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Do Wild Rabbits Really Eat Carrots? Is It Good For Them?
Nearly every cartoon and Easter bunny decoration shows carrots as being a rabbit’s favorite treat, but do wild rabbits actually eat carrots? Yes! Wild rabbits can and will eat carrots, but carrots aren’t their favorite treat, surprisingly.
To learn more about when wild rabbits eat carrots and the nutritional benefits of carrots, keep reading. This article fully explains what wild rabbits eat, including their dietary habits regarding carrots. Let’s jump in!
Do Wild Rabbits Eat Carrots?
Wild rabbits can and do eat carrots. Especially if dark greens are not available to eat, it’s common for rabbits to eat carrots and carrot tops that stick out of the ground. If the rabbit has access to dark greens, the rabbit will likely prefer the leaves to the carrot, though.
Since wild rabbits prefer foliage, carrots are not their go-to choice for a snack. Even though carrots are dense in nutrients, rabbits prefer snacks that they can eat quickly and easily. Because carrots must be pulled out of the ground and gnawed on quite a bit, rabbits prefer only eating carrots when they have no other option.
If you see a wild rabbit eating a carrot, it is likely because it couldn’t find an appetizing leafy green around.
Are Carrots Good For Rabbits?
Even though rabbits don’t prefer carrots, carrots still make a highly nutritious treat for the animal.
Most notably, carrots are a great source of vitamin A, which is required for your bunny’s health. Just about every aspect of the rabbit is impacted by vitamin A, including its hearts, lungs, reproductive system, kidneys, vision, and immune system. More so, carrots are high in vitamin B, vitamin K, dietary fiber, and many minerals.
That being said, too much of anything is bad, and that includes carrots. Because carrots are high in sugar, bunnies can pack on the pounds quickly if carrots are not fed in moderation. Luckily, this isn’t a huge deal for most wild rabbits simply because it’s hard for them to find that many carrots in one place.
Can I Feed a Wild Rabbit Carrots?
If you have a wild rabbit in your yard, you can try to feed it carrots. Most likely, the rabbit will not let you get close enough to hand feed it, but you can try to place the carrot somewhere that the rabbit will see. Place the entire carrot around where you saw the rabbit, carrot tops and all!
Because carrots are not the preferred treat for most wild rabbits, you might want to reach for a different vegetable instead. Handfuls of dark, leafy greens will likely be more preferred since they are easy to eat and low in sugar.
Make sure not to feed your wild rabbit any type of food if you want to discourage them from coming on your property. If you put easy treats down on the ground, expect more bunnies to come and potentially terrorize your garden and yard.
What Do Wild Rabbits Eat?
A wild rabbit’s diet largely depends on the season. In the spring and summer, you can expect wild rabbits to munch on as many green plants as they can find. In contrast, most rabbits have to settle for pine needles and twigs during the winter when greens are less available.
Most importantly, wild rabbits love fresh foliage. So that the rabbits can eat and digest the food quickly, they prefer leaves that are easily damaged and don’t take that much time to consume. During the spring and summer, it’s not difficult for rabbits to find the food they prefer.
When wintertime rolls around, rabbits are forced to eat food that is not quite as tasty but still important for their diet. Of course, wild rabbits will still prefer foliage if they can get a hold of it, but they will eat twigs, sticks, and pine needles if that’s their only option. Even though sticks may not sound very appetizing, this tougher material helps to keep the rabbit’s teeth filed down.
Can I Feed My Pet Rabbit Carrots?
If you have a pet rabbit, it is likely to enjoy carrots much more than wild rabbits. Since pet rabbits don’t have to worry about eating quick enough so that they aren’t attacked by a predator, they are more willing to take their time to eat, especially when the snack is tasty.
Pet rabbits love carrots because they taste great, and they offer really good health benefits. Once again, only feed carrots to your rabbit on occasion to ensure your rabbit doesn’t gain too much weight from the high sugar in the carrot.
Even though rabbits are closely associated with carrots, most wild rabbits don’t prefer carrots. Occasionally, rabbits may choose carrots over foliage, but it is unlikely. The primary time that wild rabbits eat carrots is when lighter leaves are not easily accessed.
If you have a pet rabbit, don’t hesitate to feed carrots as a treat. After all, carrots are great for your rabbit’s health and fed in moderation. Just make sure to provide your rabbit with enough leafy greens and only feed it carrots on occasion.
Featured Image Credit: jackmac34, Pixabay
Oliver (Ollie) Jones – A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master’s degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.