All rabbits are herbivores, whether they live in the wild or are kept as pets. This means that they only eat material that comes from plants: things like grasses, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Since rabbits have evolved to be herbivorous, they do not eat anything that comes from animals, such as meat or eggs. If a rabbit were to eat anything animal-based it would get a very upset stomach – or worse!
Rabbits are herbivorous animals, so they shouldn’t be fed things such as meat, dairy or sweets
A wild rabbit’s diet chiefly consists of plants, mainly grass stems that the rabbits can find on and around their warrens. Depending on where in the world you live, you may see groups of wild rabbits happily munching away on lush grass around their home. There’s not much nutrition in grass, so wild rabbits need to eat a lot of it if they are to survive. They have evolved to consume high volumes of grass, so it’s very easy of them to eat an awful lot - watch a rabbit eating a handful of grass and see for yourself! Whilst wild rabbits may be able to get the calories they need from an enormous amount of grass, rabbits who are kept as pets won’t be able to eat this amount per day, and so their diets are supplemented with dry food, vegetables and hay in order to supply the calories, vitamins and minerals they need to survive. It certainly saves them a lot of chewing.
The diets of wild rabbits and pet rabbits are quite similar. Pet rabbits need a diet that mimics what they would eat if they were living freely, and were able to choose their own food as their wild cousins do. Rabbits’ digestive systems haven’t changed all that much since they were domesticated (a word which means ‘brought to live with humans’) several thousand years ago, but they are still physically adapted to the diets they had before. This is why owners should try to keep their pets’ diets quite similar to a wild one.
If you need some help and advice on feeding your rabbits, then have a look at the Rabbit Food section of this guide.