What Foods Do Wild Rabbits Eat?


Quick Answer

Wild rabbits mostly eat grass, hay, wildflowers, clovers, weeds and garden and farm crops during summer and spring. They settle for twigs, barks, buds, conifer needles and greens in fall and winter. Rabbits, both the wild and domestic ones, re-ingest their own droppings to absorb nutrients from undigested food.

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Full Answer

Wild rabbits maintain a plant-based diet. While it seems like they eat almost any type of vegetable and flowers that are available in the wild, wild rabbits are picky when it comes to food. Rabbits prefer fresh foliage than stems or dry plants. Most wild rabbits are known for climbing tree trunks in order to access fresh leaves or dew-laden vegetation.

Rabbits are known to practice coprophagy or the re-ingestion of feces. They do not actually ingest their fecal pellets, however, but ingest cecotropes, a type of droppings produced by the rabbit's cecum. This part of their digestive system is located in the junction of the large and small intestines and provides essential nutrients that protect the rabbits from harmful pathogens. These essential nutrients are then passed through the cecotropes that the rabbits ingest at a much leisurely pace. Without these nutrients, wild and domestic rabbits may succumb to malnutrition. This practice also allows wild rabbits to survive the inadequacy of food in winter.

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