Most rabbits LOVE their vegetable snacks. However, there are some foods that are safe for humans, but can be harmful to your pet bunny. One common food, mushrooms, is often in question: Can rabbits eat mushrooms safely? The answer may surprise you!
Dr. Jess explains the answer below:
Check out whether rabbits can eat tomatoes here!
What Are Rabbits?
Rabbits and bunnies are small mammals that hop around from place to place.
They are commonly seen as pets with their sweet eyes, floppy ears, furry faces, and cute whiskers.
Rabbits come in many colors, shapes, and sizes, most commonly seen in shades of white, brown, black, and patches or combinations of those colors.
They can be seen with a large ear for their body size and even have long-eared varieties with even larger drooping ears.
Rabbits have long incisors (front teeth) that are constantly growing and needing to be filed either naturally or by the help of some intervention, both discussed further into this article.
What Do Rabbits Need From a Healthy Diet?
A well-balanced rabbit diet will need to deliver a multitude of things to the bunny ingesting it.
Just like humans, rabbits need the right combination of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and water to keep their organs working and functioning properly.
However, the daily nutritional requirements for a rabbit differ quite greatly from that of a human, and that is reflected in the common diet that most healthy and happy pet rabbits eat.
What Does a Typical Rabbit Diet Consist of?
An adult rabbit’s main source of food in their diet should come mostly from high-quality hay.
Hay is a forage that is low in calories and high in fiber, easy on the rabbit’s digestive system.
Other pieces of the rabbit’s diet may include commercial pellets and/or treats and snacks such as fruits and vegetables.
However, not all fruits and vegetables are safe for your bunny to have.
Well, What Exactly Is A Mushroom?
Mushrooms, also known as toadstools, are a part of the fungi kingdom/family???. Yup, they are a fungus and most thrive in moist, wet conditions.
Mushrooms are made up of a typically umbrella-shaped fleshy body called the “cap” that bears spores for reproduction, sometimes attached to a stalk which attaches to the soil.
Not all mushrooms are shaped like toadstools, and not mushrooms have gills on the underside of their bodies.
They come in all different sizes, colors, shapes, and tastes.
Some mushrooms are edible mushrooms that are safe to eat and many find them delicious.
Others, not so much. There are mushrooms that are poisonous to eat.
Types of Mushrooms
12 of most common types of edible mushrooms found in kitchens and on dinner tables include:
- White Button Mushrooms
- Crimini Mushrooms
- Portobello Mushrooms
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Black Trumpet Mushrooms
- Morel Mushrooms
- Oyster Mushrooms
- Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms
- Chanterelle Mushrooms
- Porcini Mushrooms
- matsutake Mushroom (AKA “pine” mushroom)
- Reishi Mushrooms
There are cultivated and wild mushrooms. Cultivated mushrooms are grown commercially, the source of many store-bought mushrooms.
Mushrooms contain a low amount of calories and fat so it a better snack for certain types of pets if it is safe for them to eat and the pet is overweight or has diabetes.
Mushrooms also have a high water content to keep whoever is eating them hydrated.
Mushrooms have a high amount of vitamin B, C, E, K, etc. in them – vitamins that help with the protection of important body systems that keep the body running and functioning appropriately.
Mushrooms also have a fiber content that can help the digestive system running smoothly and can also help with keep blood sugar level stable if you have a diabetic animal that can eat mushrooms.
Even though mushrooms have all of this great nutrition in them, can we, or should we feed our rabbits mushrooms?
The answer to that question may surprise you!
Can Mushrooms Be Dangerous To Eat?
Some mushrooms, around 20% of all types of mushrooms are poisonous to those who consume them.
Ingesting in the wrong type of mushroom can cause neurological issues, kidney failure, digestive problems, hemorrhaging (bleeding) and even death in certain animals. Are rabbits one of those animals?
Besides being poisonous, mushrooms can be dangerous to animals if they contain parasites or certain microbes, making the animal sick after ingestion (eating).
So yes, consuming mushrooms has its risks.
Are Mushrooms Healthy For Rabbits to Eat?
A mushroom is packed with a multitude of nutrients which can be great for the health of SOME animals, but not all. Mushrooms should NOT be fed to your rabbit.
Even if the mushroom in question is a store-bought edible mushroom, do not feed it to your pet bunny.
