Is a rabbit a herbivore – do they only eat plants?
Well, it’s not much of a mystery, and you’re not going to be surprised, but YES, rabbits are herbivores.
Rabbits should only eat plant-based foods. They love hay, grass, weeds from the garden, and plant-based rabbit pellets – the latter being suitable for automatic rabbit feeders.
That’s all you really need to know, but if you’re like us, interested in everything about rabbits, then you’ll want to keep reading below for all the details.
Is A Rabbit A Herbivore?
A herbivore is an animal that only has the capacity to eat and digest plants and plant-based products.
They have physically adapted to be this way. The enzymes in the stomach, and bacteria in the intestines, only allow for plant-based materials to be broken down and digested.
The mouth and teeth of a rabbit are also designed to be best for eating plant-based products. They have not adapted to eating meat.
Their teeth are such that they’re perfect for munching on carrots, spinach, and the odd bit of apple (all in moderation).
Think about rabbits in the wild and the types of food they naturally have access to – there isn’t a whole lot of non-plant food out there besides insects and soil. Especially as rabbits are diurnal, meaning they’re mostly active at dawn and dusk.
The majority of a rabbit’s diet should consist of hay and grass – approximately 80%.
The remainder of their diet can include ‘rabbit treats‘ like fresh fruit and vegetables, pellets (made for rabbits), fresh weeds, grasses, and herbs.
What Herbivores Should Be Eating
The short video above suggests the following diet breakdown for a herbivore such as a rabbit or a guinea pig.
They should eat:
- 75% hays and grasses
- 20% quality pellets
- 5% treats such as fresh fruit and vegetables
And many people say you shouldn’t give your rabbit unrestricted access to pellets, but that’s not always the case. Our rabbits, for example, always have pellets in their run, and they have never become overweight or had trouble overeating.
We do use the best pellets that there are so they are very healthy, but our bunnies (mini-rexes) always have access to grass, hay, and we give them a selection of weeds and herbs each day as well. Plus, they’ve got a lot of room to play and run about.
Every rabbit will be different so you need to pay attention to yours and adjust its diet and access to food accordingly.
Different rabbit breeds also have different dietary requirements and can be more or less prone to getting overweight, etc.
Do Rabbits Eat Meat?
The answer to the question of ‘is a rabbit a carnivore?’ is a resounding no.
You should not try to slip your bunny a piece of bacon. They do not need it and won’t be able to digest it. And to be honest, I don’t think they would even attempt to eat a piece of meat, but I don’t recommend testing it out either!
From time to time rabbits will eat their babies – so in a sense, they can eat meat, it’s just very unusual.
This is not common, and it only occurs when the kits are very young. There is no need to substitute anything else in lieu of baby meat.
Are bunnies herbivores? Yes!
Next up, what is a group of rabbits called?
4 thoughts on “Is A Rabbit A Herbivore? Do Rabbits Only Eat Plants? Do Rabbits Eat Meat?”
I thought asking ‘is a rabbit a herbivore’ was a stupid question – but there must be others asking it if there are articles like this one it! Haha. I just had to be sure!
Yeah I know what you mean! But I can totally understand if somebody has never thought about it, or has never been around rabbits before. Like you said, best to ask and be sure 🙂
U can feed your rabbIt a lilttle protein every year, most “herbivores” eat some meat ( A very small amount) google cows eating chicken, deer eating ducks/ birds, my rabbit ate some of my dogs food, on occasion and he live over 8 years. It supplements any nutrients they r missing in a very restricted diet.
Thanks Steve – there is a good thread with a bit more info on Quora here.