Potatoes are one of the worldwide staples that can be easily found in cuisines from America to Europe to India and beyond. Indeed, a human’s digestive system can’t digest raw potatoes. Their starches must be cooked first before our guts can work with these popular tubers.
Of course, human digestive systems are quite different from rabbits. Rabbits are herbivorous animals. Hence, they tend to eat raw foods like hay, greens, and carrots. If this makes you think that rabbits can eat potatoes, you’d be correct!
However, it does not mean that it should eat potatoes just because it can. While the tuberous root of potato won’t harm your pet rabbit, there are other obvious reasons why you shouldn’t let your pet rabbit snack on your Idaho spuds.
In this article, we’ll talk about whether potatoes are an ideal inclusion to your rabbit’s diet and analyze the risks of doing so.
Are Rabbits Allowed To Eat Potatoes?
Rabbits enjoy eating various vegetables. If you give a rabbit a piece of potato, they will automatically accept it. However, this doesn’t suggest that potatoes are healthy for rabbits.
Rabbits flourish on an herbaceous diet. A rabbit’s diet should include mostly fiber, which flows food through the digestive system smoothly. They can also have a small amount of fat and protein, which are vital for cell growth.
Rabbits receive almost all of the nutrition that they require from grass hay. This high-fiber food should make up around 85% of your pet rabbit’s diet. While the rest of their diet should consist of leafy greens and herbs, like cilantro.
Rabbits can obviously eat potatoes, but it doesn’t mean that it is a good idea to offer them to your rabbit, even in small servings. If wild rabbits don’t consume starch-dense foods, neither should a domestic rabbit. White or red potatoes don’t provide any nutritional benefit to a rabbit’s health.
Are Potatoes Good for Rabbits?
Unlike humans, rabbits possess a very delicate digestive system that is only very well suited to breaking down raw foods.
When it comes to us humans, we are completely unable to digest potatoes raw. While potato starch might just give us a bad stomach ache, it carries a toxic compound called solanine that could lead to worse conditions.
Solanine is concentrated inside a potato that is still green on the inside or those with recently sprouting green “eyes”.
You can see that rabbits are digging up and eating raw potatoes in the wild. Even if rabbits have herbivorous digestive systems which are equipped to absorb raw potato starch, their inability to excrete gas can still make even the slightest digestive upset into a fatal problem.
Combine this with the odds of feeding a green, toxic potato eye to your pet rabbit, and you’ll surely encounter such problems
Why Do Rabbits Like Potatoes?
Most rabbits will surely eat potatoes without thinking how unhealthy it is for them. As potatoes don’t carry any nutritional value that is essential to a rabbit, it still seems odd how they find them tasty. However, rabbits are attracted to potatoes due to their high-caloric content. Rabbits grew to favor high-calorie foods.
This is a good thing for rabbits in the wild. It’s an evolutionary adjustment that supports restricting weight loss or starvation. Choosing calorie-dense foods implies that the rabbit can survive for a long time without having a meal.
Unfortunately, for domesticated rabbits, it’s not a good thing. Pet rabbits don’t acquire as much activity as wild rabbits, and they will surely overeat food if provided half the chance.
Rabbits don’t and will never understand that potatoes are bad for them. They just don’t have that ability when it comes to avoiding unhealthy foods. So it’s your job, as a rabbit owner to provide your rabbit with healthy food.
Risks of Feeding Potatoes to a Rabbit
If potatoes are considered unsafe for rabbits to eat, then why might you notice a wild rabbit digging one up to snack on? Simple: Potatoes carry a high amount of carbohydrates and calories, and rabbits acquire this trait as a deep-seated evolutionary survival mechanism.
This affection for sweet, starchy, high-calorie foods often revokes a rabbit’s better understanding of what is good for it. Even a small amount of potato can produce serious gastrointestinal distress for rabbits – a situation which can be dangerous or fatal very quickly.
GI stasis, a potentially deadly condition in rabbits, is not frequently created by physical blocking but by a shift in bacteria in your rabbit’s gut. If your rabbit has consumed potatoes and you’re worried for their health, maintain a close eye on their digestion and pooping habits: If either stop abruptly, phone a vet straight away to get your rabbit’s gut checked.
Humans cannot eat raw potatoes, but rabbits are also equally unsuited to consuming cooked potatoes (or any cooked food).
As herbivorous animals, rabbits don’t possess the right amount of digestive enzymes required to break down cooked foods. While most rabbits will surely shun anything that’s been cooked, you still have to make sure to never give cooked potatoes (or any other cooked food) to your pet rabbit.
