Before answering that question, first, a definition is in order: what is jackfruit? Jackfruit is an exotic, tropical, and very big fruit, growing in trees, and weighing as much as 80 pounds for a single fruit. It is also called jack tree, jakfruit, or sometimes jack or jak.
Table of contents
- Is Jackfruit Healthy for Rabbits?
- Benefits of Jackfruit for Rabbits
- Negatives of Jackfruit for Rabbits
- Jackfruit for Young and Baby Rabbits
- Jackfruit for Adult Rabbits
- A Rabbit’s Dietary Needs
India is the largest producer of jackfruit, where it has been eaten as a major part of their diet for many years. It is now exploding in popularity in Europe and the United States as a delectable meat alternative. It is sweet when ripe and used to make cakes, juices, and ice creams. Unripe, it is used in curries as well as fried, minced, and sauteed by itself. Its recent claim to fame is as an alternative to pulled pork. It is also used in tacos and other dishes as a meat substitute.
So where do rabbits fit in this jackfruit explosion? Can rabbits eat jackfruit?
The quick answer, is yes, rabbits can eat jackfruit. The modified answer is: they can eat only part of a jackfruit and then, only in moderation.
Why moderation? Jackfruit is sweet! It is too sweet for regular consumption for rabbits, whose overall sweet intake must be watched carefully. The main and edible part of the fruit is its fleshy center. The inedible and potentially dangerous parts are its outer rind and inner seeds. Jackfruit also has a white, sticky substance under the rind of the fruit which could stick to the rabbit’s mouth and cause him to choke. The bottom line is that only the fleshy part of the jackfruit is truly safe for a rabbit to eat. However, jackfruit does have its advantages for rabbits’ health.
Is Jackfruit Healthy for Rabbits?
Jackfruit provides all sorts of nutritional and health benefits for humans. Does this also hold true for rabbits? Consider the following breakdown of health benefits for rabbits found in one cup of jackfruit:
- Calories: 155
- Carbohydrates: 40 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
Vitamins and Minerals
- Vitamin A: 10 percent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin C: 18 percent of the RDI
- Riboflavin: 11 percent of the RDI
- Magnesium: 15 percent of the RDI
- Potassium: 14 percent of the RDI
- Copper: 15 percent of the RDI
- Manganese: 16 percent of the RDI
Benefits of Jackfruit for Rabbits
It’s now clear that jackfruit provides rabbits with significant vitamins and minerals. However, there are other benefits for a rabbit’s health from eating jackfruit. These benefits include those found in the fruit’s antioxidants, its natural boosting of the immune system, and its positive effects on the digestive system.
Jackfruit is rich in antioxidants which aid in protecting the rabbit’s cells from being attacked by free radicals. Free radicals are harmful molecules that come from foods, cigarette smoke, and radiation. They have a very negative effect on the rabbit’s health and can aid in causing the rabbit’s systems to break down, leading to disease and illness. Eating jackfruit, and other foods that are rich in antioxidants, can help keep your rabbit healthy.
Antioxidants are one source that help build a rabbit’s immune system, but so is vitamin C. Jackfruit is rich in vitamin C, which can help thwart sicknesses that threaten your rabbit’s health as well as lessen the brunt of any illnesses he may get.
Since jackfruit has a good amount of fiber, it works on the rabbit’s digestive tract to help keep it moving smoothly. It also assists in keeping the rabbit’s bowel movements regular as well as preventing him from getting constipation.
Negatives of Jackfruit for Rabbits
Despite its many advantages and health benefits, there are some concerns about rabbits eating jackfruit. One concern is the rind of the fruit. It is exceptionally tough and a potential choking danger for rabbits. The other issue is the seeds of the fruit. They are large and tough and pose yet another choking hazard. Rabbits should not be exposed to either the rind or seeds of a jackfruit.
Jackfruit for Young and Baby Rabbits
Baby rabbits should not be given jackfruit because of its high sugar content and young rabbits should be given it only as an occasional snack.
Jackfruit for Adult Rabbits
Despite its definite nutritional value, because of its high sugar content, rabbits should not be fed large quantities of jackfruit. It is true that there is nothing poisonous or otherwise harmful in jackfruit, but the high sugar amounts can cause obesity, high blood pressure, and other issues. A good rule of thumb is to give your rabbit a piece of jackfruit once or twice a week as a tasty treat.
Of a rabbit’s overall diet, jackfruit should be just 10 percent of the total. The remaining 90 percent should come from good grass hay such as timothy, orchard grass, and oat hay, as well as from fresh leafy vegetables.
A Rabbit’s Dietary Needs
Rabbits have complicated digestive systems, which are really like those of a horse. Horses can’t vomit and neither can rabbits. Like a horse, they have an organ called a cecum, which is located at the end of the digestive tract. The cecum breaks down and digests the fibers and other foods with a series of microbes. Because of the cecum and its location at the end of the digestive tract, rabbits require lots of good quality fiber.
A rabbit’s diet needs to include protein, fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Jackfruit adds some of the necessary fiber, vitamins, and minerals to a rabbit’s diet. But for a complete and healthy diet, good quality hay and dried grass need to be a rabbit’s primary food as they supply most of a rabbit’s dietary needs. Some fresh vegetables provide more vitamins and minerals. As is true with jackfruit, other allowable fruits should be served as treats for your rabbit. Likewise, there are some vegetables that can be given to a rabbit every day, and there are others that rabbits should only have once or twice a week. Listed below are fruits and vegetables that rabbits can eat and how frequently.
- Bell peppers
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Okra leaves
- Wheat grass
Once-a-Week Only Vegetables
- Broccoli – stems and leaves
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens
Once- or Twice-a-Week Only Fruits
The following fruits should be fed sparingly, meaning once or twice a week, and one or two tablespoons per 5 pounds of the rabbit’s weight.
- Berries: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries
The Forbidden Foods List
The following is a list of foods that a rabbit should never be given.
- Beet greens
- Iceberg lettuce
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
Can rabbits eat jackfruit? Indeed, they can. But like other “treat” foods consisting of the vegetables and fruits listed above, you need to feed jackfruit to your rabbit with moderation in how much and how often you give it to him. Remember that your rabbit needs plenty of hay and dried grass, some vegetables daily, and other vegetables and most fruits once or twice a week.