Can Rabbits Eat Brazil Nuts?

Categorized as Bunny Diet Tagged ,

Last Updated on October 28, 2022 by Rei Garnet

Brazil nuts should never be fed to rabbits intentionally because they’re too high in fat and selenium.

Too much fat in a rabbit’s diet can lead to all kinds of health problems like GI stasis, obesity, soft uneaten cecotropes, hepatic lipidosis, and atherosclerosis in the aorta.

Brazil nuts are also high in selenium. A single nut contains 95.85 mcg of selenium.

According to this study, rabbits would begin to experience the harmful effects of selenium if they were given 5 mcg/kg of selenium for long periods of time (2–7 months). 

Also, according to the same study, the minimal lethal dose of selenium in rabbits is 1.5–3.0 mg/kg of body weight.

So that means a medium breed rabbit (2.4–4.7 kg) would need to consume 3.6–14 mg of selenium for it to be fatal.

That means your rabbits would need to eat 37–146 brazil nuts for it to be fatal.

So don’t worry if your rabbit accidentally eats Brazil nuts.

Your rabbit would need to eat a lot of them or be fed for long periods of time before experiencing any health problems.

But if you notice any changes in your rabbit’s stool, both in size and consistency, or behavior after eating brazil nuts, immediately bring your rabbit to a veterinarian.

Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail why rabbits can’t eat Brazil nuts:

Risk of overfeeding brazil nuts to rabbits.

Fatty foods like Brazil nuts should not be fed to rabbits intentionally.

They carry certain risks when fed in large amounts because rabbits’ digestive systems are not really designed to digest large amounts of food like brazil nuts.

Here are some of the risks associated with feeding your rabbits large amounts of Brazil nuts :

Selenium toxicity

Rabbits that are fed large amounts of food that is high in selenium, like brazil nuts, are at risk of selenium toxicity.

Your rabbit could suffer from acute selenium toxicity or if your rabbit ate a lot of brazil nuts in a short amount of time.

As an example, if your medium breed rabbit(2.4–4.7 kg) accidentally ate 37 brazil nuts, it could lead to selenium poisoning because the minimum lethal dose of selenium is 1.5–3.0 mg/kg of body weight in rabbits.

Here are the effects of acute selenium toxicity in rabbits:

  • Vomiting
  • Dyspnea
  • Tetanic spasms
  • Death from respiratory failure

Fatty liver disease

Brazil nuts are high in fat. feeding your rabbits brazil nuts long-term could lead to hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease.

A rabbit’s diet should consist of no more than 3% fat.

Here are the signs that your rabbit might be suffering from fatty liver disease caused by excess fat:

  • Loss of appetite (anorexia) – may be sudden or gradual.
  • Weight loss
  • Decline in number and size of droppings (feces)
  • Dehydration
  • Depression and lethargy

Diarrhea

Diarrhea in rabbits is often caused by the wrong diet or when their diet is changed too fast. 

Feeding your rabbit large amounts of brazil nuts would check those two boxes I mentioned.

Gastrointestinal Stasis

Gastrointestinal stasis is also possible when a rabbit is fed large amounts of Brazil nuts, which are high in fat.

GI stasis mainly happens when a rabbit is fed a low-fiber diet.

GI stasis happens when the balance of bacteria in your rabbit’s gut is disrupted.

This disruption would cause painful gas that would eventually lead to organ failure and death if not treated immediately.

The signs of GI stasis are:

  • Depressed
  • Hunched posture
  • Bruxism
  • Decreased appetite/anorexia

If you notice any of these signs, immediately bring your rabbit to a veterinarian.

Uneaten cecotropes

Soft uneaten cecotropes are also possible when rabbits are eating large amounts of brazil nuts instead of hay.

This could lead to softer cecotropes due to the lack of fiber in your rabbit’s diet.

Obesity

Obesity in rabbits is also possible when fed large amounts of fatty food like brazil nuts.

Rabbits that are confined in cages all day without exercise and fed large amounts of high carb, low-fiber diets are the most susceptible to obesity.

Healthy alternative to brazil nuts as treats.

If you’re planning on giving your rabbits Brazil nuts as treats, these alternatives are much healthier.

Here are some alternatives that you can give to your rabbits one to two times per week as a treat:

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Should you panic if your rabbit ate a little bit of brazil nuts?

While brazil nuts are not recommended for rabbits, they’re still not toxic.

It’s just that Brazil nuts are too high in fat, which is not digested well by rabbits.

Also, even though brazil nuts contain a lot of selenium, your rabbit would need to eat a lot of brazil nuts for it to become an emergency.

As an example, a medium breed rabbit would need to eat 37–146 pieces of brazil nuts for it to be fatal.

If you are worried, just feed them a lot of hay.

The extra fiber would likely fix the problem on its own.

What to do if your rabbit ate brazil nuts?

Observe their behavior and poop for any changes.

You should also feed them a lot of hay.

The extra fiber would help balance their gut flora.

If you notice any changes in their poop or behavior, consult a veterinarian immediately.

Conclusion

A rabbit that’s fed large amounts of fatty food like brazil nuts could experience digestive distress like diarrhea, fatty liver disease, and GI stasis.

It could also lead to obesity, especially in rabbits who are confined in small cages all day without access to regular exercise.

If your rabbit is exhibiting signs of digestive distress, immediately bring them to a veterinarian.


Cite this article:

Bunny Horde (December 7, 2022) Can Rabbits Eat Brazil Nuts?. Retrieved from https://bunnyhorde.com/can-rabbits-eat-brazil-nuts/.
"Can Rabbits Eat Brazil Nuts?." Bunny Horde - December 7, 2022, https://bunnyhorde.com/can-rabbits-eat-brazil-nuts/

By Rei Garnet

I’ve loved and cared for rabbits since I was 9 years old, and I’m here to share my passion for rabbits. My objective is to help rabbit owners give their rabbits the best life possible.