No, rabbits can’t eat meat. Rabbits are herbivores and their digestive system isn’t designed to digest meat. A rabbit might take a bite of meat if it’s offered to them (a small amount might give them a stomach ache but shouldn’t be fatal) but too much meat could cause some serious health issues.
Meat is high in protein and fat, and in high doses, both of them are harmful to rabbits. Your rabbit should be eating a fiber-rich diet alongside other food to ensure that they have a healthy diet. Scroll on to learn more.
Why Can’t Rabbits Eat Meat?
If your rabbit eats a lot of meat or is in a routine of regularly eating meat, they might have a problem. There are a few common problems your rabbit can get by eating the wrong diet. If your rabbit has any of the following problems, you should take them to a vet.
- Diarrhea: Soft or loose stools, if it continues for over a day it’ll require vet treatment.
- Gastrointestinal (GI) Stasis: Signs of this include your rabbit being hunched over, out of character, loss of appetite, and teeth grinding. This is caused when your rabbit has a high carb, low fiber diet and can be fatal if not treated quickly.
- Soft Cecotropes: High fat and protein levels can result in soft cecotropes.
- Kidney Damage: Can be the result of too much protein in a rabbit’s diet.
- Obesity: Too much fatty foods and too little exercise can contribute to your rabbit gaining an unhealthy amount of weight.
- Gut Obstruction: Eating meat instead of fiber can lead to gut obstruction.
Altogether, rabbits shouldn’t have any animal products. If you’re unsure exactly what you should be feeding your rabbit, check out the information below. Always check before feeding your rabbit to see if the food is safe and non-toxic for them to eat.
What Should Rabbits Eat?
Your rabbit needs to be on a specific diet that allows them to get all the nutrients they need to be healthy.
There are five main parts to their diet:
- Hay: An unlimited amount of hay is needed for your rabbit to have a healthy gut. No matter what else they have, you must always make sure your rabbit has access to hay.
- Vegetables: Rabbits will need fresh vegetables to get all the vitamins and minerals their bodies need. Typically the best vegetables are leafy or green and are given to your rabbit twice per day.
- Pellets: Store-bought pellets make up a small portion of your rabbit’s diet. The pellets contribute to the rabbit’s nutrition, made up of fiber, protein, and a little fat.
- Treats: Up to twice per week you can give your rabbit treats. They should be rabbit-friendly food, given in moderation, and changed every week for variety.
- Water: Your rabbit needs unlimited access to clean water.
Do Wild Rabbits Eat Meat?
No, you wouldn’t find a wild rabbit eating meat. They are herbivores and hard-wired to seek a plant-based diet. A wild rabbit’s diet will be majority grass (in lieu of hay), along with fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
Do Hares Eat Meat?
Hares do sometimes eat meat.
A lot of people mix up hares and rabbits. Hares are typically bigger than rabbits, with longer legs and ears. They have different diets and homes (rabbits tend to live in underground burrows while hares live aboveground in trees or behind rocks).
A hare will prefer to eat plant-based diets like grass and greenery like rabbits. However, hares have developed to be able to digest meat. You’ll most likely find a hare eating meat in harsh winters when they need the protein to survive. Hares will typically eat other deceased animals, but wouldn’t actively chase down another animal with the intention to eat them.