If you’re familiar with domesticated rabbits, you know that they typically eat hay, fresh vegetables and commercial rabbit food. But what do rabbits eat in the wild?
As herbivores, wild rabbits mainly feed on grasses, weeds, wildflowers, and other vegetation. Depending on the season and availability in their environment they may also consume twigs, bark, and buds.
Wild rabbits are opportunistic feeders and will feast on whatever is available to them. Here’s a closer look at what wild rabbits eat and why.
What Do Rabbits Eat in the Wild
Rabbits are small, fur-bearing mammals that are found on every continent except for Antarctica. Wild rabbits typically live in underground burrows, and they are relatively shy creatures that tend to avoid contact with humans.
Grasses make up the bulk of a wild rabbit’s diet. Wild rabbits will munch on grasses, including clover, rye, timothy hay, and oats. Rabbits can eat clover and it’s also good for them!
In addition to providing essential fiber in their diet, grass also provides plenty of nutrients, including calcium and protein.
Wild rabbits also feed on a variety of wildflowers, herbs, and weeds. Dandelion leaves are a much-loved treat for wild rabbits. They will also eat dock, plantain, yarrow, thistle, and chickweed.
What Do Wild Baby Rabbits Eat
Baby wild rabbits, also known as “kits”, are born with their eyes closed and without any fur. They rely on their mother’s milk for nutrition in the early weeks of life. After about three to four weeks the kits begin to eat grass and other vegetation.
At this age, the kits will start to nibble on small amounts of hay and alfalfa, as well as dandelion greens and other leafy green vegetables. As the kits get older, they’ll add more variety to their diet, including clover, thistle, and timothy hay.
By the time they are 8-10 weeks old, wild baby rabbits will start to look like their adult counterparts and be able to forage for food on their own. They’ll be ready to leave the nest and begin living independently in about two months.
In the wild, rabbits can live up to 8 years if they are able to escape predators and find enough food in their natural environment. On other hand, domestic rabbits can live up to 10-12 years with proper care.
What Household Food Can Wild Rabbits Eat
Wild rabbits may not be too used to eating human food, so it’s important to be cautious when introducing these kinds of items into their diet. It’s best to stick with natural, plant-based foods that are free from sugar and additives.
A few human foods that can be safely fed to wild rabbits include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots, celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, spinach, kale
- Dried fruits like raisins or cranberries
- Whole grains like oats and barley
- Nuts and seeds, like pumpkin or sunflower
Wild rabbits should not be fed anything sweetened with sugar, processed foods, dairy products, chocolate, or leftover foods. Can rabbits eat chocolates? The answer is no because it is harmful to them and can cause serious health problems
Too much human food can also lead to digestive problems so it’s best to keep treats as an occasional treat and not a staple in their diet.
Oxbow rabbit pellets (Amazon link)
Oxbow rabbit hay (Amazon link)
Healthy rabbit treats (Amazon link)
Can Wild Rabbits Eat Pellets
Rabbit pellets are specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of domesticated rabbits, so wild rabbits likely will get the same nutritional benefit from them.
Pellets contain high amounts of protein and fiber, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. However, they should only be given sparingly as a treat and not used as their main food source.
What Is The Best Thing To Feed A Wild Rabbit
The best thing to feed a wild rabbit is the same kind of natural foods they’d find in the wild, such as grasses, hay, leafy greens, and other plants. This ensures that they are getting all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals their bodies need to stay healthy.
In addition to providing fresh fruits and vegetables, wild rabbits can also benefit from a supplemental dish of hay and alfalfa. This helps provide them with essential fiber in their diet.
What Plants Do Rabbits Eat in the Wild
In the wild, rabbits eat a variety of plants and vegetation. Their diet includes grasses, clovers, dandelions, plantain leaves, thistle, yarrow, and other leafy greens. They also enjoy root vegetables such as carrots and turnips.
Wild rabbits live in many different habitats across the world. Depending on where they live, the types of plants they eat may vary. For example, in a desert environment, rabbits will feed on cactus pads and other succulents.
In meadows and woodlands, they will feed on grasses, clover, and other wild greens. In gardens and agricultural areas, they may eat vegetables, fruits, flowers, and grains.
Seasons and weather also play a role in what plants wild rabbits eat. In the winter, when snow and cold temperatures make vegetation scarce, they may feed on the bark and twigs of trees or shrubs to supplement their diet.
Do Wild Bunnies Eat Carrots
Wild rabbits are not particularly fond of carrots, but there is a high chance that they will nibble on them if offered. Carrots are not a natural part of their diet and the sugar content can be quite high.
Carrots are one of the most nutritious vegetables available and they can provide wild rabbits with a good source of vitamins A and K, as well as dietary fiber.
However, it’s important to remember that too much sugar can lead to dental problems and obesity in both domestic and wild rabbits.
If you want to feed carrots to wild bunnies, it’s best to offer them in moderation. Wash and chop the carrots into small pieces, then scatter them on the ground. This gives wild rabbits an opportunity to decide if they like them or not.
What Vegetables Do Wild Rabbits Eat
Vegetables are a major part of the diet of wild rabbits. Some of the vegetables they love to eat include spinach, kale, broccoli, etc.
Leafy vegetables are not only easier for rabbits to digest but they are also rich in vitamins and minerals.
While root vegetables aren’t a major part of their diet, they do enjoy carrots, beets, turnips, and parsnips.
Marrow veggies are also a favorite among wild rabbits. Things like zucchini, pumpkins, and cucumbers can give your pet rabbit some extra nutrition during the summer months due to their high water content.
Finally, legumes such as peas, beans, and alfalfa are all great sources of protein for wild rabbits. But, should be given in moderation to prevent digestive problems.
What do rabbits eat in the wild? overall, wild rabbits are prolific foragers and make use of whatever food sources are available to them.
They primarily eat grasses and other vegetation like clover, dandelion greens, freshly sprouted foliage, and certain types of flowers.