Rabbits are mammals according to binomial nomenclature they belong to the kingdom: Animalia, the phylum: Chordata, the class mammalia, family Leporidae and the order: Lagomorpha. Rabbits are also called ‘Bunnies’ or ‘Bunny rabbits’. Their physical features are peculiar as they have two large incisors (front teeth), rabbits’ teeth never stop growing, this feature amongst others makes them distinct from their cousins rodents ( like rats). Rabbits were earlier considered to be rodents but in the course of their evolution they have been considered to have diverged from rodents because their biological structure differs from Rodents. Rabbits have two large floppy ears which are used to hear sounds, to detect and avoid predators.
Their two eyes, symmetrical defined on their face. Rabbits, often times sleep with their eyes and just like other animals respond swiftly to stimuli of danger or fear, they possess two hind limbs for hopping and two front limbs fro crawling , gripping food and performing other physical activities. There are numerous species of Rabbits, these are: Brachylagus idahoensis (Pygmy rabbit) , Pentalagus furnessi (Amami rabbit), Nesolagus netscheri (Sumatran Striped Rabbit ), Sylvilagus aquaticus (Swamp rabbit), Sylvilagus bachmani (Brush rabbit), Romerolagus diazi (Volcano rabbit), Sylvilagus floridanus (Eastern cottontail), ... etc. Over the years, Rabbits have been used in many ways such as food, clothing, arts and pets. They have long been domesticated since the Middle Ages.
CAN RABBITS EAT APPLES?
Rabbits are herbivores and they love fruits and vegetables alot, apple is not an exemption. Rabbits can eat apples conveniently but be mindful not to offer your Rabbits excess amount of apples as it can be consequential to their health. As you read further, explanation to help you understand all you need to know about: Rabbits’ nature and nutrition, the beneficial nutrients of Apples to their growth and development, how much is too much, the side effects of consuming too much apples and when can you offer apples to rabbits?
Apples are rich in fiber, flavonoids, antioxidants, Rabbits irrespective of their species can eat all kinds of apples such as: Fuji, Ambrosia, McIntosh, Gala,, ...etc. You can offer your rabbits apples by slicing it into little bits, avoid giving them with the seed or stem. The seed and stem are not healthy for your rabbit, it contains harmful toxins that can be deadly to your rabbit(s), this will be explained later,apple juice are also recommendable, you can mix it with their water or give them in its natural form. This will help them take a lot of water. Apples enrich their body with Vitamin C, and other vital minerals. Just ensure its not too much. It is not advisable to give your rabbits apple juice from the shelf of a store. Store-bought, processed and packaged apple juices contain preservatives and are too high in sugar. Do not cook, fry or steam apples on any occassion for your rabbits, it is unhealthy.
It is advisable to feed your rabbits’ apple leaves when its summer , twigs and branches during winter or harmattan season where the climate is dry. Rabbits love and can conveniently eat branches and twigs a very nutritious diet for your Rabbit especially when there is insufficient fresh foliage in the cooler seasons of the year. Their dentition is peculiar, Rabbits tooth does not stop growing twigs and branches are beneficial to rabbits’ health by controlling the rate at which their tooth grows, it trims their teeth. Health challenges such as infections arise when rabbit”s teeth grow into other body paths such as their face and jaws. Healthy nutrients from healthy diets makes your pet healthy and strong. Fruits like apples, watermelon, oranges, grapes, ... etc loose their nutrients when they are cooked. Wild rabbits love eating branches and twigs in the wild. This helps in filling their teeth. Wash the apple fruits,twigs, branches and leaves thoroughly before giving your rabbits. Do not offer your rabbits fruits or vegetables that contain pesticides. Wash properly fruits and vegetables you intend to give your rabbits. Pregnant rabbits’ should be fed and properly monitored, call or visit the Veterinary Doctor for any sign of illness. Little amount of fruits such as apples should be given to avoid high sugar level, this can result in pregnancy complications that can affect your female bunny and unborn unborn rabbits. Alot of Hays and some vegetables is recommendable to ensure your rabbit is healthy and strong to deliver naturally without complications.
Perhaps you just want to introduce apples to your rabbits, you can start with a little portion i.e about a slice cut out with a knife, observe your rabbit for sometime in case of reactions. Rabbits’ differ . They are unique so to avoid worse effects observe for signs that show that your rabbits do not look like they are in a good state of health.
WHAT CAN MY RABBIT EAT?