Although cooking excretes the abundance of resilient starch, sufficient amounts of constant starch are still fixed there. Bunnies cannot easily digest high amounts of carbohydrates, except for fiber. The thick starch found in cooked potatoes might work perfectly fine for humans but not for rabbits.
Feeding prepared potatoes might result in any emerging health problems for your pet rabbit similar to gastric complications for humans consuming uncooked potatoes. Besides gastrointestinal stasis, diarrhea, and constipation can still occur with prepared potatoes.
Therefore, as delightful as they seem, never feed prepared potatoes to your pet rabbit. Provide your bunny with an unlimited amount of hay which is necessary to their health.
Potato peels, whether they’re white or red, carry a lot more fiber than their flesh inside. Half of the total amount of fiber in a potato is found within its skin. The skin of the potato also carries nutrients, like potassium and vitamin C.
Rabbits require a high-fiber diet to be healthy. Their delicate digestive systems rely upon soluble and insoluble fiber to keep going. Therefore, you may ask whether rabbits can consume potato peelings as part of their healthy diet.
Potato peels still hold a high amount of starch. Their high starch content crashes their fiber content, making them hard for a rabbit to digest. Potato peels are just as critical for a rabbit’s gut as the white flesh inside.
Rabbits should eat grass hay, which is almost totally fiber-based. They receive all of their important dietary fiber from hay, and occasional salads composed of herbaceous leaves.
The leaves, vines, and flowers of the potato plant are also fatal to rabbits. The same goes for all other members of the nightshade family.
Rabbits roaming around gardens and empty lots may come across potato leaves and vines. They acquire the knowledge from the senior members of their warren which plants to consume and which plants to avoid. However, wild rabbits don’t live longer. They do consume poisonous plants and suffer the results.
Even though they include the word “potato” in their name, sweet potatoes aren’t closely linked to regular potatoes. They are in distinct plant families and don’t possess much genetic similarity.
Sweet potatoes are a member of the Convolvulaceae family, associated with wood roses and morning glory. Potatoes, on the other hand, are part of the nightshades.
But for rabbits, sweet potatoes aren’t healthy as well. They carry far more sugar than normal potatoes and are higher in fat. In other words, sweet potatoes and normal potatoes are equally bad for your pet rabbit.
The same goes for yams. The term “yam” and “sweet potato” are often utilized mutually, even though they come from different plant families. They are also bad for your rabbit’s health, though. In short, avoid starchy tubers altogether.
The only things that are safe for rabbits to eat are the leaves and vines of the sweet potato plant. Research done by Texas A&M University discovered that rabbits can consume sweet potato forage with no undesirable outcomes.
What will rabbits feel if they eat potatoes?
So we have already strongly confirmed that potatoes are not good for your pet rabbits, but you may want to know what may happen to your poor bunny if you serve him or her with potatoes. Here are some of the indications that your pet rabbits may encounter if you include potatoes in their diets.
- Diarrhea – Where the rabbit’s stool movements become abnormally frequent and runny.
- Constipation or gastrointestinal stasis – On the contrary, your rabbit may become sick. The rabbits may not produce a good bowel movement at all or you may find small dry hard stool pellets in their cage. This condition may create the rabbit’s notable discomfort and pain.
- Lost appetite – Due to the digestive disorder, your rabbit may reject food.
- Lethargy – Pet rabbits may hinder moving around their enclosures and stop interacting with each other.
- Weight gain – Potatoes can put on too much weight and raise the risk of obesity.
Can Bunnies Eat Potatoes?
Bunnies are herbivorous animals. These animals prefer to eat numerous kinds of berries and root vegetables. If you offered a bunny a part of the potato, they will surely take it without hesitating.
Though, this doesn’t suggest that potatoes are suitable for bunnies. The struggle is factual.
Bunnies thrive mostly on herbaceous food. A bunny’s diet must contain mostly fiber, which supports push nourishment to achieve their gastral system. They must likewise produce a minor amount of fat besides protein, essential for cell development.
Bunnies receive nearly all of the nutriment that they require from grass hay. Its rich-fiber nourishment must consist of about 85% of its food. The rest of their food must be made up of verdant greens and pungent plants.
Sadly, starch doesn’t carry such nutrients that are required for bunnies’ health. Potatoes are almost made up of starch.
Cottontails can theoretically eat potatoes. Though, it isn’t common knowledge to offer them to your bunny, even in small amounts. Wild bunnies don’t eat starch-dense foods and neither is a domestic rabbit.
It doesn’t matter what variety of potato you choose. Neither white potatoes nor red potatoes offer any nutritious benefit to a bunny.
Why Do Bunnies Like Potatoes?
