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What To Feed Wild Rabbits

Last Updated: 30.03.20



If you are in desperate need of a durable indoor rabbit enclosure, but you don’t know what models are worthy of your attention, this buying guide is packed with all the choices that you need to consider before making a purchase.

Similarly, if you are searching for a rabbit house and you need some assistance selecting one that can pass the test of time, read this list of habitats that we have created for you as it can be of help.

In this short article, we have included all the info that you might need to know when it comes to the diet of wild rabbits. So, if you have a new visitor in your backyard and you want to be as hospitable as possible, we can help you deliver tasty treats to it.


Beware of the risks

If you are searching for info on this topic in an attempt to find out what you can feed the wild bunnies that are visiting your yard, you should consider a few things before you decide to give them any type of food.

First things first, it should come as no surprise to you if you find your yard rampaged after feeding wild rabbits. So, if you have flowers or other plants that you want to protect, our advice to you is that you scare the intruders away and that you do not feed them.

On top of that, keep in mind that, because they have never been medically treated, wild animals are prone to carry a number of diseases.

Another thing that people should remember is that wild animals are, by definition, capable of finding food by themselves. Therefore, they generally do not need your assistance.

What do wild rabbits normally eat?

Wild rabbits have a plant-based diet throughout the year. In the cold season, they adopt a wood-based diet as they eat tree bark, pine needles, and twigs. The rest of the seasons, they survive by eating green plants such as forbs, clover, leafy weeds, hay, and grasses.

Experts have pointed out that, contrary to the general belief, wild bunnies are selective when it comes to their food. Therefore, they tend to prefer eating fresh foliage to dry hay. Numerous species of wild rabbits are also capable of climbing trees in order to reach those delicate leaves that they find so delicious.

Another aspect that you might not know is that rabbits eat around 80% of their droppings or, more exactly, their night feces. This way, they are able to meet their dietary needs. As a result, rabbits can live during winter even if food is scarce.

However, their extreme lifestyle makes them have a short lifespan of approximately a year. By comparison, a domesticated rabbit lives between 8 and 12 years. Their short lifespan is also a result of the diseases, starvation and the predators that they have to face regularly.


What to feed a captive wild rabbit?

In captivity, wild rabbits should be fed approximately the same types of foods that they eat when they are free. Still, you should not feed the animal a pellet-based diet. Pellets are only suitable to be given to pet bunnies.

There are a few types of foods that you should include in the diet of a captive wild animal. Because, in nature, bunnies do not have access to many vegetables, they generally consume fresh grasses. Therefore, you can feed your new companion a wide variety of hay such as barley, oat, prairie, Timothy, and clover hay. You should avoid alfalfa hay.  

You can also supply the animal with leafy greens, including Swiss chard, collard greens, and watercress. A few pellets can be added into its diet. When doing so, opt for those pellet-shaped products that include seeds.

This way, the bunny will keep on chewing throughout the day and it won’t get bored. Last but not least, you should supply the wild animal with plenty of water, as hydration is vital.  


What foods to avoid?

In the beginning of the animal’s captivity, there are a couple of foods that you should not give to the rabbit. For instance, the specialists advise against feeding cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage to the animal.

These vegetables are likely to produce gas and stomach discomfort that the digestive system of the bunny is unable to cope with. This happens because rabbits have a digestive system that is shaped in such a way so that they cannot vomit.

Vegetables should be introduced into the diet of the rabbits slowly. In case you notice diarrhea or any other intestinal issues, this should be a sign that you have to introduce these foods in a slower manner. In time, the organism of the animal will eventually grow accustomed to them.

Additionally, you should only introduce one vegetable at a time. By doing so, you will have a clear understanding of the animal’s likes and dislikes when it comes to foods.

Some people also recommend feeding fruits to the wild bunnies as well. Among the safe fruits you can feed a wild rabbit are banana slices, papayas, plums, melons, and berries.

Once again, you should start by supplying the animal with small quantities of fruits that it is already accustomed to eating, in accordance with the nature of its habitat/environment.

Identify the animal first

Some people decide to feed the animals in their yards before they are 100% certain that they know the type of visitor that they are dealing with. If you are not sure that your guest is a rabbit, keep in mind that these animals are more likely to make themselves visible at dusk and at dawn.

You can also start looking for droppings, as rabbits are known to leave behind pea-sized, round droppings that are easy to identify. Once you are sure that your visitor is a bunny, you can start feeding it the kinds of foods that we have talked to you about.

Because most rabbits are innate burrowers, inviting a rabbit into your yard by giving it food might be a signal that you agree with the animals creating complex underground tunnels and habitats beneath your propriety. So, be careful what you invite near your home!



Irina Ionescu

As a long-term learner and animal lover, Irina helps her readers find the best products and accessories for their pets, as well as the latest training techniques, tips & tricks on how to handle animals.

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