Your rabbits’ major diet should be grass hay such as: oat and hay. If not the entire diet, hay should be make up more than 75% of your Rabbits diet, with a good in take of water to help digestion and the proper circulation of blood, fruits should be about 5- 10% of your Rabbits’ diet, healthy vegetables should amount to 10 - 15% of your rabbits’ diet.least 80 to 90% of a rabbit’s diet. The remaining 10-15% should be allocated towards fruits and vegetables.You can feed your rabbits fruits like Watermelon, Grapes, Pineapples, Bananas, Peaches, strawberries and other berries. Their digestive tract can easily digest vegetables like SPINACH, Carrot, Hay, Cucumber , Wheat grass, Bok choy, Kale, Brussel sprouts, Broccoli, Fennels, Carrot greens,Collard greens, Redish greens, Cauliflower, Ice Berg lettuce, ...etc. Apples should make up less than 10% of their diet, a small amount of about 5%, it should be given once in a while, two or three slices without the seed or stem once in a week. straw and hay give your pets- rabbits their protein and fibres. Feed your rabbits hay, fresh greens and vegetables daily. You can also mix hay, pellets, vegetables, and fruit maintains in the right proportion. This offers them the necessary vitamins, minerals, and fiber for healthy growth, boost their immune system and wade-off harmful infections and diseases.Wash properly fruits and vegetables you intend to give your rabbits. Totally avoid stale, rotten, smelling, fruits or vegetables. Organic fruits is better and healthier, dispose fruits and vegetables that have been infected by pests and other parasites.
SIDE EFFECTS OF FEEDING YOUR RABBIT(S) APPLES
Rabbits should not eat apples because it is contains high level of plant sugar which can cause Obesity, dental issues and digestive problems, apple is acidic, the acid content makes it detrimental to your pet’s health if it is taken in excess . Fruits in general if taken in excess can cause stooling, vomiting, dental problems: too much apples cause dental problems because of its acidic content. In worse cases, excess consumption of apples can cause Kidney problems; apples are very rich in Vitamin C. Rabbits produce Vitamin C in their bodies, therefore be very mindful giving them fruits. Apples and other fruits contain Vitamin C and excess of Vitamin C can be detrimental to your rabbits’ kidney. It is not advisable to give fruits to you baby rabbits as their digestive system is has not developed to breakdown, the Sugar and fiber content of Apples and other fruits, intake of apples at that tender stage can cause diarrhea and other health challenges. Wait for some time i.e when they are grown and at this stage feed only a very little amount of Apples is recommendable.
WHAT ARE THE UNHEALTHY PARTS OF APPLES MY RABBITS SHOULD NOT EAT?
Never feed your rabbits the stems and seeds of apples. It contains cyanogenic glycosides a poisonous compound. It is advisable you use a knife to remove the seeds and cut apples into small pieces that can be easily munched by your pet.. Remove all stems by cutting it off with a knife. Cyanide is very toxic to rabbits’ health, in fortunate cases, the hard coating of the seed protects it from harming the rabbit. The seed passes the digestive tract without any cause for alarm. Unfortunately, there are some cases your rabbit might munch the seed and cause the cyanide to release toxic compounds into your rabbits immune system causing Convulsions, Respiratory congestion, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach upset and in worse cases death. If you are fortunate on the other hand small amount of cyanide can be detoxified. This is to much of a risk so it is advisable to avoid feeding your rabbits the stems and seeds of apples.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF APPLES TO YOUR RABBITS’ HEALTH?
Apples are very nutritious and healthy. It is contains fiber and antioxidants. A piece or slice of apple with its skin on is highly nutritious. It contains antioxidants that are great for healthy gut and your rabbits’ entire body development. Some essential nutrients found in apples include:
Calcium: Your rabbit Apple contains calcium that helps your rabbit develop strong bones and teeth.
Fibres: It prevents heart diseases, healthy guts and prevents abnormal stools.
Vitamins: such as Vitamin B-6, Thiamin and riboflavin these are B-complex vitamins, vitamin B-6 prevents poor growth, scaly skin, convulsions , paralysis problems and death in worse cases. B- complex vitamins promotes healthy red blood cells and nervous system. Other nutrients are: Phytonutrients: Chemical compounds that boost the immune system and fight free radical damage and infections and Potassium.
Apples are healthy fruits but rabbit owners need to be mindful the amount they feed to their pets. Excess of apples earlier explained can cause alot of damages to your rabbits’ health and body development.