You probably know that rabbits are herbivores and that some fruits, like bananas, are good treats for rabbits and can have some health benefits as well.
When it comes to bunny diets there are a lot of questions that pet owners ask. One of the most common questions is whether rabbits can eat potatoes and if it’s good for them.
Potatoes have been a worldwide staple. For the human population on earth, potatoes are nutritious and delicious food as long as they’re cooked. However, potatoes do not provide any nutritional benefits to rabbits.
Besides, the high starch content of potatoes is not easily digestible for rabbits. High starch in the digestive system means gas and rabbits can’t pass gas. Thus, this could lead to intestinal blockage or GI stasis that can be detrimental to your rabbit.
In this article, I will be exploring the topic of rabbits and their relationships to the spud. I will be answering all questions that can come up with rabbits and potatoes are put together as well as exploring more of its disadvantages to their health.
If you’re curious to know more, then please, read on!
Can Rabbits Eat Potatoes?
You might be thinking, if rabbits can’t eat potatoes then why do wild rabbits eat them? And that’s a very valid point. Wild rabbits’ survival largely depends on their environment and the food that their surroundings can provide.
Wild rabbits have less sensitive and hardier digestive tracts than domestic rabbits. Though if given a choice between leafy greens and potatoes, wild rabbits will always go for the greens as this is a staple of their natural diet. They only eat potatoes when they have to.
Domestic rabbits however are a lot more spoiled than wild rabbits. Dometic and wild rabbits do share some commonalities, but the sensitivity of their guts is not one of them.
Domestic rabbits have far more sensitive digestive tracts than wild rabbits thus, they should be fed with only the best and when I say best, I mean only things that are included in their natural diet.
80% of a rabbit’s diet is made up of hay. A lot of people have the misconception that since rabbits are herbivores that feeding them leafy greens all the time is best for them. But this isn’t entirely true.
Rabbits eat a lot of hay! 10% of their diet can be made of leafy greens while the other 10% can be broken down to 5% pellets (organic timothy hay-based pellets) and 5% fruits like bananas and some nuts.
Although you shouldn’t also be giving your bunnies bananas every day, this could accelerate their weight gain and they can end up severely overweight).
Below are some of the potatoes that rabbits cannot eat:
- Russet Potatoes
- Red Potatoes
- Yukon Potatoes
- White potatoes
- Purple Potatoes
- Blue Potatoes
- Petite Potatoes.
Can Rabbits Eat Potato Peels?
Another question, well if rabbits can’t eat the potatoes themselves can they eat potato peels? Rabbit diets need to be made of high-fiber foods thus, timothy hay is one of the best food to feed them.
The peels of the potato have higher fiber content than the potato itself and it also has some very helpful nutrients such as vitamin C and potassium. However, this still does not make it okay for rabbits to eat potato peels.
Potato peels also have a high-starch content and this overrides its fiber content. You can say that if ingested by your rabbit, the nutritional benefit is negligible because of all the starch that is in it.
Because of the high starch content of the peels, it still makes it hard for the rabbit to digest. This could lead to gas build-up in your rabbit’s digestive system and could lead to problems such as intestinal blockage, GI stasis, or diarrhea which can be fatal to bunnies.
Can Rabbits Eat Potato Leaves?
Rabbits cannot eat potato leaves or potato roots. These are poisonous to your rabbit and must be avoided at all costs. Potatoes are part of the nightshade family of plants.
These plants include tomatoes and eggplants. Not only are the roots and leaves dangerous, all other parts of the potato plant such as the stem is poisonous to your rabbit.
The toxin that can be found in the leaves, stems, vines, and roots of potato leaves is called Solanine. Solanine is a glycoalkaloid toxic found in the vegetables of the nightshade family. This is naturally occurring and one of the plant’s defensive mechanisms.
If ingested in large amounts, this could be extremely toxic to your rabbits. Thus, if you have a garden of planted potatoes/eggplants/tomatoes you should have a fence surrounding it to keep your rabbits away from it.
Can Rabbits Eat Cooked Potatoes?
No, rabbits can’t eat cooked potatoes or any kind of cooked food for that matter. Do not ever give them human food. Rabbit digestion is very sensitive and their health is very much reliant upon it.
This is the reason why they eat so much hay and they poo so often. Rabbits get their energy from their food, thus their digestive tracts need to be constantly working. Once their digestion encounters a problem then their overall health suffers a great deal. Diarrhea in rabbits can be fatal, and rabbits do not vomit and or pass gas.
Rabbits do not occasionally vomit or have wet stools like pet dogs. Once these symptoms are present in your rabbit, you should immediately take them to the vet.
Rabbits do not have the biological capacity to break down human food. So, never give them any cooked food!
Can Rabbits Eat Sweet Potatoes?
No, rabbits cannot eat sweet potatoes. Although sweet potatoes come from an entirely different plant family than normal potatoes, they still contain higher sugar and starch that can be worse than potatoes themselves.
As a rule of thumb, avoid giving rabbits anything that has high starch content.
Yams can sometimes be confused for sweet potatoes, but either way, this also has a high starch content and should not be fed to your rabbits.
Can Rabbits Eat Potato Chips?
Not. Rabbits cannot eat potatoes chips. Remember how I said that you should avoid giving your rabbit human food? Potato chips are human food.
Besides, almost all potato chips are processed, some contain high amounts of salt and other flavorings that will not be good for your rabbit’s health.
Humans aren’t even advised to be munching on chips all the time, so why would you give it to your rabbit?
Rabbits might like potatoes, on the occasions that they accidentally snatched a piece from the kitchen, it’s because the starch tastes good and it can taste sweet for rabbits. So, while rabbits seem to like potatoes, it does not mean they should be having them.
Potatoes are a huge part of some of our cuisines, and our lives. I should know, I’m a huge fan of mashed potatoes and french fries. But, as much as you want to share the glories of the spud with your pet, you need to put their health first.
Potatoes are a hard no for rabbits, and if they accidentally manage to ingest some keep watch for signs of discomfort or any changes in overall behavior. Feed them more hay and give them lots of water. If they exhibit signs of lethargy or loose stools, immediately take them to the vet.