There are few creatures that are beloved as much as rabbits.
They are tiny balls of fluff that hop around grazing all day, what is not to love? Considering that they often live in burrows in meadows and open grassland in more temperate climates, they tend to graze on whatever grasses and flowers that are available.
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Keep Rabbit’s Diet Close To Natural
As such, we – as reasonable pet owners – should try to keep their diet as close to natural as possible, while also supplementing it with the occasional treat.
While we know a lot of what they have in the wild, there are some things which we assume they can or can’t eat. This is a problem, as we don’t want to make assumptions that are wrong.
As such, we thought we’d look at whether or not rabbits can eat a food that is abundant in their native habitat, but poisonous to other animals: mushrooms.
Mushrooms: Why Are They Bad For A Lot Of Animals?
Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of underground fungus, and they are the oldest complex organisms that live on earth.
They are truly fascinating lifeforms that basically facilitated the rise of life on land and are interconnected through a complex web of underground roots called a mycelium.
However, to most small animals and especially to insects and invertebrates, mushrooms and sprouting fungus are incredibly deadly organisms.
To some animals, they are a death sentence as they infect them with their spores in order to produce the next generation (only in invertebrates luckily), to others they are incredibly poisonous and will either kill the animal outright after consumption or cause them to suffer from a hallucinogenic episode.
The FDA has identified eight different toxins related to mushroom poisoning with both raw and cooked mushrooms being able to cause people to get sick, as these toxins are very resilient and not destroyed by heating.
The effects of these mushroom poisonings generally include vomiting and diarrhea, with the worst toxins or poisonings causing organ damage, neurological damage, and death.
Since regular mushrooms can look a lot like edible mushrooms, this is a very big problem.
Can Rabbits Eat Mushrooms?
No, a rabbit should never eat mushrooms. Even human edible mushrooms are out of bounds for rabbits.
This is because even though a lot of mushrooms are edible for humans, they will still make your rabbit sick – albeit probably not a life-threatening sickness with edible ones.
You have to remember that a rabbit’s anatomy and biology is a lot different from that of humans. We are fairly unique in that the human constitution is absolutely amazing.
We are one of the most poison and toxin resistant animals on earth, we can eat so many foods that other animals can’t, and we can even consume foods that we shouldn’t – looking at you chilis and chocolate.
Rabbits simply don’t have that robustness. They have evolved to be grazers on grass, one of the least dangerous foods in the entire world – seriously, like half the animals on earth eat it.
So, while eating an edible mushroom is a delight for us, it will make your rabbit’s health decline and may make them quite ill – even potentially killing them.
As such, if you are cooking with mushrooms make sure that your rabbit is out of the kitchen, and you clean up properly afterwards, like you would with a dog and onions.
If you are outside for a little romp in the grass, keep a wary eye out for any food your rabbit might pick up. Toadstools and other small mushrooms can appear out of nowhere and are deadly for your dear little bunny.
One thing to mention about why mushrooms are so bad is there are a few out there that can induce the disease mycotoxicosis, a truly terrible affliction that will probably kill your rabbit outright.
This will cause lethargy, appetite loss, and a brown discharge from your rabbit’s rear. If you notice these symptoms, seek help immediately.
What Can I Do If My Rabbit Eats Mushrooms?
This depends on where you are at the time. If you are outdoors, in an open space with lots of grass, and you notice your rabbit eating a mushroom, you have to act immediately.
Take the rest of the mushroom out of its mouth and get a sample of what it has just eaten. Then call the vet immediately for an emergency appointment and bring that sample with you.
Mushroom poisonings are rapid onset, and there are many types of mushrooms that can cause problems, so you will need that sample to identify it.
A vet may be the only thing that can save your bunny at this moment, so move fast.
If your rabbit has consumed a culinary mushroom that you might have dropped on the floor while cooking, they are in less danger, but are still likely to become sick. Therefore, you should still call the vet immediately.
This is unlikely to be fatal for your pet, but it will cause the rabbit quite a bit of pain and probably some intestinal distress. If this is left untreated, then it may develop into something worse and eventually lead to death.
How To Prevent Mushroom Poisoning In Rabbits?
If the rabbit is housebound, then it is fairly easy as all you have to do is keep mushrooms out of the house or, if you want to keep eating them, then just keep your rabbit out of the kitchen when you cook and check the floor for any scraps that may have fallen before allowing them back in.
If your rabbit runs around the garden or is taken outside, then you need to be more thorough. Check the lawn and any heavily vegetated area for potential sprouting mushrooms.
If you find any, remove them from the area and chuck them away. Once you are sure it is fine, let your rabbit roam, but keep an eye on it.
Video: Foods Your Rabbit Should Never Eat
This entire video is interesting, but you can skip to 13:25 for the section on mushrooms.
Rabbits shouldn’t eat mushrooms, as even edible mushrooms can cause gastric distress and other mushrooms can be fatal. Keep an eye on what they eat and everything should be fine.