Do rabbits really like carrots?

rabbits like carrots
Credit: iStock

When you think of a rabbit, we all picture a little ball of fluff with big, long ears that is eating a carrot.  However is this vegetable really beneficial for rabbits?  Where does this common perception come from?  Read on to find out more. 

Rabbits like carrots but only occasionally…

Rabbits couldn’t live solely on carrots.  In fact carrots are not considered part of their basic diet even if they like it when they are given one to eat from time to time.  In reality they never feed on root based vegetables in the wild.

Their diet is mainly made up of hay, grass and vegetables but in particular vegetable leaves. Therefore carrot leaves are more appropriate than the carrot itself. Carrots can be given to rabbits to eat but only as an occasional treat.

In fact if a rabbit eats too many carrots it can lead to tooth infections, obesity and even digestive problems.  However rabbits are very fragile animals and it might be better to not tempt fate by giving them food that is not suitable.

lapin mange carotte
Credits : Thomas_G/Pixabay

Why are carrots associated with rabbits? 

So why do we always associate carrots with rabbits if they are not really recommended for our long eared, furry friends?  Well, this is the fault of Bugs Bunny, the famous cartoon character created more than 70 years ago.

The fact is this big, mischievous rabbit famous for his catch phrase What’s up, doc? spends his time nibbling away on carrots. Why has he always got a carrot in his hand?  Well it is actually a reference to the cigars that 1930s actors always had twiddling between their thumb and forefinger!

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