Many owners of pet rabbits are harming their bunnies by feeding them too many carrots. So says Britain’s RSPCA, who blame cartoon rabbits such as Bugs Bunny, frequently seen munching on a carrot. These stereotypes lead pet rabbit owners to feed too many carrots and not enough of what lagomorphs should be eating, hay and greens.
The pet charity says fresh vegetables should only be a fraction of the diet of a rabbit, if you want your long-ears to stay healthy.
Here are details as published in the Telegraph:
Eleven per cent of pet rabbits suffer from tooth decay and 11 per cent have digestive problems, according to research at the University of Bristol commissioned by the charity.
“Bugs Bunny was wrong,” said Rachel Roxburgh, an animal scientist for the charity. “We want all pet rabbits to be eating hay as their main food. People also think their rabbits should eat carrots because that’s what Bugs Bunny does.
“But he’s a cartoon, real rabbits don’t talk, and they shouldn’t be eating carrots too often either.”
The charity has launched a campaign called Hay Fever to encourage owners to feed rabbits correctly.
Rabbits do not naturally eat root vegetables, cereals or fruit, and iceberg lettuce can be dangerous. Carrots and apples are high in sugar and should be an occasional treat.
The charity recommends giving rabbits good quality hay in daily bundles of about the rabbit’s own size and allowing them to graze on growing grass, but not lawn clippings.
Hoppington Post checked with the House Rabbit Society, who recommend that an adult rabbit be fed about one cup of fresh greens per day for every two pounds of its body weight. This may be given all at once or spread out over the course of the day. Even more importantly, they advise to make an unlimited amount of hay available. But unless this is good quality, fresh hay, rabbits may not be inclined to eat as much hay as they need for good health.
Photo courtesy vijay chennupa.