This is a question that more than 3134 of our readers have been asking us! Luckily, we have found the most appropriate information for you!

This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 587,409 times.

What do wild rabbits like to eat the most?

Various types of dry and fresh grasses and plants with leaves comprise the largest portion of the wild rabbit diet. Rabbits will also eat bark on trees, tender twigs and sprouts, fruits, seeds and other nutritious foods in much small amounts.

Is it okay to feed wild rabbits?

While some people see wild rabbits as pests that they need to keep out of their garden, many of us actually love seeing rabbits in the yard and worry about their well being. … Still, it’s usually best not to feed wild rabbit’s directly, because it will make them wholly dependent on humans for food.

How do you befriend a wild rabbit?

Leave a trail of food.. When you are trying to get the rabbit to trust you, leave a trail of tasty food the rabbit will like to lead it towards you. This includes leafy green like arugula, dandelion leaves, and carrot slices. This will help it trust you and go towards taming it.

What do wild rabbits eat? And is it possible to replicate this diet for our pets? In this article we will take a look at the average diet of a wild rabbit, and how you can use this to make sure your bunny has the best possible food and feeding schedule.

Wild rabbit diets vary depending on where they live and the time of year. Their main staple is fibrous green plants, which are great for their digestive system and teeth. Most pet owners feed their rabbits plenty of hay, greens, and fresh veggies. Wild rabbits eat plenty of grass, which acts as roughage and is good for their digestive systems. Wild rabbits will eat the part of the plant with the highest nitrogen content first. If a leaf is particularly tough and is going to take longer than a second to tear, your average wild rabbit is going to find a different food source. In areas that don’t see much snowfall, rabbits will mostly stick to dried, dead plants and whatever green stuff they can find. Rabbits in these areas will stick to grazing on the few green plants they can find – even if they aren’t their favorite. As is necessary for survival, wild rabbits do not usually eat foods based on their taste buds. Simply put, wild rabbit food requires a lot of water to digest. Basically, the choice to eat plants with a high water content simply makes sense for wild rabbits. A domestic rabbit has ready access to water, and does not need to rely so heavily on its food to provide it. These are the safest times for the wild rabbits to escape from their burrow or thick undergrowth and graze. When the sun begins to rise or set, wild rabbits will graze vigorously. In the winter, a rabbit might have to spend more time grazing due to the lack of food and need to find water. During these periods of intense feeding, rabbits will excrete hard fecal pellets. Domestic rabbits will start to forage and eat solid foods in a matter of weeks. However, if you find that you are caring for a wild rabbit as a result of an accident or other traumatic event, there are some things you should remember about feeding them. In the winter, they can survive off of tree bark and twigs if the snow cover prevents them from reaching the dried grasses on the ground. ‘ Reduction of Food Intake and Other Physiological Responses to a Restriction of Drinking Water in Captive Wild Rabbits, Oryctolagus Cuniculus (L.) ’ Australian Wildlife Research (1982) Centre Technique Du Genie Rural Des Eaux et des Forets, ‘ Observations sur les préférences alimentaires du lapin de garenne et les dégâts causés aux plantations forestières ’, ENGREF (1976) Blas, C. and Wiseman, J.

As I mentioned back in an earlier post about feeding wild rabbits in 2011, I have wild rabbits in my backyard. They show their wonderful faces mostly during the spring and summer. This year has been a little different because I have seen at least one of them every now and then when I take my dog Maggie out before bed. Only about once or twice a week but still more than I’ve seen them other years. This got me thinking about feeding them again.

Most of us have a great attraction to wild rabbits. When you see a wild rabbit in your yard, you probably want to feed the bunny. Yes, it is necessary to provide food to the wild bunny because they don’t get available food like the pet rabbit, especially in the winter.

