you can donate.

Another fantastic natural chew toy for rabbits is pinecones. As it turns out, the rabbits at Best Friends have never received a box of pinecones as a donation before, but they're keeping their toes crossed that one might come some day. (Already dried out works best.) If you want to make the rabbits' day, feel free to mail along a box of pinecones or any other goodies to:

Best Friends Animal Society

Attention: Rabbits

5001 Angel Canyon Road

Kanab, Utah 84741-5000