Can Rabbits Eat Buttercups?

Categorized as Bunny Diet Tagged ,

Last Updated on August 4, 2022 by Rei Garnet

Fresh buttercups (Ranunculus) should never be fed to rabbits. They contain the toxin protoanemonin, which causes irritation to the mucous membranes, including the GI tract.

Dried buttercups have degraded protoanemonin, which makes them safe for consumption.

You should still refrain from feeding it to your rabbit just to be safe.

Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail why you should never feed buttercups to rabbits:

Would rabbits intentionally eat buttercups?

Your rabbit might eat a few buttercups, but they would likely stop because it would likely irritate their mouth and the yellow oil inside the buttercup (protoanemonin) is bitter tasting.

Here’s a video of a rabbit eating a buttercup:

Still, some rabbit owners reported that their rabbits would eat buttercups in their garden out of pure desperation.

So make sure that you don’t let your rabbit free roam outside without supervision if your area has an abundance of buttercups.

Risk of feeding butercups to rabbits.

A close-up shot of what buttercups looks like

Because buttercups contain protoanemonin, feeding your rabbits buttercups could lead to poisoning.

Here are the most common symptoms of protoanemonin intoxication in rabbits:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Excessive salivation
  • Colic
  • Severe oral blistering
  • Severe GI tract blistering
  • Severe mucous membrane blistering
  • Nervousness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Convulsions
  • Twitching of ears and lips

If you notice or suspect that your rabbit might be suffering from protoanemonin poisoning, immediately call your veterinarian or the animal poison control hotline.

Healthy alternative to buttercups.

Here are some alternatives to buttercups that are safe to give to rabbits:

  • Dandelion
  • Nettles
  • Daisies
  • Clover
  • Sunflowers
  • Pot 
  • Nasturtiums
  • Pansies
  • Chickweed

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

While it’s true that buttercups have protoanemonin in them, the amount of buttercups your rabbit would need to eat to experience any adverse effects is large.

Observe your rabbit for any additional early symptoms like changes in their behavior or poop.

You can also call the poison control hotline or your veterinarian if you suspect or are worried that your rabbit is experiencing intoxication.

Conclusion

You should never feed your rabbits buttercups.

They contain protoanemonin, which causes nervousness, difficulty breathing, convulsions, twitching of ears and lips, bloody diarrhea, excessive salivation, colic, severe oral, GI tract, and mucous membrane blistering.

If your rabbit accidentally ate buttercups, you should observe your rabbit for any changes in their behavior or poop.

You should also call your veterinarian for proper advice or the poison control hotlines.

Cite this article:

Bunny Horde (September 14, 2022) Can Rabbits Eat Buttercups?. Retrieved from https://bunnyhorde.com/can-rabbits-eat-buttercups/.
"Can Rabbits Eat Buttercups?." Bunny Horde - September 14, 2022, https://bunnyhorde.com/can-rabbits-eat-buttercups/

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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.