You should handle a wild rabbit carefully because she may be a vector of disease or a sick one. However, here, I have covered all the answers related to wild adults and baby rabbit’s diet and lifestyle, especially in winter. But in general, you should not feed the wild rabbits directly because they will depend on humans completely. Hay, Pellet, water, vegetables, and fruits are the basic diet for the house rabbit. In the warmer months, rabbits generally eat fresh grass, weeds, clover, crops from fields, wild vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Wild rabbits mainly rely on buds, bark, twigs, and greens left in nature during harsh winters. The rabbit eats, just like the deer, and regularly wanders around the nearest vegetable garden. You should have explicit knowledge of the food habit of the wild rabbit before feeding it. When they don’t get their favorite foods like fresh grasses, hays or clovers, leaves, vegetables, fruits during the winter, they quickly change their food habits. But they can’t live their entire life on these low nutrient foods items. The best food items that you should provide the wild rabbits are hay. If you want to give them grain, then you should provide vegetables, wheat, rye, or something like that. It is a widespread scene that wild bunnies don’t get enough drinking water during winter. Providing sugary fruits to wild rabbits is strictly prohibited. Even though rabbits love sugary items, it causes obesity and digestive problems in them. Two or three cups of food mixture, including hay, pellets, veggies, and fruits, could be provided to the wild bunny each day. And you should ensure that you don’t do harm instead of good to a wild rabbit. Don’t disturb the wild rabbits while they are eating the grass or leaves in the yard. You should give at least two or three items of green vegetables, especially during the cold months. Mustard greens Peapods Brussels sprouts Bok Choy Dandelion leaves Swiss chard Broccoli Cilantro Dill Carrots Celery leaves Spinach Parsley Basil Collard greens Beet greens Lettuce Mint Bell peppers Cucumber Endive Escarole Fennel basil cilantro oregano parsley rosemary sage thyme Fruits like various types of berries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are permissible. Other types of fruit like pineapple, papaya, plums are permissible to wild rabbits. Berries: blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries Apple (no seeds) Banana Watermelon Melon Papaya Orange Cherries (no seeds) Grapes Peach Pear Pineapple Plum Cookies, nuts, seeds, grains, and bread Oatmeal Yogurt Drops Potatoes Silverbeet Avocado Cereal Walnuts Chocolate Peanut Butter Rhubarb Onions (red and brown) Garlic Shallots Chives Iceberg Lettuce Sugary Processed Foods Well, before feeding a wild baby rabbit, you might ensure whether she is an orphan or not. Sometimes, baby rabbits start exploring their nearby places. However, by close observing, if you identify that the baby bunny is an orphan, you should immediately contact your nearby wildlife rehabilitation center. Usually, Adult rabbit passes their day outside their nest in search of food. Mother bunny feed milks their baby rabbit during the night and dawn. If there is no rehabilitation center nearby you, then you should take care of the wild baby bunny yourself. You could follow the step-by-step guide to feed the wild orphan baby bunny. You may find goat milk in the nearby grocery stores. However, the mother bunny feeds her baby only two times a day. By taking proper care, you can grow baby rabbits. Upon confirmation that the wild baby rabbit is orphaned, you could rescue it. Remember that wild momma bunnies explore their surroundings in search of food. In nature, wild rabbits eat a lot of carrots. Carrots contain a high amount of carbohydrates that are not good for a rabbit’s health. Comparing their workout, this extra amount of carbohydrate doesn’t affect them. It’s Okay to eat the bird seeds for the wild bunny when there is a scarcity of foods. Usually, Bird seeds that fall on the ground are not the regular diet for the bunny. Some birdseed contains a high amount of fat and carbohydrate that keep the rabbits warm and healthy in the winter. In spite of the rabbit’s life expectancy of 5-8 years (which varies from breed to breed and care), the wild rabbit can not survive for more than a year in the wild. Foxes Buzzards Falcons Kestrels Hawks Badgers Owls Weasels Ferrets Snake Cats Now that you know what wild rabbits need to eat in winter, I hope you have a clear picture of what they need. The wild rabbit can eat these foods all year round.

Video

Warnings

Difference Between Wild and Domestic Rabbits

Natural Wild Rabbit Diets

Rabbits are, first and foremost, herbivores. This means that they only eat plants and avoid meat and animal parts. One long-term study done on European rabbits, in fact, discovered that wild rabbits very rarely, if at all, consume or even try to consume meat of other animal parts.In the rare instances that wild rabbits did consume meat, it was actually their own young. So, we can safely assume that wild rabbits don’t need meat. They thrive off of a diet of plants alone. Still, this is a very vague answer and could do with some narrowing down.

