Do Rabbits Eat Garbage? What You Need to Know

My neighbor, who has a couple of rabbits as pets, is habitually giving her pets kitchen scraps. However, she observed that one of the rabbits fell ill after eating the scraps.

When she spoke to me about this incident, it intrigued me because we associate rabbits with eating leafy vegetables, and kitchen scraps usually come under this category.

When I began researching it, I found that rabbits tend to eat garbage, but you should prevent your pet bunnies from making it a habit. Here is what I learned about rabbits eating garbage.

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Can domestic rabbits eat garbage?

You might have observed that your pet rabbits will sometimes tip over your garbage bin and try to find suitable food in it.

Domestic rabbits will try to eat garbage if they are bored or find the trash bin is within their reach.

In most cases, rabbits eating garbage might not produce adverse results, but you should keep the garbage bins out of reach of your pet rabbits by keeping on a tightly closed lid.

Do wild rabbits eat garbage?

According to the website, Abandoned Rabbits, wild rabbits, especially cottontails, are known to eat garbage.

If you are not careful about disposing of your garbage, you will find that rabbits have torn it. 

The primary reason is that wild rabbits usually search for suitable food sources, and garbage often contains kitchen scraps.

These can have vegetable peels and parts of fruits and vegetables that you have discarded.

Such scraps can become special treats for wild rabbits, and they will make a mess of your trash can in search of these kitchen scraps.

Can eating garbage prove to be dangerous for rabbits?

The answer to this question is yes; eating garbage can be dangerous and even fatal for rabbits.

For example, if wild rabbits eat moldy and rotten kitchen scraps, it can result in digestive distress in the animal.

As a result, the rabbits can become severely ill and without proper treatment, results in death.

Hence, when you discard your garbage, you must be careful and ensure that the rabbits in the neighborhood cannot access it.

What should you do if your pet rabbit eats garbage?

First, you should try to break your pet rabbit’s habit of eating garbage. If you are in the habit of feeding it kitchen scraps, you should stop it, and your rabbit will not be inclined to eat those kitchen scraps if they smell any from the trash bin.

Secondly, if your pet bunny has eaten garbage for the first time, you need not panic.

Finally, check if your pet bunny has consumed only vegetable or fruit scraps. If the scraps are not rotten or moldy, you are safe, and the rabbit can digest the scraps.

However, if the scraps have become rotten, you must take your pet to a veterinarian soon to ensure that it doesn’t come down with digestive distress.

When are rabbits primarily drawn toward garbage?

Research shows that abandoned pet rabbits are the ones that are mainly drawn toward garbage.

Owners of rabbits often ‘set them free with the expectation that they can live once again like wild rabbits.

However, rabbits cannot just begin to live and survive in the wild. They have to be taught survival.

Moreover, a domestic rabbit’s brain has less white matter than a wild one.

This means they cannot process information as swiftly as wild rabbits.

As a result, they will try to stay near garbage bins in the hope of getting some food to survive and often become easy prey to predators like feral cats or stray dogs.

We have compiled a list of animals that will eat garbage which you can read more about over there.

Can you put garbage in your rabbit hutch?

If you have a rabbit hutch in your backyard and are looking for suitable things to put in it so your pet bunnies can play inside, place items like cardboard and chew toys.

Putting garbage or kitchen waste inside a rabbit hutch is not a good idea.

It will only make the hutch dirty, and you will find that your pet rabbits are chewing on unnecessary trash.

Moreover, you will also have to check to ensure that the garbage does not become rotten and moldy because if a rabbit eats such a piece of kitchen waste, it can fall ill.

Can you put egg cartons in a rabbit hutch?

Egg cartons can be placed in a rabbit hutch because it is not only a chew toy for the bunny but can also be a forage tray

If you are looking for suitable chew toys for your rabbit, you can easily give it a few trays of empty egg cartons.

Can rabbits chew on garbage for their teeth?

It is best that you avoid giving garbage to rabbits for their teeth. Instead, you should give your pet bunnies things like hay, apple, and pine firewood to chew on.

These will help keep your rabbit healthy and ensure that it gets adequate nutrition even while chewing on the item for its teeth.

Can rabbits eat cardboard?

If you are in the habit of throwing garbage in paper bags or cardboard boxes, then chances are there that rabbits can easily chew through these.

Bunnies have sharp front teeth, and it is often a good idea to give them cardboard to help them wear down their teeth.

In the wild, rabbits do this by chewing on the bark of trees, but with pet bunnies, you can easily replicate this by giving them cardboard to chew on.

However, this should not be a source of nutrition, and you should limit the amount of cardboard your pet rabbit chews on.

Can rabbits chew on plastic?

Plastic is dangerous to rabbits but you will find that the animal chews on plastic out of boredom. However, it can prove toxic for rabbits; hence, you should keep plastic garbage bags out of reach of your pet bunnies.

Similarly, when you dispose of your kitchen waste or other garbage in plastic bags, ensure that it is appropriately secured so that wild rabbits do not get access to it.

Further reading:

Pet Finder – Bunny Feeding & Nutrition: What do Pet Rabbits Eat?

Adelphi – House Rabbit Diet

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