Oranges are fruits that are enjoyed year-round by all kinds of people. On top of their refreshing taste, they’re also loaded with fiber, vitamin C, thiamine, folate, and potassium. They also help to prevent heart disease and kidney stones! With all of the health benefits that come from oranges, you may be wondering: Can rabbits eat oranges?
Can I Give My Rabbit Oranges?
Yes, rabbits can eat oranges as an occasional snack. An orange is a fruit that’s safe for rabbits to eat every once in a while, but it shouldn’t be fed more than that for several reasons that we’ll discuss further.
What Do Rabbits Eat In The Wild?
To help you better understand whether your rabbit can or cannot eat oranges, it helps to learn about the natural diet of a rabbit. Rabbits as we know them today have been present in nature for a few thousand years. During this time spent roaming around Europe, Africa, Sumatra, Southeast Asia, Japan, and North and South America, they’ve all eaten roughly the same foods. Therefore, their digestive systems have become optimized for digesting those foods over quite a long period of time.
This is why it’s important that you match your rabbit’s diet to the diet of a natural rabbit — their bodies are designed to eat certain foods!
Rabbits are classified as herbivores, meaning that their diets consist entirely of plants and a variety of plant matter. Their bodies break down this plant matter and are able to extract all of their required nutrients for survival. This is great for you, the rabbit owner, as herbivores can eat a wide variety of different foods but don’t require an extremely diverse diet. Wild rabbits’ diets consist largely of wild grasses, forbs, and leafy weeds.
If you observe a wild rabbit, you’ll note that most of its time is spent grazing. In fact, rabbits graze so much that about 80-90% of their diet is made up of grass! The remaining 10-20% of food is dependent on their geographical location and the time of year, but it largely consists of vegetable plants, wildflowers, weeds, and clovers.
Health Benefits & Dangers Of Oranges
Looking at a rabbit’s natural diet, it’s clear why oranges are safe for them to eat but not the most beneficial health-wise. Rabbits don’t have access to oranges specifically, but they may eat foods that are similar in some aspects. Due to this similarity, rabbits are still able to digest and process oranges to get some nutritional value from them.
There aren’t many serious health concerns associated with feeding oranges to your rabbit. They aren’t a fruit that will cause health issues in all rabbits, but they can be a bit unhealthy when fed regularly. This can largely be attributed to the fact that oranges are high in sugar and are quite acidic. The high sugar content can cause an overgrowth of harmful bacteria resulting in digestive issues, while the acidity can cause dental problems in addition to more digestive issues.
A rabbit that has never eaten oranges before could experience some minor issues when eating them for the first time. To avoid this being a large problem, be very observant when introducing your rabbit to oranges. If they react negatively to the fruit, it’s best to just avoid feeding it altogether!
When fed properly, oranges should be a great addition to any rabbit’s diet.
How To Properly Feed Your Rabbit Oranges
Oranges can make for a delicious little treat for your bunny when fed correctly. Fortunately, proper feeding is not a very difficult thing to do. Rabbits are quite used to eating foods similar in nature to oranges, so introducing this fruit won’t be very intricate. There are a few things that you should be sure of to ensure the safety of your rabbit, though.
In terms of serving size, the equivalent of a single orange slice once a week is generally a safe amount to feed your rabbit. This quantity will make for a nice treat and won’t be too much to where it can cause any problems. Of course, you can feed your rabbit slightly more or less than this amount — it’s up to you to observe your rabbit and determine what’s best for them.
If you do want to feed your rabbit oranges, you first need to ensure that their nutritional needs are being met through their diet. Despite the fact that oranges have quite a few awesome health benefits, they’re nowhere near healthy enough to act as a staple in your rabbit’s diet. So, you’ll want to make sure that your rabbit’s diet is well-rounded before focusing on supplementing it with fruits and veggies.
A healthy rabbit diet is made up of around 80-90% high-quality hay. This is an absolutely essential part of a rabbit’s diet because their bodies are made for the constant digestion and processing of grass. While it may not appear to be the most nutritious food, hay provides rabbits with most of the nutrients that they need to stay healthy.
Other Healthy Snacks For Your Rabbit
Rabbits are able to eat small amounts of oranges as a snack, but it definitely shouldn’t be the only snack food that they receive. The secret to a healthy rabbit diet is a diverse selection of food on top of their regular hay. This keeps their diet interesting and packed full of a variety of different nutrients. Below are some of the most commonly-eaten vegetables by rabbits.
- Artichoke leaves
- Romaine lettuce
- Spring greens