What Plants Do Wild Rabbits Eat?

Wild rabbits consume green plants whenever available. This includes things such as clover, leafy weeds, grasses, shrubs, and leaves. But it will vary depending on what is available to the rabbits, and what time of year it is.Wild rabbits eat plenty of grass, which acts as roughage and is good for their digestive systems. However, wild rabbits are extremely picky with their food. They prefer fresh florae over all else, and are even sometimes described as climbing trees to reach the fresh leaves above.

Why Are Wild Rabbits So Picky?

Wild rabbits will eat the part of the plant with the highest nitrogen content first. They prefer foods that they can eat quickly and easily. If a leaf is particularly tough and is going to take longer than a second to tear, your average wild rabbit is going to find a different food source.

Do Wild Rabbits Eat Vegetables?

Interestingly, wild rabbits do not actually prefer veggies. They will not consume carrots if green, leafy vegetation is available instead. So, if you’re wondering “Do wild rabbits eat carrots?” the answer is, “Yes, they will, but it’s not their favorite.”The same applies to most other vegetables. Although we like to give our own pet rabbits lots of fresh veggies, wild rabbits will eat whatever nutrient-dense foods are available.

What Do Wild Rabbits Eat in the Winter?

Obviously, fresh, green foliage is not available in the winter time. So what do wild rabbits eat in the winter? This really depends on the specific location. In areas that don’t see much snowfall, rabbits will mostly stick to dried, dead plants and whatever green stuff they can find.Actually, in many places in the southern United States, there are green plants growing nearly all year around. Rabbits in these areas will stick to grazing on the few green plants they can find – even if they aren’t their favorite. This is true where I live. Rabbits can be seen grazing in fields all year around because there are usually at least a few green plants still standing.

What if There Are No Greens?Availability vs Taste

As is necessary for survival, wild rabbits do not usually eat foods based on their taste buds. Instead, their diet consists largely of what is available. However, this does not mean that wild rabbits do not like some foods more than others. In fact, it has been found that wild rabbits do prefer certain types of plants.As was previously stated, rabbits do not actually prefer carrots. Instead, they would much rather munch on things like apple, peach, and cherry tree leaves and bark. They also prefer spruces and firs, as opposed to oaks. Alongside these particular foods, rabbits prefer the greenest, freshest vegetation. So you might say, that’s a wild rabbit’s favorite food.

How Much Water Do Wild Rabbits Need?

Water is actually extremely important for wild rabbits’ diet. In fact, one study actually discovered that water intake was actually more important than food intake when it came to a rabbit retaining its weight. In other words, rabbits who were provided with limited water but plenty of food lost significant weight when compared to your average rabbit.This is due to the rabbit’s particular digestive system. Simply put, wild rabbit food requires a lot of water to digest. When this water isn’t available, they simply cannot digest the food they consume!

What Does This Mean?

This might be one of the large reasons rabbits prefer fresh, green plants to others. These plants simply have the highest water content. So, they allow the rabbit to fulfill its daily water need on top of providing nutrients and energy.This is opposed to dry plants and bark, which do not contain very much water. If the rabbit eats these types of plants, he or she would have to find drinkable water elsewhere. This would take up valuable grazing time and increase the rabbit’s exposure to predators.Basically, the choice to eat plants with a high water content simply makes sense for wild rabbits. This might also explain why domestic rabbit’s diet is somewhat different from that of a wild rabbit’s diet. A domestic rabbit has ready access to water, and does not need to rely so heavily on its food to provide it.

When Do Wild Rabbits Eat?

