Last Updated on July 24, 2022 by Rei Garnet
Quick Facts About Coconut:
- Scientific name – Cocos nucifera
- Origin – Indo-Malaya
- Most commonly found in – Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand
- Average weight – 1 1/2 pounds
The only part of coconut that can be fed to rabbits are the husk (coconut fiber). The white part or the inside of coconuts should not be fed to rabbits because they contain too much fat and sugar.
The meat of the coconut contains 33 grams of fat per 100 grams. While rabbits should limit themselves to 20-50 grams of fat per day.
Coconut meat is also high in sugar, which could lead to digestive and dental problems if fed in large quantities.
Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail why rabbits can’t eat coconut:
Would rabbits intentionally eat coconut?
Yes, your rabbit would intentionally eat every part of a coconut. The meat part is high in sugar, and as we all know, rabbits are suckers for anything sweet.
The husk of a coconut, on the other hand, is a great chew toy for rabbits.
If you’re planning on letting your rabbit play with coconut fibers, make sure you remove all the meat because it’s bad for them.
Here’s a video of a rabbit chewing on some coconut husks:
Risk of overfeeding coconut to rabbits.
Fatty foods like coconuts 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 coconuts.
Here are some of the risks associated with feeding your rabbits large amounts of coconuts:
Fatty liver disease
Coconuts are high in fat, feeding your rabbits coconuts long-term could lead to hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease.
Rabbits’ diets should only consist of less than 3% fat, while coconuts are high in 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)
- Depression and lethargy
Diarrhea in rabbits is often caused by the wrong diet or when their diet is changed too fast.
Feeding your rabbit large amounts of coconuts would check those two boxes I mentioned.
Gastrointestinal stasis is also possible when a rabbit is fed large amounts of coconuts, 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:
- Hunched posture
- Decreased appetite/anorexia
If you notice any of these signs, immediately bring your rabbit to a veterinarian.
Soft uneaten cecotropes are also possible when rabbits are eating large amounts of coconuts instead of hay.
This could lead to softer cecotropes due to the lack of fiber in your rabbit’s diet.
Obesity in rabbits is also possible when fed large amounts of sugary food.
Rabbits that are confined in cages all day without exercise and fed large amounts of a high-carb, low-fiber diet are the most susceptible to obesity.
Healthy alternatives to coconut.
If you are planning on giving your rabbits coconuts 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:
- Apple (remove seeds)
- Cherries (remove seeds)
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Should you panic if your rabbit eats a little bit of coconut meat?
While coconuts are not recommended for rabbits, they’re still not toxic.
It’s just that coconuts are too high in fat and sugar, both of which are not digested well by rabbits.
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 the meat of the coconut?
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.
Coconuts should never be fed to rabbits intentionally because they are high in fat and sugar.
Also, rabbits that are fed large amounts of fatty and sugary foods like coconuts could experience digestive distress like diarrhea, fatty liver disease, and GI stasis.
If your rabbit is exhibiting signs of digestive distress, immediately bring them to a veterinarian.
Read our latest posts