Surprisingly, a question often posed is whether are rabbits herbivores or not? In fact, some might also wonder whether rabbits can be carnivores or omnivores.
After all, some people believe rabbits to be rodents (they aren’t), and a lot of rodents are omnivores. In this article, we want to take a look at why rabbits are herbivores, and why they should only be following a plant-based diet.
Rabbits are Herbivores… No Exceptions!
This is something that we can’t stress enough. Rabbits are not omnivores. They are not carnivores. They are herbivores.
This means that they rely on a strict plant-based diet. This is because they need a lot of fiber in their diet. One of the key characteristics of a rabbit is that the four front teeth are constantly growing.
The only way in which they are able to wear these teeth down is to be constantly grazing on fiber. The only way to get a lot of fiber is through plants.
Most of a rabbit’s food will actually come through grass and hay, although they may have a few root vegetables thrown in for a bit of extra nutrition. This is exactly what a rabbit would be eating out there in the wild.
Can Rabbits Eat Meat?
Some rabbits may eat meat. It is unlikely they will, but if there is nothing else to eat, they may give it a go.
However, under absolutely no circumstances should you ever feed a rabbit any meat. If they do take it, they will only ever take it once.
The rabbit is simply not built to eat any sort of meat. If they only eat a small amount, then they are going to be dealing with a couple of stomach issues.
They may have loose excrement and get very sick. However, if they eat a lot, then you are potentially killing them.
Rabbits need fiber to survive, and it is not going to be found in any sort of significant amount within the meat. Meat is also high in fat and protein, something that rabbits do not need much of.
The result is that they are going to have very little in the way of nutrition in the meat. If they don’t die from the illness caused by eating the meat, they are almost certainly going to die by the lack of nutrition.
Rabbits can’t actually eat that much protein and fat in the wild either. This is because their whole escape route from predators is being fast and agile. This is not something that they can really do with a belly packed full of fat. Fiber is light.
Your rabbits need a strict herbivore diet. They can’t digest meat products at all. While they may “test the waters” and try out the meat that you give them, it is just going to cause them to become sick.
If you give them meat regularly, then it will end up killing them due to the nutrition values of the meat, even if you do combine it with a plant-based diet. There is just too much fat and protein there for the rabbit.