Are rabbits herbivores? 0 369

What do rabbits eat?
Are rabbits herbivores?
Are rabbits herbivores? Read on to find out…

If you have a rabbit as a pet then it’s good to want to know as much about it as you can. The more you know about your bunny, the better you can take care of it. Knowledgeable and good care is important.

The average life span of a rabbit is between five and eight years and looking after your pet well can help it to reach the age it should.

One of the questions you may ask yourself, when your rabbit first comes to live with you is “are rabbits herbivores?”.

We’re going to take a look at that question, and a rabbit’s diet, in more detail. Let’s start by considering what a herbivore is…

What is a herbivore?

A herbivore is an animal that is physically adapted to eat only plant material. They do not have the physical ability to eat and digest meat, as they do not need it. Often, herbivores have adaptations to their digestive system to enable them to digest plant products more easily.

Are rabbits herbivores?

The short answer to that question is yes; rabbits are herbivores and are physically adapted to exist on a diet of plant material.

If you have a rabbit as a pet then 80% of its diet should consist of hay. You should also include fresh vegetables in your rabbit’s diet, although these should be included in small amounts.

It’s not a good idea to include the highly coloured rabbit food you can buy from pet shops; just stick to rabbit pellets. As a rule of thumb you should not give your pet more than around half a cup per 2lbs of rabbit per day. If you stick to a diet like this for your rabbit then its digestive system should stay fairly healthy, although you should be aware that rabbits can easily succumb to problems with their gastro intestinal (GI) tract.

As well as feeding your rabbit correctly, you should also make sure to groom them regularly, as any loose fur that they swallow can increase the risk of GI tract problems.

How does your rabbit’s digestion work?

It helps to know how your rabbit’s digestion works, so you can see how important the right diet is.

As we mentioned earlier, some herbivores have adaptations to their digestive systems. This applies to rabbits. Your bunny has a stomach that’s pretty large for its size. This means it can eat lots of plant material really quickly.

In the wild, rabbits are crepuscular (this is one of our top rabbit facts!) which means they are active early in the morning and in the evening. This is when they do most of their eating as it helps them to avoid predators. This is why it’s important that rabbits can eat a lot in a short space of time.

As well as a large stomach, a small intestine and a large intestine, rabbits have a part of their digestive system called a cecum. The cecum is in the rabbit’s body where the large and small intestines join together. It is full of healthy bacteria and other organisms that help with digestion. A rabbit’s digestive system is very clever as it knows which bits of food need to be sent to the cecum for more digestion. Any food that is digested in the small intestine goes directly to the large intestine. It’s this food that leaves your pet’s body as droppings.

Any fibre that your bunny eats which needs more digestion goes to the cecum, where it is broken down. Moist pellets called cecotropes that are the result of this action. They are passed through the bunny’s system and the bunny eats them straight away in order to re-digest them. Every part of this process is important, to keep your pet’s GI tract working as it should. That’s why it’s important that a rabbit’s diet includes all the right types of fibre.

To summarise: rabbits are herbivores and they have a digestive system which is developed to help them make the most of a vegetarian diet.

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3 surprising behaviours of pet rats 0 813

Pet rat behaviour

Rats have been given a bad name by decades of bad press. Far from the dirty, disease-filled pests that are portrayed on our screens, these sociable, clean animals have a few surprising perks to owning them.

These sociable, friendly pets are highly trainable animals who show affection for their owners and have many cute little quirks that make them great companions. They also have a very strange way of showing they’re happy!

With that in mind, here are three surprising behaviours of pet rats.

1. They are incredibly playful animals

This one will be no surprise to those who will have seen the boxing, chasing and excited jumps with their own eyes, but many are unaware that rats spend lots of time playing with each other and their owners. One scientific study actually showed that rats giggle when they are tickled. It’s highly recommended that you fill your pet rat’s cage with lots of enrichment toys and interact with them daily. Many owners report that their pet rats love being chased or to wrestle their hands!

2. They are incredibly social animals and love to show affection

Rats are incredibly social creatures. While of course every animal has its own personality and there are exceptions to the rule, they need to live with at least one other rat and most enjoy lots of daily interaction with their owners. It is not a rare sight to see pet rats snuggled up in the laps, pockets and sleeves of their humans. They will also nibble and lick them, as they would other rats, in a show of affection.

3. They boggle their eyes when they are happy

Surprising when first witnessed, one of the most peculiar aspects of rats is the way they display their contentment. While cats purr and dogs wag their tails, when a rat is very happy or relaxed they will brux and boggle – which is a sort of teeth grinding and very fast bulging of the eyes.

Rats are brilliant pets for all ages and there are many positives that come from owning these friendly, misunderstood animals.

What can degus eat? 0 1304

What can degus eat

When they’re living in the wild, degus focus on dietary fibre. It makes up about 60% of their diet, with the other 40% consisting of natural vegetation. But when they’re kept as pets, you’ll need to keep a close eye on what you feed your degu.

Good quality hay

For the most part, your degu’s diet should consist of good quality hay. There are lots of brands that will suffice, but two of particularly good quality are Timothy Hay and Meadow Hay. Keep an eye on the colour: if it’s pink or white, you should throw this hay away as it’s growing mould. If it’s green, it can cause bloating. Occasionally, you can mix some Alfalfa hay in with your regular hay. It’s high in protein, so great in small doses.

You can top up your degu’s bowl with a little bit of guinea pig or degu-specific food, but don’t go overboard. It’s important that your degu doesn’t start ignoring the hay because it’s got a range of health benefits, including the maintenance of a healthy gut and strong teeth. Around 10g of degu food a day should do the trick.

Human food in moderation

The good news is you can feed your degu some of your human food! Give them to your degu in moderation though, as they can cause gas and bloating. On rotation, you can feed them the following foods around once or twice a week:

• Asparagus
• Carrot tops
• Dandelion leaves
• Broccoli
• Cauliflower
• Fresh herbs
• Brussels sprouts
• Celery
• Cabbage
• Courgette
• Green beans
• Beetroot
• Dried herbs
• Pumpkin
• Butternut squash
• Marigold flowers
• Radish

Some sugary foods can be an occasional treat for your degu. In excess, they carry the risk of diabetes, so we’d only recommend doing this once a month.

• Apple
• Cherry tomatoes
• Peas
• Sweet potato
• Carrots
• Cucumber
• Sweetcorn or corn on the cob

When it’s treat time for your degu, give them a tiny amount (one or two) of:

• Sunflower seeds
• Peanuts
• Pumpkin seeds
• Whole nuts

As a general rule, the main thing to avoid giving your degu is fruit not listed here, rabbit food, hamster food or anything with molasses.

Just like us, degus love food – whether it’s good or bad for them. Bookmark this page to make sure you give your degu a balanced diet, and happy feeding!

Learn more about caring for your degu and other pet care advice here: http://www.nichepets.com/category/mammals/degus/