Common Myths in Rabbit Feeding
Can rabbits eat carrots?
The association of carrots as a staple in a rabbit’s diet is quite popular. However, carrots should only be given as an occasional treat. Carrots are high in carbohydrates (7.3 grams per 100 grams of carrot) and low in insoluble fiber.
As you may know, the primary component of a rabbit’s diet should be hay, which is high in fiber. Conversely, foods high in sugars can disrupt the digestive flora balance in these animals, which are cecal fermenters. This can lead to episodes of diarrhea.
Do you know where the myth originated? It’s likely from the character Bugs Bunny, the famous Warner Bros. cartoon. Its creator, Tex Avery, was inspired by a scene from the movie “It Happened One Night” (1934) in which he wanted to pay tribute to actor Clark Gable, who was eating a carrot in a scene.
Is it good to give pineapple juice when a rabbit has gastrointestinal stasis?
Pineapple contains bromelain, a proteolytic enzyme. It has traditionally been considered effective in helping to digest hairballs in a rabbit’s stomach. However, pineapple is not really effective in digesting hairballs, and hairballs are not the primary cause of gastrointestinal stasis in rabbits.
The effective action of offering pineapple juice to a rabbit with gastrointestinal stasis comes from the hydration it provides to the stomach contents. This effect could be achieved equally by simply offering water, without the extra carbohydrate content found in pineapple.
Bromelain, although effective as a proteolytic enzyme, becomes inactive at pH levels lower than 2. Considering that the gastric pH of an adult rabbit is between 1 and 2, we can conclude that this enzyme will be completely inactive in a rabbit’s stomach.