Most mushrooms that are poisonous to humans are also poisonous to rabbits.
Then there are some mushrooms that are non-toxic to humans that are poisonous to rabbits.
And then there are mushrooms still, that are non-poisonous to humans and rabbits, but can still produce negative health effects to your rabbit if ingested.
Therefore, it is best to not feed your rabbit mushrooms of any kind and steer away from all mushrooms.
Do Rabbits Eat Mushrooms?
Most rabbits will not eat a mushroom when offered. But please do not try and offer your rabbit a mushroom!
In a veggie garden, most rabbits will chose vegetables like peas, beans, beets, and carrots.
You will find another veggie alternative as a source of fresh food that your bunny can enjoy eating.
Can Rabbits Eat Mushrooms Safely?
There are some foods that us humans can eat that are actually toxic to your rabbit and need to be avoided all together.
Mushrooms are toxic to rabbits. You shouldn’t give them mushrooms because problems may arise as I will discuss further down in this article.
Let me repeat… pet owners should not feed mushrooms to their rabbits.
Rabbits prefer munching on grass, commercial feed pellets, and hay, along with a bowl of clean, fresh water.
You see, rabbits are herbivores and need a diet which is high-in fiber and low in sugar and fat.
They get their fiber supplied in the form of plants, such as hay which is a roughage that contains a lot of fiber.
This fiber is beneficial for two reasons:
- Dietary fiber keeps the rabbit’s digestive system running smoothly (it’s the same reason why some people take a fiber supplement like Metamucil!).
- The physical roughage (hay) helps keep the rabbit’s teeth healthy and worn down as their teeth are continually growing and need to be filed in order to prevent overgrowth.
So, long story short- Yes!
Adult rabbits can NOT have mushrooms.
Can Baby Bunnies Eat Mushrooms?
Compared to their adult counterparts, baby rabbits have much more sensitive gastrointestinal systems.
Avoid feeding baby bunnies any kinds of fruits and vegetables until they reach 12 weeks of age to allow their stomachs to mature with them.
Then, when ready to introduce them to juicy vegetables, take it very slowly, waiting at least 24 hours to observe any potential adverse side effects, before moving on and trying more of the same veggie snack or a different tasty treat.
Remember – baby and young, and juvenile rabbits have more sensitive digestive systems!
Wait 24 hours to see their reaction.
If everything is fine, you can move to the next treat.
Are Other Parts Of The Mushroom Plant Safe To Eat?
Stalk: No. Do not give your rabbit mushroom stalk pieces.
Mushroom Cap: No, do not feed your rabbit the mushroom cap or top.
Can Rabbits Eat Cooked Mushrooms?
Do not give your rabbit any cooked mushroom.
Any cooked or processed mushroom is not recommended since your rabbit is an herbivore and they rely on raw foods to get their nutrients.
Everything a rabbit needs can be provided in fresh and raw form. Your rabbit’s stomach is just not made to handle cooked food.
How To Feed Mushrooms To Your Rabbit:
You don’t! First off, you should not feed your rabbit any mushrooms.
Instead, feed them what you already have been!
The foods that your bunny eats should be presented in a shallow clean dish that is not easily tipped over.
Fresh water should always be available in a shallow dish that can’t be easily tipped over. This water dish should be washed and cleaned daily.
Any food left in your rabbit’s enclosure that is not eaten up will start to get old and become unsafe for your bunny to eat, if they will even touch it at all.
This could lead to some major health issues, as well as a smelly enclosure and a bug problem – things you definitely do not want to deal with.
So, it is very important to clean out any foods that your rabbit leaves behind in a timely manner.
Common Signs of Adverse Reaction:
- diarrhea/loose stool
- excessive or increased itching/scratching/licking of skin or paws
Rabbits can not have mushrooms of any kind.
Mushrooms can cause a multitude of health problems for your bunny.
Do not feed immature rabbits or rabbits with underlying health conditions mushrooms either.
If your pet rabbit accidentally ingests mushrooms, contact your local veterinarian immediately and try to remember to take a picture of the mushroom for your veterinarian so that they know exactly what was ingested.
- Oglesbee B. The 5 Minute Veterinary Consults Ferret and Rabbit, Blackwell 2006
- Rabbit Care
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional veterinary help.