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As summer approaches, we often look for watery and refreshing fruit to help us cool off. One of the most popular summer fruits is watermelon, an ancient fruit that is thought to have been domesticated for the first time in Northeast Africa more than 4,000 years ago. This large, round fruit has a green peel and bright red flesh and is full of nutrients, including antioxidants and vitamins A and C. The health benefits of watermelons have led many pet owners to question whether rabbits can eat them.
The following AnimalWised article will tell you everything you need to know about how to feed rabbits watermelons.
Before we explain whether watermelon is a good fruit for rabbits, we must make an important observation about their diet. Rabbits are herbivores whose diet must be based on three basic elements:
- Hay (80%)
- Pallets (5%)
- Fresh fruits and vegetables (15%)
The portion of fresh food should consist mainly of green leafy vegetables. Occasionally, however, a small amount of fruit may be offered. That means rabbits can eat watermelon safelybecause it offers certain nutritional benefits and does not contain any toxic substances. In addition, rabbits are usually great lovers of this fruit. It’s a sweet and refreshing snack that they rarely refuse.
However, just because they enjoy the taste of this fruit does not mean that they can consume it regularly or in large quantities. How much, how often, and in what form, watermelon should be given to rabbits so that they can benefit from its properties without harming them will be explained in the following sections.
Hay is an essential part of the rabbit diet, which is why it is so important that we choose the best hay for our rabbit. This can be difficult because there are many types and brands. Read this next article to learn how to choose the best hay for your rabbits.
Watermelon is a very refreshing fruit, rich in water and salt. In fact, it is the fruit with the highest water content (95% of its weight). For this reason, consuming watermelon in the rabbit diet helps them stay cool hydrated (especially on very hot summer days) and supports the proper functioning of the urinary system.
The fact that it contains so much water means that it provides very little energy. The inclusion of watermelon in the diet of rabbits does not significantly change energy value their feed rations, which is beneficial for maintaining the physical condition of the animals.
Watermelon is not special rich in nutrients food. It contains significant amounts of vitamins A and C, as well as minerals such as calcium and potassium. Most notable for its nutritional composition is the content of carotenoids, among which lycopene, a compound with high antioxidant capacity, stands out.
Among the advantages of watermelon is also his excellent taste. It’s no big secret that all rabbits have a sweet tooth and the rich, juicy flesh of watermelon is a delicacy that they are sure to enjoy. Therefore, it is one of the fruits that can be used as a reward in training rabbits. Small pieces of watermelon as a reward are a great stimulus for learning new tricks and commands.
Rabbits are easily frightened animals and can quickly lose confidence in us if we discipline them inappropriately. On the other hand, rabbits, like all pets, must learn to behave. Read this next article to learn how to properly train and discipline your rabbit without compromising his confidence.
When it comes to offering watermelon, there are often some questions among caregivers. Is the melon peel good for rabbits? Can rabbits eat watermelon seeds? To dispel these doubts, we will answer each of these questions in detail.
Although people are used to eating only the pulp of watermelon, rabbits can eat both. meat and bark. The bark has a high content of fiber, which is an important nutrient in the diet of rabbits. It is always advisable to offer the flesh together with a reasonable part of the bark. To prevent your rabbit from suffocating with a harder and greener peel of watermelon (skin or peel), cut it into smaller pieces.
Watermelon seeds, on the other hand not appropriate for rabbits because they are difficult to digest and can cause bowel obstruction. Therefore, if we offer watermelons with black or brown seeds (so-called diploid melons), it is important to remove all seeds from the serving before serving it to our pet.
Finally, we must point out that watermelon should only be offered fresh and at room temperature. It is not recommended to give frozen or directly from the refrigerator.
Fruit should generally be a very small part of a rabbit’s diet because of his high sugar content can have fatal health consequences. Watermelons have no significant health benefits for rabbits. Their relatively low nutrient content and high sugar content make them a delicacy that should be served very rarely.
Although most rabbits love watermelon, it is not a particularly nutrient-rich food. This means that you should use it as occasional hospitality rather than everyday food.
Feel free to include watermelon in the rabbit’s diet every week or two. Cube about 3 cm x 3 cm (including flesh and skin) it is enough to feed a medium-sized rabbit without negative effects on its health.
It is important to provide the rabbit with the right vitamins and nutrients to maintain its health. For this reason, we have prepared this article to help you find out which vegetables and fruits are best included in your rabbit’s diet.
As we explained in this article, watermelon is a suitable fruit for rabbits. However, if fed incorrectly, it can have a number of negative health consequences:
As already mentioned, watermelons contain a high amount of sugar. Too much sweetness can change bacterial balance in the digestive tract, which promotes the multiplication of harmful bacteria in the digestive tract. It can also cause gas to build up in the digestive tract, also known as tympanism.
The tempting taste and juiciness of watermelon can eventually lead to a significant one dietary imbalance in rabbits. Fruit is generally tastier for rabbits than dry food (hay and pallets), which can cause these foods to be rejected.
Seeds can cause intestinal blockage. And because rabbits can’t vomit, they can suffocate watermelon seeds. Therefore, you must be careful to clean the melon seeds before feeding them to the rabbit.
Due to the high sugar content of watermelon, weight gain may occur. Obesity in rabbits is not uncommon and is mainly caused by excessive food and lack of exercise.
Contraindications to watermelon for rabbits
Although watermelon is generally a suitable fruit for rabbits, there are certain situations where its administration can be counterproductive:
- Food allergies or intolerances.
- Sensitive digestive organs (especially in rabbits).
Gastrointestinal disorders in rabbits can have many causes, but not all show obvious symptoms. If you notice that your rabbit has diarrhea, it is a sign that it is probably a health problem. Continue reading this next article to find out what might be causing the problem and whether it is serious.
If you want to read similar articles like Is it safe to give watermelon to rabbits?we recommend visiting our Healthy Eating category.
- Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA). Watermelon, Citrullus lanatus. Available at: https://www.mapa.gob.es/es/ministerio/servicios/informacion/sandia_tcm30-103024.pdf