Last Updated on August 26, 2023 by keno
Wild rabbits being herbivores, have mastered the art of foraging and will chow down on a wide variety of vegetation. However, depending on their region, climate, or season, what they eat may vary. So what do wild rabbits eat? This article looks at a wild rabbit’s diet, feeding them as well as the nutritional value or benefits a proper diet provides.
What do wild rabbits eat?
Wild rabbits just like their domesticated cousins, tend to have a similar diet. This is considering that their digestive system hasn’t changed much regardless of whether they’re in captivity or in the wild. Below is a list of what wild rabbits consume.
Wild rabbits graze on a wide variety of grasses as their primary diet. They include clover, Bermuda, meadow grasses, bluegrass, fescue, wheatgrass, ryegrass, orchard and timothy. Lastly, in harsh weather conditions, when there is a scarcity of food, wild rabbits will eat dry grasses and weeds. The latter includes clover, dandelion, crabgrass, nettle, chickweed, and ragweed. Grasses are rich in fiber which aids in digestion by keeping the wild rabbit’s gastrointestinal tract healthy.
Forbs also referred to as wildflowers are, herbaceous or non-woody flowing plants that are also consumed by wild rabbits. Some of the edible forbs include daisies, roses, chamomile, sunflowers, pansies, marigolds, lavender, and violets. Forbs also include herbs wild rabbits eat such as cilantro, basil, dill, sage, rosemary, mints, parsley, oregano, and thyme. These plants help keep wild rabbits hydrated, especially in summer.
The other diet that wild rabbits enjoy is leafy greens such as dandelion leaves, chickweed, and plantain. Additionally, given an opportunity, they can also non leafy crops such as bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, Chinese pea pods, summer and zucchini squash. Vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that contribute to the overall growth and development of bunnies in the wild.
Barks and twigs
Lastly, wild bunnies also occasionally eat barks and twigs from apple tree sticks, cottonwood, birch, rose bushes, poplar, maple, willow, blackberry, and raspberry. The main benefit of this particular diet is that it helps to wear down a rabbit’s teeth considering that it usually grows continuously throughout their life.
Can you feed wild rabbits?
Sometimes you may find it necessary to feed a wild rabbit in captivity especially when it’s in your backyard. This could be due to an injury they’ve sustained or maybe they keep coming around your house during winter when there’s a scarcity of food. Whatever the reason, always make sure that you feed them a diet that’s natural as possible.
For starters, choose an outdoor spot where you’ll be placing their food, preferably, a shrubby secluded area. We recommend feeding them grass cuttings that are pesticide-free. Alternatively, you can provide adult wild rabbits with hay, preferably, timothy or oat. On top of that, you can also feed your rabbits fresh vegetables, substituted with pellets and fruits sparingly.
Lastly, for orphaned wild baby rabbits, we recommend feeding them goat milk, Kitten, or puppy milk replacers available at your local grocery store. Click on the link for more on baby rabbit care.