Welcome to our complete guide to rabbits and cucumber. Looking at whether bunnies like the taste of cucumber slices, and answering that important question – Can Rabbits Eat Cucumber Safely?
Rabbits are often associated with lettuce and other leafy vegetables.
“Bugs Bunny” always has a carrot hanging from his mouth. And the phrase “eating like a rabbit” has been used many a time to describe someone who is eating a salad of fresh vegetables.
Have you ever munched on a cucumber and found yourself wondering, “Can I feed my rabbit cucumber, too?” or “Rabbits and cucumbers – friends or foes?”
If your answer is yes, then you’re not alone!
Bunnies can indeed have cucumbers, but only the organic cucumber that’s grown in your garden or that you purchased from a store or market.
Read on to find out how to safely feed cucumber to pet rabbits.
Can bunnies eat cucumbers?
Yes, bunnies can eat cucumbers.
Fresh vegetables that are safe for rabbits should be a part of their balanced diet.
A pet bunny should have at least three different kinds of vegetables on their menu each day. A cucumber would make a fine addition to the rotation.
Can you feed rabbits cucumber safely?
Cucumber is indeed safe for rabbits.
Rabbits’ cucumber, however, must be commercially grown cucumber (the kind that you grow in your garden) and only eaten when it’s free from pesticides and fertilizers.
Some of the chemical sprays used to grow cucumbers may be toxic to rabbits, so it’s best to feed them organic cucumber.
Be sure to rinse the cucumber under cold water before feeding it to your rabbit, as well.
Additionally, you should not offer your rabbit any wild cucumber that you might find on your property. Wild cucumbers are toxic to rabbits.
Is cucumber bad for rabbits?
As we mentioned previously, cucumber that has been sprayed with chemicals to promote growth or to kill pests could be toxic to rabbits.
However, organic cucumber is only bad for rabbits if it’s fed in excessive quantities. Or if it’s introduced to their diet too quickly.
Feeding your rabbit lots of water-rich vegetables (like cucumbers) or failing to slowly introduce them to such vegetables can cause your bunny to have soft cecotropes.
Cecotropes are a nutrient-rich matter consisting of partially digested food particles that bunnies produce in an area of their digestive tract called the cecum.
Bunnies defecate cecotropes, then ingest them in order to get the remaining nutrients from their food that they didn’t get from simply eating their food.
Cecotropes are an essential part of your bunny’s diet due to their vitamin B nutrient content of which rabbits cannot produce on their own.
Therefore, being unable to ingest loose cecotropes can spell trouble for your bunny.
When you first give your bunny cucumber, just give them a thin slice once every couple of days. You can gradually increase the quantity over a period of weeks, but never give them more than a few small slices in one sitting.
Is cucumber good for rabbits?
Like many fresh vegetables, such as lettuce and celery, cucumber fruit is primarily made up of water. In fact, a cucumber is approximately 95% water!
It’s important for rabbits to stay hydrated, so chopped cucumber can give your bunny the boost they need, especially on a hot summer day.
Cucumber is also naturally fat-free and low-calorie, making it a great option for your bunny’s healthy diet. Half a cup of sliced cucumber boasts just 10 calories.
Since pet rabbits are generally prone to obesity, feeding fresh vegetables and leafy greens as the bulk of your bunny’s diet is recommended.
Even though cucumber is healthy, make sure you don’t give your bunny too much.
As we mentioned earlier, loose cecotropes caused by too much water will be hard for your bunny to ingest. Additionally, too much fiber (more than 20% crude fiber) in a rabbit’s diet may cause diarrhea or constipation.
So, it’s important to find a happy medium when feeding your bunny fresh vegerables.
According to Susan Brown, DVM, feeding about one tablespoon of non-leafy vegetables, such as cucumber, per two pounds of your bunny’s body weight each day is safe.
Do rabbits like cucumber?
So we know the answer to can rabbits eat cucumber is yes. But do they want to?
Cucumber, rabbits…they go hand in hand, right?
Although rabbits will eat cucumber fruits, if they had to choose between the fruit and the leafy part of the plant, they might favor the latter of the two.
More on that later!
Do wild rabbits eat cucumber?
Rabbits eat cucumber (and most other vegetables) in the wild if they have a chance to nibble on the kind that’s growing in your garden!
They will naturally avoid toxic wild cucumber.
Do rabbits eat cucumbers’ leaves and blossoms?
So if cucumber is safe, can rabbits eat cucumber leaves and blossoms? Yes, rabbits can and will eat cucumber leaves or blossoms.
In fact, in most cases, bunnies are more inclined to go for the nutrient-dense foliage and shoots of vegetables, as opposed to the actual fruits.
Furthermore, leafy greens should make up roughly 75% of your bunny’s allotted fresh food for the day.
Cucumber leaves (and a variety of other greens) could count toward this goal.
Can you give rabbits cucumber peels?
Can rabbits eat cucumber peels safely too? Yes, rabbits can eat cucumber peels (skin).
The peels are actually best left on the cucumber pieces that you give to your bunny, as they can provide a nutritional boost!
As luck would have it, cucumber skin contains high amounts of fiber, which is important for maintaining your rabbit’s digestive system.
According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, rabbits require at least 15% crude fiber in their diet.
Summary: Can rabbits have cucumber?
Yes, cucumber is safe for rabbits and is a tasty treat that many will happily munch on (wild bunnies included).
You should ensure that the cucumber (and any fresh vegetable that you feed your pet bunny, for that matter) has not been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals, as these may be toxic to your bunny.
Be sure to wash veggies, even organic ones that you perhaps grew in your own garden, with cold water before letting your bunny nibble on them.
Although cucumber fruits and foliage are healthy and may be fed to your bunny, they have a high water and fiber content, which can cause a rabbit to produce loose cecotropes.
Bunnies must ingest cecotropes in order to extract nutrients that they do not produce themselves. Especially vitamin B.
Loose cecotropes are very hard for the bunny to eat, so it’s best to feed them the appropriate balance of moisture-rich foods and dryer foods.
Does your bunny love cucumber?
Why not let us know your rabbit’s favorite food in the comments section below!
- Brown, S. “Suggested Vegetables and Fruits for a Rabbit’s Diet”.
- McClure, D. “Providing a Home for a Rabbit”. Merck Veterinary Manual.
- The Humane Society of the United States. “Rabbit Vegetables”.
- Department of Agriculture.