Can Rabbits Have Mango (and Other Fresh Fruit and Veggie Questions)

brown and white rabbit - can rabbits have mango

Some bunnies seem to want every treat in the house, every veggie you’re preparing and every fruit that gets within smelling range. So it’s important for their humans to learn what rabbits can safely eat because while they’re great at telling us what they want to eat, they are not good at knowing what they should eat. And even if they knew what they should eat, they wouldn’t care.

This post will explain what fresh fruits and veggies are good for bunnies and what fruits and veggies they should stay away from. Note that this information applies only to rabbits 12 weeks of age and older. Baby bunnies have very sensitive digestive systems and fruits and veggies are not good for them until they reach 12 weeks old. Avoid feeding fruits and vegetables until that time.

Let’s start with a common food question.

Can Rabbits Eat Mango?

Yes, they can eat mango—as a treat, it’s very good for them. Mangoes are high in vitamin C and also provide Vitamin A, B6, E and K. Mangoes are also high in minerals such as folate, copper, potassium, niacin and calcium. In addition, mangoes are a source of fibre, which is good for your rabbit’s digestive system.

That said, mango should be a special snack only. Mangoes are high in sugar and acid. If rabbits eat too much of it, they could get stomach problems and diarrhea, so only give mango in small amounts every few days to be safe. Pet owners should avoid giving rabbits dried mango or mango juice—both are too high in sugar to be good for your bunny.

What Parts of a Mango Can Rabbits Eat?

Some rabbits enjoy mango skins, which makes mangoes an easy snack because you don’t even have to peel them. If your rabbit doesn’t like the taste of them, they’ll just leave the skin and eat the fruit. The skins are safe and contain even more fibre than the fruit. Just wash the mango thoroughly with soap and water before you feed it to wash off any residual pesticides. 

The pit isn’t good for rabbits to eat, so don’t let your bunny chew on it. Although the stem is ok, they’re not likely to eat it. Mango leaves are considered safe, although you probably won’t find them on supermarket mangoes. 

What Fruits Can Rabbits Have?

Rabbits can eat lots of different fruits besides mangoes, including apples, apricots, bananas, berries and cherries, clementines, currents, grapes, kiwi, melons (including watermelon), nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums and star fruit.

Because fruit has such a high sugar content, give it as a treat a couple of times a week. Feed 1-2 tablespoons once or twice per week, depending on the weight of your rabbit. You can feed one fruit at a time, or make a little mixed fruit salad to liven up the routine. 

When introducing a new fruit, go slowly. Start with a teaspoon of the new fruit, wait 24 hours to see how your rabbit’s body will react to it, and if no health issues crop up, increase the amount from there. Don’t introduce a bunch of new fruits (or any foods!) in a row. Always give your rabbit’s digestive system at least a few days to adjust before you add anything new.

What Parts of a Fruit Can Rabbits Eat?

Fruits and skins are both good for rabbits, with the exception of skins that humans can’t eat, like pineapple skins. Avoid giving your rabbit pits, seeds and stems. Don’t give your rabbits fruit juice, either—it’s too high in sugar.

What Fruits Aren’t Good for Rabbits?

Avoid rhubarb. It’s very high in oxalic acid, which is a compound that’s toxic to rabbits. It can prevent the body from absorbing minerals like calcium, as well as increase their risk of kidney stones and kidney disease over time.

Why Should I Limit Fruit in My Rabbit’s Diet?

Fruits are high in sugar, which isn’t good for bunnies in large quantities. The House Rabbit Society (HRS) explains that rabbits easily digest fructose, so they’re likely to gain too much weight if they eat a lot of it. Obese rabbits are more prone to cardiovascular disease and arthritis.

HRS states that “sugars and starches that the small intestine can’t digest will wind up in the cecum. If they arrive in large quantities in the cecum, they encourage the overgrowth of toxin-producing bacteria with consequent illness to the rabbit.” While some vets dispute this idea, it’s generally agreed that high amounts of sugar do not make for a nutritionally balanced diet. 

What Vegetables Should Rabbits Eat?

rabbit eating lettuce - can rabbits have mango

Leafy greens should be a staple of your rabbit’s diet and are the second most important source of nutrition for your rabbit, after hay. Leafy greens your rabbit should eat every day include: arugula, Boston lettuce, butter lettuce, chicory, dandelion greens, kale, red lettuce, spring greens and watercress.

Some leafy greens are higher in oxalic acid, so vets often recommend that these greens be fed sparingly or rotated in and out of the rabbit’s diet. These include beet greens, mustard greens, radish tops, spinach and Swiss chard.

Rabbits should eat a variety of raw, fresh non-leafy veggies every day, too. These can include bell or sweet peppers, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, cucumber, endive, fennel, rapini, sprouts, tomatoes, watercress, wheatgrass and zucchini. Mix up what you give your rabbit to ensure they’re getting a range of nutrients.

Fresh (not dried) herbs like basil, borage, cilantro, dill, mint and parsley are also very healthy and rabbits go wild for them.

You can feed pumpkin and squash, as well, but they’re higher in sugar and therefore better as an occasional treat. Only feed your rabbit squashes that humans can eat—don’t feed them gourds.

Go easy with vegetables in the brassica family (that means broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, rapini and turnips) if your rabbit seems sensitive to them. These veggies have a high sulfur content that can give rabbits gas (like they do in humans).

Feed your bunny 1 cup of fresh veggies per 2 pounds of body weight every day, with at least ¾ of that amount coming from leafy greens. As with fruit, introduce any new vegetable slowly so as not to upset your bunny’s digestive system.

What Parts of a Vegetable Can Rabbits Eat?

A good rule of thumb is to give your bunnies the parts of the veggie that you would eat. The exception here is the tops of carrots and radishes—they’re very good for rabbits. 

Depending on the vegetable, the stalks might be too hard for them to digest. Cabbage, for instance, has a tough stalk, so give your rabbit the leaves instead. Roots, stems and seeds generally shouldn’t be fed.

What Veggies Should Rabbits Not Eat?

Rabbits should stay away from avocados, beans, chives, corn, garlic, iceberg lettuce, leeks, legumes, mushrooms, mustard greens, onions, peas, potatoes and yams. Here’s why.

Avocados, garlic, chives, leeks and onions all contain compounds that are highly toxic to rabbits. Beans, peas and legumes are high in carbohydrates, in addition to containing levels of phosphorus and calcium that are too high for a rabbit’s GI system. 

Mushrooms and iceberg lettuce can contain toxins that can harm a rabbit if a rabbit eats enough of them. And finally, potatoes and yams are too high in calories and starch. In addition, potatoes contain a compound called solanine that can be toxic if enough is ingested.

Conclusion—What Should Rabbits Eat?

Most of your rabbit’s diet should consist of good quality grass or timothy hay. If you feed unlimited hay and fresh water, plenty of leafy greens, some non-leafy vegetables and a little fruit for a snack, you’re giving your bunny a diet they can thrive on. 

Feature image: Sandy Millar; Image 1: Nancy Mure

Written by: Anne Elliot