Utmost, bunnies will freely consume potatoes, despite the fact of how unhealthy it is for them. As potatoes don’t offer bunnies any nutritious content, it still seems odd that they taste delicious. Bunnies run for their high-calorie level. Like humans, bunnies prefer to eat high-calorie foods over little-caloric ones.
For wild bucks, this is a good thing. It’s serving them to stop weight loss or hunger. Gathering calorie-thick nutrients indicate the bunny can still go even for lengthy periods deprived of mealtime.
Can I Give Some Potato Chips to My Bunny?
Potato chips are just potatoes that have been cooked in grease. They are normally sprinkled with salt and ground flavors. However, humans prefer to nibble potato chips; but they must not be fed to bunnies.
If the potatoes weren’t debased enough to occupy your bunny previously, potato chips are even tackier. Not only do they coat altogether with some thickener that bunnies can’t digest; nonetheless, they are likewise abundant in fat. Potato chips can be equivalent to 50% fat, contingent on the product.
A bunny’s diet must only consist of below 3% fat. The required fats of a bunny must come from grass, bits, and vegetables. There’s no demand to supplement their food with fat on or after further bases.
Bunnies’ gastric systems can’t work with greasy substances that are included in potato chips. Nourishing bunnies with potato chips could create disorder in their gastric system. The same goes for other procedures of potatoes, for example, fries.
Can Cottontails Eat Potato Greeneries?
Potatoes may not be good for bunnies, but they aren’t toxic as well. If your bunny does accidentally swallow a tiny piece of potato, it may not upset them. Though, the same traits cannot be thought of around the green parts of the potato vegetable.
The greenery, vines, and plants of the potato plant are considered extremely toxic to bunnies. The connection is factual for all other partisans of the nightshade. This comprises:
- Goji berries
- Peppers (counting bell peppers besides chili peppers)
If you have some of these popping out in your plot, do not allow your bunny to eat them. Anything eaten from nightshade greeneries is hazardous for bunnies, and can even be fatal.
What about wild bucks?
Bunnies who love to hop may come across potato greeneries and creepers. They obtain from the more grown members of their hole which vegetables to consume and which to avoid.
Though stern bucks don’t last long, they occasionally make it earlier in their initial year. Unfortunately, they do occasionally consume venomous vegetation and suffer the costs.
The greeneries and creepers of the sweet potato vegetable are safe for bunnies to have. These are not nightshades so it is not toxic. A study made by Texas A&M University confirms that bunnies can consume sweet potato hay with no unwanted costs.
What should a pet rabbit’s diet look like?
While rabbits can relish a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and grasses, you should adhere to the required servings.
A pet rabbit’s diet should be made up of about 80% hay. Your rabbit is a grazer and should consume mostly fiber in its diet. Their digestive system acts better with their regular requirement of fiber.
It is suggested that you store a tray of hay in your pet rabbit’s enclosure so that they can have it anytime they want.
In the wild, rabbits travel from plant to plant while nibbling throughout the day. So when you collect hay, you are helping imitate their natural environment as well.
The other 20% can be served with different vegetables. You can also serve your rabbit with pellets that can help improve their diet. Most of a bunny’s nutrients and vitamins are acquired from the vegetables and high-quality pellets that you serve.
Fruits should only be given as a treat. Since most fruits carry a high amount of sugar, they should be employed sparingly. You can also take those with the most limited sugar.
Here is a list of foods that you can serve to your bunnies. The list is by no means tiring but it can provide you a pretty good start.
Let’s begin with the vegetables:
- Brussel Sprouts
- Curly Kale
- Green beans
- Romaine lettuce
- Spring Greens
- Sweet peppers
Keep in mind that most of these vegetables are to be used sparingly since vegetables can be gassy and this may agitate your rabbit’s delicate digestive system.
Fruits must also be served even less frequently than vegetables, but if you want, you can add them to your pet rabbit’s diet every once in a while.
Here are some safe fruits
- Apple (remove the seeds)
- Kiwi Fruit
So you should understand by now that potatoes, whether they are raw or cooked are not safe for your pet rabbits. Sweet potatoes as well, though they are a totally distinct family of potatoes, are no better.
Potato chips are also a no-no. A healthy diet is necessary for your rabbit’s good health and there are several options. So there is no need to provide your rabbit potatoes in any of its forms.
While potatoes may not be an urgent menace to your rabbit’s health in the way that toxic plants appear, they still carry no nutritional content that’s likely to create more harm than good. If your rabbit has eaten potatoes by accident, be sure to observe for any signs of GI discomfort and phone your vet right away if they seem to stop pooping or eating.