Now that we know the answer to the question “What do wild rabbits eat?” let’s explore when wild rabbits eat.Rabbits tend to eat around dawn and dusk. These are the safest times for the wild rabbits to escape from their burrow or thick undergrowth and graze. Mostly, this is because predators are generally less active at these times. Plus, the dim lighting makes it difficult for predators to spot the wild rabbit.When the sun begins to rise or set, wild rabbits will graze vigorously. They often return to the same area each day, and so already know where their favorite plants are located. After their stomachs have been somewhat filled, they will slow down and more selectively graze until the area is no longer safe.

How Long Do Rabbits Spend Eating?

In all, these wild rabbits will only spend about two thirty-minute periods grazing a day. Of course, this timetable can change depending on location and time of year. In the winter, a rabbit might have to spend more time grazing due to the lack of food and need to find water.During these periods of intense feeding, rabbits will excrete hard fecal pellets. However, when they are resting, they excrete “cecotropes.” These droppings are actually extremely nutritious. They are one of the main reasons rabbits can survive harsh winter conditions with little food.

What Do Wild Baby Rabbits Eat?

Everything we’ve looked at so far applies to adult wild rabbits. So what do wild baby rabbits eat?Domestic rabbits will start to forage and eat solid foods in a matter of weeks. But wild baby rabbits take even less time to develop to this stage. They will rely on their mother’s milk at first. But will develop quickly and begin to forage alongside their mother.As they start to forage, they will pick out the same types of food as their mother. So, once they are weaned off of milk, they will be eating the same nutrient-dense leafy green plants.

Feeding a Wild Rabbit

First, veterinarians do not recommend feeding wild rabbits. However, if you find that you are caring for a wild rabbit as a result of an accident or other traumatic event, there are some things you should remember about feeding them.You can provide hay, such as oat hay or timothy hay, in place of or in addition to grass. If you are feeding grass, make sure it has not been treated with chemicals.Wild rabbits can eat pellet foods designed for domestic rabbits, but only in small amounts, as they are so nutrient-rich. They can also have green leafy vegetables – but not ones that cause gas, as they cannot pass it.

Finding Baby Wild Rabbits

Please note, baby bunnies are difficult for humans to raise. Survival rates are not high when wild infant rabbits are taken care of by humans.Plus sometimes humans accidentally take them away from adult rabbits who have left the nest for a short time.In the case of baby rabbits, getting them to a wildlife rehabilitation center quickly is your best bet.

What Do Wild Rabbits Eat?

Wild rabbits are actually very picky eaters, choosing to eat fresh, green vegetation over most vegetables.In the winter, they can survive off of tree bark and twigs if the snow cover prevents them from reaching the dried grasses on the ground.Truly, wild rabbits are extremely resilient and can survive in extremely tough conditions.Do you have any memorable experiences with wild rabbits? Let us know in the comment section below!

More Bunny Guides

If you love learning about rabbits – both wild and domestic – you’ll enjoy the following guides.

Can You Feed Wild Rabbits?

While many of us consider wild rabbits as pests, they always want to keep away from rabbits because wild rabbits destroy the garden, vegetables, and fruits.On the other hand, people like me who love wild rabbits feel love for them.So, use your common sense when you see a wild rabbit. If the bunny is poor, you should provide some rabbit safe food for the bunny.

What Do Wild Rabbits Eat?

In the warmer months, rabbits generally eat fresh grass, weeds, clover, crops from fields, wild vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Wild rabbits mainly rely on buds, bark, twigs, and greens left in nature during harsh winters.In the winter, we usually find rabbits in our yard, lawn, or garden. The rabbit eats, just like the deer, and regularly wanders around the nearest vegetable garden. In summary, this is what wild rabbits eat.

What to Feed Wild Rabbits in Winter?

Well, first things first. You should have explicit knowledge of the food habit of the wild rabbit before feeding it.Wild rabbits are experts at finding food. When they don’t get their favorite foods like fresh grasses, hays or clovers, leaves, vegetables, fruits during the winter, they quickly change their food habits.Then, they eat the bark of trees, leaves, and buds of the bushes.But they can’t live their entire life on these low nutrient foods items.Usually, you shouldn’t give any particular food to the wild rabbits for the very first time. But in case if it is heavy snow around them and they have a scarcity of food you may provide them some specific foods.

