London - It’s news that Bugs Bunny would find hard to swallow – carrots are bad for rabbits.
The RSPCA says well-meaning owners are making their pets fat by feeding them too many.
Although the famous cartoon rabbit is rarely pictured without one, the charity warned that carrots should not be a staple food for his real-life counterparts. As they are high in sugar, they should only be given as an “occasional treat”.
Research carried out by Bristol University for the charity found high levels of overgrown and misaligned teeth and digestive problems in pet rabbits.
And it seems lettuce, despite its nickname, is not “rabbit food” either. The charity added that salad can ferment in a rabbit’s stomach, causing gas and digestive problems. “People think their rabbits should eat carrots because that’s what Bugs Bunny does,” RSPCA scientist Rachel Roxburgh said. “But he’s a cartoon – real rabbits don’t talk, and they shouldn’t be eating carrots too often either.”
A spokesman for the charity added: “A rabbit in the wild eats grass and hay. It doesn’t pop into the supermarket to buy a bag of carrots.”
The RSPCA has launched a campaign, Hay Fever, to emphasise the importance of hay and grass in a rabbit’s diet. It advises that the animals are given daily bundles about the size of the rabbit itself.
Regular handfuls of washed dark greens such as cabbage and broccoli are also acceptable, it says.
Only eight percent of rabbit owners questioned for the charity knew the best food for their pets, researchers found. Previous work revealed that three in five owners were unaware that rabbits are intelligent and need mental stimulation, while almost half did not know they required lots of space in which to exercise. - Daily Mail