Can Rabbits Eat Bamboo – Yes Or No – Here’s why

Everyone wants their pet rabbits to be safe and happy. Bamboo seems like the perfect plant for them, and it’s sustainable too. But is it a smart idea to feed your pet rabbit bamboo? Let’s find out.

In this article, we’ll explain whether bamboos and their common lookalikes are safe for rabbits, as well as the sustainability of the snack, and the varieties it can be bought in.

Can Rabbits Eat Bamboo - Yes Or No - Here's why

There are around 1400 identified species of bamboo worldwide, ranging in height from gigantic to microscopic. Most bamboo varieties favor tropical conditions, however, some resistant varieties may withstand temperatures as low as -20°F (minus 28C). In the United States, around 450 kinds of bamboo are grown, so you have plenty to choose from. 

Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo shoots and stalks are totally edible and can safely be given to your rabbits as a treat, but you must be careful not to feed them too much at any one time. It has the potential to wreak havoc on their gut, possibly leading to gastrointestinal problems.

The issue is that bamboo shoots contain a high concentration of plant sugars and starches, and even small quantities can result in an excess of sugar in the rabbit’s hindgut. It could result in an imbalance of harmful microorganisms. 

Bamboo shoots are not recommended for young bunnies and should be reserved as a treat solely for your older rabbits because it is all too easy to overfeed the babies. As a result, diarrhea and even possibly death.

Bamboo Leaves

Bamboo leaves are ideal for rabbits to nibble on; and can be compared to other leafy snacks they seem to love, such as lettuce and cabbage. However, if you plan on feeding bamboo leaves to your bunny, be certain that they haven’t been treated with insecticide or aren’t infested with insects, as this can make your bunny unwell. So harvesting bamboo leaves for your rabbit can be beneficial. 

Bamboo Bark

It’s no secret that rabbits enjoy chewing on bark, and it’s common to find pieces of bark sold at the pet store for bunnies to gnaw on. Well, they can do that to bamboo too. The bark of bamboo plants is completely edible and safe for your rabbit to eat. 

However, make sure that the bark hasn’t been treated with insecticides. Also, peek under the top layer of bark and check for any bugs before giving it to your rabbit. The stalks of bamboo plants are entirely hollow, which makes them great for filling with hay to keep your rabbits entertained and intrigued.

Can Rabbits Eat Bamboo - Yes Or No - Here's why

Bamboo Pellets

Some rabbit owners put regular clay cat litter into their bunnies’ cages for them to use. But many of them don’t know the risks that this poses to their health. Rabbits are famous nibblers, and they’ll gnaw on just about anything they can get their paws on. Any litters that contain clay, corn, wheat, alfalfa, or oats are also not suitable for rabbits, as they have a tendency to munch on them. 

Bamboo pellets are a great alternative, as we’ve already established, the plant is safe for rabbits and won’t cause much harm. However, if using bamboo pellets as litter, keep an eye on your bunny to ensure that they’re not eating them, as they could easily eat too much and make themselves unwell. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that the litter you purchase should not be clumping litter. Any type of litter can have clumping agents added to it, and every type of litter should state on the bag whether or not it is clumping.

You should generally avoid clumping litter for rabbits, just in case, but especially if you have a rabbit who likes to nibble litter. You don’t want anything to clump in your rabbit’s digestive tract.

Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo isn’t actually a variety of bamboo plants, it’s from a species called Dracaena. Although the effects of feeding this to rabbits are largely unknown, we do know that it’s considered toxic. It’s also toxic to cats and dogs, too. If your rabbit ingests lucky bamboo, keep an eye on them, and if he displays any odd changes in eating, pooping, or general behavior, head to the emergency vet as soon as possible. 

Heavenly Bamboo

Despite the name, Heavenly Bamboo is not a plant in the bamboo family. It’s a plant called Nandina Domestica and it’s highly toxic to rabbits and other small furry animals. The leaves are the most toxic part and should never be fed to your rabbit, so it’s important to remember that it’s not safe like actual bamboo.

If your rabbit has accidentally ingested some lucky bamboo leaves, or any other part of the plant, call the emergency vet right away for advice. 

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Why buy bamboo?

While your rabbit is unlikely to notice if you switch his bark chews over to the bamboo type, the planet certainly will. Bamboo is a wonder material, and making even the smallest changes can make a huge difference. Bamboo is a highly sustainable plant, in fact, it’s the fastest growing plant on earth! So, there will always be enough of it to go round. 

Bamboo plantations have huge environmental benefits because this highly abundant plant efficiently stores carbon. Finally, bamboo contributes to the conservation of biodiversity and endangered species by providing habitat for a wide range of animals. Bamboo woods save and protect the creatures that live there, by providing both shelter and food.

Consider making the environmentally friendly switch to bamboo items today. We can all make a difference and help to shape a better future for our world. But we don’t recommend feeding your rabbit too much bamboo, just enough as a treat every now and then.