It’s always shocking when a well-known stereotype is overturned, and this is one Bugs Bunny may have trouble believing: carrots are harmful to rabbits’ health, the RSPCA has said. In a new campaign, the animal welfare charity is warning pet owners that, according to a new study at the University of Bristol, the UK’s rabbit population is in danger of malnutrition due to a lack of hay and grass in their diets.
Carrots and apples are high in sugar and should be given to rabbits only as an “occasional treat”, the charity said – otherwise the owner may risk an expensive trip to the vet or an early claim on their pet cover to repair the damage to their bunny’s teeth.
Rachel Roxburgh, an animal scientist at the RSPCA, said pet rabbits should be eating hay as their principal food. Fresh, clean grass is also a good staple food for bunnies, but the charity warned not to use lawnmower clippings, which can upset digestion. “People also think their rabbits should eat carrots because that’s what Bugs Bunny does… but he’s a cartoon – real rabbits don’t talk, and they shouldn’t be eating carrots too often either,” she added. More information on the best food for rabbits can be found here.