Hay for wild rabbit

The best food items that you should provide the wild rabbits are hay. It is safe and also a favorite to them. You may provide timothy hay, alfalfa hay (for baby bunny), orchard grass, or oat hays.

Pellets & Grains

If you want to give them grain, then you should provide vegetables, wheat, rye, or something like that. Before providing grain types of food, you should consider the surroundings first because the grain attracts rats, squirrels, or mice. You could use a hay feeder for the wild bunny.

Water

You might provide a bowl of water. It is a widespread scene that wild bunnies don’t get enough drinking water during winter. So, put them some water

Vegetables For Wild Rabbits

Like cabbage, most common vegetables are safe for rabbits. Do not provide too many vegetables at once to the wild bunny. If the wild bunny eats too many vegetables, it may get bloated.

Fruits For Wild Rabbits

You could provide rabbits with fruits containing little or no sugar. Providing sugary fruits to wild rabbits is strictly prohibited. Even though rabbits love sugary items, it causes obesity and digestive problems in them. Therefore, it would be better to keep sugary fruits and vegetables away from the wild rabbits.

How Much Food Does A Wild Rabbit Need Per Day?

When food is available, wild rabbits consume a lot of food. They need about 300 calories a day. Fresh grass constitutes a large part of their diet. Because of the scarcity of food in the winter, they eat less. Two or three cups of food mixture, including hay, pellets, veggies, and fruits, could be provided to the wild bunny each day. That would be enough for them to survive.

How to Feed a Wild Rabbit in Winter?

Now the question is how to feed a wild rabbit in winter? It is not a very easy task like the pet one in an indoor cage. You should be careful, first. And you should ensure that you don’t do harm instead of good to a wild rabbit.If you like to feed wild rabbits, then you may follow the following tips.

Choose A Particular Spot In Your Yard

It might be an excellent decision to choose a grassy area of your yard. Don’t disturb the wild rabbits while they are eating the grass or leaves in the yard. Don’t cut all the grass in the yard or garden. Keep some in a particular place in the yard. Don’t spray pesticides in the yard.

Provide Hay

As earlier in this article, I mentioned that hay is the best for wild rabbits. For the wild rabbits, you might provide Timothy hay and for the baby rabbit, provide alfalfa hay as it contains more nutrients, protein, and fiber.As a rabbit parent, I believe you have a stock of hay. If you don’t have one, you may buy from the local market or the online market.

Provide Some Fruits for wild rabbit

Vegetables are favorite to the rabbit, whether she is a pet or wild. Among vegetables, the carrot is the most favorite of the bunny. But you shouldn’t provide a lot of carrots at once. It may cause a digestion problem like blotting for the wild rabbit.You should give at least two or three items of green vegetables, especially during the cold months.

What Do You Feed a Wild Baby Bunny?

These types of food should not be fed to the wild rabbits

What Should Not Feed To Wild Baby Bunny

You could follow the step-by-step guide to feed the wild orphan baby bunny.

Frequently Asked Question

Should I Rescue A Wild Rabbit Baby?

Upon confirmation that the wild baby rabbit is orphaned, you could rescue it. If not, do not rescue it. Remember that wild momma bunnies explore their surroundings in search of food. You might come across one. However, it does not mean it is orphaned.

Do Wild Rabbits Eat Carrot

Whether it is a pet rabbit or a wild rabbit, they love carrots insanely. Moreover, carrot is a popular food for the bunny all over the world.In nature, wild rabbits eat a lot of carrots. Carrots contain a high amount of carbohydrates that are not good for a rabbit’s health.But the wild rabbit runs miles to miles daily. Comparing their workout, this extra amount of carbohydrate doesn’t affect them.But for the pet rabbit, you should not provide carrots daily because pet rabbits do have not the luxury to run miles to miles daily.

Do wild rabbits eat bird seeds in winter?

It’s Okay to eat the bird seeds for the wild bunny when there is a scarcity of foods. Usually, Bird seeds that fall on the ground are not the regular diet for the bunny. Some birdseed contains a high amount of fat and carbohydrate that keep the rabbits warm and healthy in the winter.