Are Rabbits Herbivores? A Brief Dietary Guide

Last Update:
TheRabbitRetreat is reader supported. When you purchase through referral links on our site, we may earn a commission.. Learn more
Are Rabbits Herbivores?

If you’ve recently bought a rabbit or are planning to get one, you might have a lot of questions.

Are rabbits herbivores? Do they eat grass? Vegetables perhaps?

The answer to these questions is yes, because when it comes to rabbits’ diet, they stick to eating plants

However, there are several things that you should consider before planning a healthy meal for your pet friend. 

We have gathered some great information about meal planning for your rabbits that will help you in the long run. Furthermore, you can also learn about the health risks of rabbits eating meat. 

So, let’s get started!

What Are Herbivores?

Herbivores, also known as primary consumers, are organisms that rely on plants to get the desired nutrition.

Herbivores occupy the second position at the tropical level and eat producers. 

According to a study, around 32 percent of present animals are Herbivores, while the remaining are carnivores and omnivores. 

The most common examples of herbivores are deer, goats, rabbits, buffalo, etc. 

Are Rabbits Herbivores?

Yes, rabbits are herbivores as they only eat plants and don’t have the digestive system to break down the proteins in meat. 

You should be very careful while selecting the plants to serve your rabbits. It’s because some dangerous plant species may risk your rabbit’s health. 

Can Rabbits Eat Meat?

Rabbit eating a plant
Rabbit eating a plant

No, rabbits cannot eat meat because their digestive systems are weak compared to other organisms that eat meat. 

So, when they eat any high-protein food, it remains undigested and blocks the intestine of rabbits, causing severe health issues.

Even wild rabbits are vegan, and the animals you confuse with rabbits are hares that heavily rely on meat for their daily food intake. 

It is highly recommended to go for nutritious foods like science-selective for your rabbit to keep them healthy and fresh. 

Things Rabbits Can Eat As Herbivores 

Rabbits love eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and grass. However, you must be very careful while giving anything to your rabbit. 

Do proper research, as some of these things may harm your rabbit’s health. 

So, to make it easy for you, we have listed all the fruits, vegetables, and grass that are rabbit-friendly. 

  1. Grass and Hay

As mentioned above, grass makes the most of your rabbit’s diet plan. Hay is grass that is cut short and dried before being fed to rabbits. 

In case you are confused about which grass or hay you should give to your rabbits, follow the below-given list.

  • Orchard Hay: This grass has a beautiful fragrance and is high in fiber, precisely what your bunnies will love. 
  • Herbal Hay: You can easily make this hay by mixing simple fodder with dried herbs and flowers. So, the overall nutritional value of the hay increases.
  • Oat Hay: You can give this hay to rabbits to add some variety to their meal plan.
  • Barley Hay: This hay is obtained by cutting the barley at the milky stage.
  • Alfalfa Hay: This hay is different from other typical hay as it’s not made of grass but legumes. The legumes are dried and then served to the rabbits. It contains a high quantity of calcium. Don’t make your adult rabbits eat this entirely, as it is more of a side dish.

The best types of grass for their rabbits are:

  • Oat Grass
  • Wheat Grass
  • Bermuda Grass
  1. Vegetables

You can feed your rabbits vegetables for something different. Here are the most common vegetables that every bunny loves:

  • Cucumber
  • Fennel
  • Okra Leaves
  • Radish Tops
  • Sprouts
  • Zucchini
  • Carrot Tops
  • Bok Choy
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Lettuces
  • Radicchio

These are vegetables that shouldn’t be served often to your rabbits:

  • Chard
  • Clover
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Collard Greens
  1. Fruits 

Fruits are juicy, and rabbits love their unique flavor. However, you are only allowed to give fruits to them once or twice a week. 

Fruits have a high sugar content that may negatively impact your rabbit’s health. Here are the fruits that you can serve sparingly to your pet friends:

  • Watermelon
  • Apple
  • Pineapple
  • Grapes
  • Orange
  • Banana
  • Plum 
  • Berries
  • Peach
  • Papaya
  • Orange
  • Nectarine
  • Melon

What Health Problems Can Improper Feeding Cause?

Rabbits eating a stalk
Rabbits eating a stalk

There’s no denying the importance of a proper diet for your rabbit. If you fail to give your bunnies an adequate diet, they can develop severe health issues. 

Let’s have a look at a few diseases caused by improper feeding:

Dental Issues

Sometimes the dental issues in your rabbits are hereditary. However, this isn’t the case every time. If rabbits aren’t given enough food, they may have calcium and fiber deficiencies. 

This can lead them to have weak or overgrown teeth. You can observe dental issues in your rabbit when they start dribbling or dropping bits of their food.

Sometimes, the rabbit stops eating, leading to other nutritional risks. Dental issues are very hard to treat, but you can manage them a little through diet regulations.


If your rabbits are obese, they won’t clean themselves. A dirty rabbit can develop skin infections and have a stinky bottom. 

This dirt can further develop flystrike in your rabbits, a fatal illness that is impossible to cure. The rabbit often feels immense pressure on its joints and suffers from fatty liver issues. 

All these conditions are caused by over or under-feeding hay to your rabbits. So, before making any dietary changes to your rabbit’s meal, consult the vet first. 

Gastrointestinal Ileus

Food that is too low in fiber can cause severe gastrointestinal issues in your bunnies. 

This is a condition in which the rabbit’s digestive system slows and eventually stops working, resulting in the death of your bunny. 

It is a common health issue in rabbits. That’s why it is always recommended to check the nutritional value of food before serving it to rabbits. 

Rabbits are one of the herbivores


Rabbits love green food, including leaves, herbs, fruits, and hay. You should be very careful and research appropriately before making any changes to your rabbit’s dietary plan. 

This will prevent health issues like flystrike and sore hocks in your rabbit. Always choose the food that best suits your rabbit and keep them comfortable.

Go with the foods mentioned earlier and enjoy a fun time with your healthy bunny!

Photo of author


Jennifer Bourassa is a passionate animal lover and the founder of The Rabbit Retreat, a website dedicated to educating rabbit owners and providing them with the necessary resources to care for their furry friends. With over a decade of experience in rabbit care, Jennifer is a knowledgeable and compassionate advocate for these beloved pets. Jennifer's love for rabbits started when she adopted her first bunny, Thumper, and quickly realized the joy and challenges that come with rabbit ownership. Since then, she has made it her mission to help other rabbit owners navigate the ins and outs of bunny care, from feeding and grooming to housing and more. With The Rabbit Retreat, Jennifer hopes to build a community of like-minded rabbit enthusiasts who can share their experiences and support one another in providing the best possible care for their furry companions.