Rabbits are among those adored creatures that get more love from humans. This benevolent species adds grace to our meadows and backyards. With their long, pink ears, black button noses, and cotton tails, they look distinctive and cuddly. Many times when we see rabbits in our backyard, we love to feed them. But what do wild rabbits eat?
When in wild condition, Bunnies used to eats weeds, clover, wild flowers, grasses, flower, and vegetable plants when the temperature is warmer. But when the climates start changing and turn to more cooler temperature, bunnies tend to munch on buds, twigs, conifer needles, bark, and any remaining green plants. These stuffs rabbit used to eat in a wild condition.
But what we can offer these wild bunnies in our backyard? Well, you can feed anything available in your house to rabbits. Several types of commercial pet bunny foods are available on market. This commercial food can also be feed to these wild rabbits. In this article, we will discuss in detail what do wild rabbits eat?
What do wild rabbits eat?
Rabbits are herbivorous in nature so generally crave green plants that are readily available in wild conditions. The green plants preferred by rabbits include shrub, grass, and tree leaves, clover, and weeds. They are also reported to eat tree barks, particularly from fir, spruce, apple, cherry, and peach trees. Rabbits can also eat twigs as well as pine needles.
It is reported that wild bunnies prefer green plants over other foodstuffs. They are also seen to climb up the tree in order to get the fresh green leaves. Also, if you let wild rabbits eat on a plate having carrots, they will prefer eating grass and shrub in the area over the carrots. This doesn’t mean that they do not like carrots or cannot eat carrots. Instead, they prefer green grasses and shrubs over other feed stuff.
So if you don’t mind the wild bunnies to visit your backyard or you want to start feeding these cute bunnies. You should offer them green veggies and lettuce. Also, if you offer them carrots, fruits, or any other veggies, they will eat that also.
Alternatively, you can also feed these cute wild bunnies with a commercial rabbit pellet. It is full of all nutritious substances. They can eat any of these commercial products if given the option.
Water requirement for wild rabbit
- Rabbits don’t matter they are wild or pet, both require full access to fresh water in order to digest their food. Rabbits have the tendency to start losing their body weight in the case when they don’t get sufficient water. You will notice the weight loss in water scarcity conditions even when they are eating the same amount of food.
- As fresh and green vegetables have a high amount of water, this is the reason why rabbits tend more to eat green and fresh vegetables even when they have many more options. Eating food with having a high amount of water helps them easily digest their food.
Rabbit behavior to eat night droppings or Rabbit cecotropes
- Many of us must be shocked to hear that rabbits have the tendency to eat the caecal pellet that they produce from the food that is not fully digested. These cecal pellets are also known as night droppings that rabbit drops in the evening and eat them.
- Caecal pellets are more similar look like fecal pellets, but they are different. Caecal pellets are rich in much nutrition and it is absolutely normal for the wild rabbit to eat them. In fact, it is essential for the rabbit to eat these pellets as they are rich in both nutrients as well as digestive bacteria.
- This tendency of eating caecal pellets is seen in both wild as well as pet rabbits. But wild rabbits rely more on them especially in the winter when there is food scarcity.
What do wild rabbits eat in the backyard?
- Wild rabbits have the tendency to visit the domestic backyards in search of food. If you don’t mind the wild rabbits visiting your backyard, you can maintain an area there where wild bunnies can come and eat.
- In the food, you can offer these cute creatures with commercial rabbit pellets or other commercial food. These rabbits can also eat the hay that you used to give your pe bunny-like alfalfa, timothy, oat, or orchard grass hay.
- As mentioned above, rabbits prefer eating fresh and green vegetables, so provide them with the food they are fond of is the best option. But make sure the vegetables you are giving should not produce gas as it can cause bloat in bunnies. Bloat is a serious condition in rabbits and can even lead to death.
- In the backyard, make some arrangements for fresh water. This will make the bunny to visit your backyard daily.
How to feed a wild bunny?
When you see that a bunny in search of food comes to your backyard, you might wish to feed them. But don’t know how to feed wild rabbits? Given below are instructions that might help you feed the wild bunny and make him your daily visitor:
- You can create a special area in your backyard having rabbit foods and fresh water. An adult bunny will come and eat the meal. Since wild rabbits have the tendency to eat in a shrubby or wooded area, so you can consider creating a small garden or small brush pile for these cute creatures.
- You can provide these wild rabbits with green grasses, weeds, a small number of fruits, spinach, mint, parsley, pea pods, swiss chard, dill, the green part of the carrot, or full carrot, green grass or hay, and many more.
- Make sure the food you are giving should not produce gas. Some food and vegetables like onion, garlic, reddish, etc have the tendency to produce more gas. This can cause bloat in these poor bunnies. Also, bloat is fatal in rabbits. So avoid offering such kinds of stuff.
- If you see any orphan or baby bunny, feeding them is quite complicated. First, make sure that the baby bunny is actually an orphan. Mostly mothers rabbit nurse their child in the early morning and night only. So most of the time, baby bunnies stay without their mother.
In the case when you see a baby bunny hopping around on their own, first make sure if they are actually orphans. An orphan bunny will look cold, weak, debilitated, dehydrated, or sometimes injured. In this case, they need your help.
Since it is difficult to nurse a baby rabbit, you should call for a wildlife rehabilitation center as early as possible. But in the case when the bunny requires urgent help and food, you should feed them. You can feed them with regular goat milk. If not possible, then milk replaces easily available in the market is also recommended.
What do wild baby rabbits eat?
When you find any orphan baby rabbit, you can feed them with goat milk. In the case when goat milk is not available in your local store, you can offer them easily available milk replacers.
Feeding them with cow milk or human baby formula is not recommended. When you notice that the baby rabbit is cold, first place them in some warm area. Now feed them with warm milk. This will increase their survival chances.
What is the difference between wild and pet rabbit diets?
There is no major difference between the diet of pets and wild rabbits. The only difference is that pet rabbits get access to a wide variety of rabbit pellets, hay, fresh veggies, and fresh water. A wild rabbit can also eat these kinds of stuff if given the option. But generally, they don’t get such an opportunity in the wild. Thus wild rabbits have the tendency to eat whatever they find.
The bottom line
So this was a complete guide on what do wild rabbits eat. I hope this article helps you.