If you live in the countryside, you will have a lot of different types of trees around you. If you have a pet rabbit, it is very important to know whether they are safe for your rabbit to be around and occasionally eat some of those tree leaves.
It depends on the kind of tree, but rabbits can sometimes eat both the leaves and the bark from trees. Trees such as apples, hazels, pears, and willows tend to be popular with rabbits and are perfectly safe. However, it’s best not to let your rabbit eat any kind of leaves on a regular basis.
Have you ever wondered, can rabbits eat leaves from trees? We are going to find out today!
What Tree Leaves Are Poisonous To Rabbits?
Some trees are not suitable for rabbits to eat, and you should not give them to your bunny. Although some rabbits will know not to eat something poisonous, not all will. It is best to be careful and find out for yourself whether the rabbit can eat something. If in doubt, do not offer it.
You should avoid giving your rabbit leaves from the following trees:
- Weeping Fig
- Privet bushes
There are many other trees that are not safe for rabbits, and still, more than that are in question. There are so many trees in the world that it is difficult for anyone to create a definitive list, so if in doubt, check the specific tree that you want to feed to your rabbit.
If you cannot find several reputable sources that state the tree is safe, do not feed its leaves to your rabbit. You should choose other leaves, or keep leaves out of your rabbit’s diet entirely.
If you are concerned about your rabbit eating fallen leaves, be aware that one or two are very unlikely to harm your bunny. Fallen leaves have had most of their nutrients withdrawn before they are dropped, so they will be low in toxins (if they had any in the first place).
However, if a tree that you are concerned about is shedding lots of leaves into your yard, contain your bunnies while you get rid of the leaves. Speak to a vet immediately if you are worried.
What Leaves Are Safe For Rabbits?
Some leaves that you can feed to your rabbit come from the following trees:
Note that there are a lot of question marks over leaves from trees that produce stone fruit, such as plums. This is because the stones of plums and similar fruits contain cyanide. However, rabbits do not eat the stones, and many people state that the leaves and twigs are fine for rabbits to eat.
You should make sure that you take leaves from trees that are not close to busy roads, and that have not been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals. These pollutants could be harmful to your rabbit, even if the leaves are safe.
If you can’t access any of these trees easily, don’t worry. Your rabbit does not require tree branches and leaves in order to survive, as long as you provide it with a healthy and varied diet in other ways.
What Wild Leaves Can Rabbits Eat?
If your rabbit is foraging or you want to forage and bring your rabbit some tasty treats that don’t come from trees, you might be wondering what else these creatures can eat. There are lots of things, as they enjoy a great deal of variety in their diets.
Try any of the following:
- Dog rose
- Nettle and dead nettles
Note that you must be absolutely sure of the plant that you are picking. Some wild plants have dangerous lookalikes that could kill your rabbit. Don’t feed it anything that you are unsure about.
It may help to take a plant identification book or forage with a knowledgeable friend while you build up experience.
Take some time to learn about the lookalikes for the plant you are hunting for (if it has any) and establish how to tell the difference between the two. Do not risk feeding your rabbit the wrong plant.
If you let your rabbit forage in your garden, it is unlikely to eat poisonous plants, but you may still wish to remove any that you know are unsafe, such as hellebore and foxgloves.
Benefits Of Tree Leaves For Rabbits
Tree leaves will provide a multitude of benefits.
One of the most important ones is enrichment. Rabbits enjoy variety, and having a lot of diverse foods helps to make them happy. If you can bring your rabbit leaves and even twigs and branches from the safe trees, they will enjoy them.
They will eat the leaves and the bark and can munch their way through twigs with surprising speed. This is also good for their teeth.
Your rabbit will get nutritional benefits too, although the exact benefits will depend on what you feed them. Some leaves will be rich in vitamins, while others may have valuable minerals.
Wild rabbits often eat tree leaves, so this is definitely a great way to make your bunny happy.
Risks Of Tree Leaves For Rabbits
Of course, any food carries a risk.
Rabbits have quite sensitive digestive systems, and certain leaves might disagree with them, even if they are safe.
When you introduce a new food to your rabbit, do so slowly. Try only feeding your bunny one leaf to start with, and then keep an eye on it over the next few days. If your rabbit stops pooping or eating, you should contact your vet and not feed it any more of that leaf.
If everything seems okay, slowly introduce the leaf into its diet. Do not give tree leaves in large quantities, because your rabbit still needs to get most of its nutrition from hay and grass, but don’t be afraid to include some variety by bringing home little snippets of trees.
Always check the tree type
Before feeding any kind of new leaf to your rabbit, check its safety with multiple sources. There is a lot of debate about what is and is not safe for rabbits, so take the time to verify your information.
In small quantities, tree leaves are a wonderful way to enrich your rabbit’s life and give it a varied diet. Never feed your rabbit tree leaves in large amounts; you are liable to make it ill if you do.
My name is Katie, and I have had different pets at home for as long as I can remember. While I can definitely say I love all animals in general, my heart belongs to cats and dogs. I know you are supposed to choose one or the other, but I could never really decide. I’ve also owned hamsters and fish when I was a kid, and they filled my childhood with very delightful memories.