Rabbits can’t resist themselves whenever they see something leafy and green. In general, hay is the most common part of a rabbit’s diet. But, even rabbits get bored eating the same thing every day. So, many rabbit owners think to branch out the diet of their rabbits. The good thing is, there are a number of veggies that you can feed your rabbit. But, can rabbits eat eggplant?
Yes, you can feed eggplant (aubergines) to your rabbit, but in moderation. Eggplants are rich in vitamins, minerals, as well as fiber content. They belong to that family of plants (nightshade) which is known to have some traces of toxic compounds. So, do remember that you can give only a small part of eggplant to your rabbit. The leaves, stems, and roots of this vegetable are poisonous for rabbits. Raw eggplant has much more nutritional value than dried or cooked ones. Pelletized eggplant benefits rabbits suffering from cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, obesity, and several other health issues.
So, eggplant has both pros and cons for rabbits. Let’s discuss this subject in detail.
Are There Any Health Benefits Of Feeding Eggplants To Rabbits?
Almost all the varieties of eggplants have nearly the same nutritional value. This veggie belongs to the nightshade family Solanaceae. The nutritional value of it based on a 100g sample recorded by USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) is as follows:
|Dietary Fiber||3 grams|
|Vitamin B-6||0.084 milligrams|
As the digestive system of rabbits is far more delicate than we humans, they may find it difficult to digest too much of a vegetable like an eggplant. Hence, only a tiny sliver of eggplant can be fed to the rabbit as a treat.
However, by looking at the table and going through various research papers, we can point out the following health benefits of feeding eggplant to rabbits:
- Eggplant is a good source of fiber.
- It has ample vitamins and minerals too. Rabbit’s body is unable to make vitamins on its own. Hence, it becomes necessary for the rabbit owners to feed their little bunny a vitamin-rich diet, and a small portion of eggplant can help in doing so.
- An appropriate amount of potassium and manganese present in this veggie can aid in the growth of muscles and bones’ development.
- Consumption of eggplant has shown remarkable improvement in rabbits who are suffering from:
- Diabetes mellitus,
- Decreased liver functioning,
- Dyslipidemia (increase in fat percentage in the bloodstream), and
- Diabetes mellitus,
- The eggplant flesh and extract are known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-diabetic properties.
- Eggplant plays a crucial role in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol and triglyceride in a rabbit’s bloodstream. This means obese rabbits can lose weight and become healthy by eating eggplant.
Is It Safe To Feed Eggplant To Rabbits?
You can feed eggplant to rabbits, but only a tiny amount of it. It is advisable to feed eggplant only two times a week at most. It is because all the members of the Solanaceae family, including eggplant, contain solanine which is a toxic glycoalkaloid.
Glycoalkaloids are organic compounds that taste bitter and are typically found in the Solanum genus. Some of these compounds are highly toxic in nature, and solanine is amongst the most poisonous ones.
As per the report of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the main purpose of solanine, which is developed in nightshade family plants, is to prevent insects and other animals from eating the plant. So, it works as a natural pesticide.
You will find a higher concentration of this toxic compound in the green section of the plant or vegetable. However, leaves, stems, and even flesh can have some traces of glycoalkaloids too. Hence, avoid feeding leaves, stems, and roots of eggplant to your rabbit.
The good thing is, eggplants have a lower concentration of solanine compared to other members of the family. So, the risk of getting solanine poisoning in rabbits is meager. Some common symptoms of solanine poisoning are:
- Decrease in body temperature.
- Slow pulse.
- Difficulty in breathing.
- Pain in the stomach.
Vomiting and diarrhea can be seriously dangerous for rabbits. The reason is, rabbits are unable to vomit, and therefore they cannot expel anything out if they have ingested something toxic. They need to digest the whole thing and permeate throughout their entire bodies. This can result in diarrhea.
Diarrhea can be highly dangerous in rabbits and, if left untreated, can lead to your bunny’s death. So, feed only a small portion of eggplant if you don’t want your rabbit to suffer from any of these conditions.
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Eggplant?
It is not a good idea to feed baby rabbits eggplant because their digestive system is much more sensitive than the adult ones. The best option you have is to wait until they grow older.
However, it is also fitting that nutrients present in eggplant help in the healthy growth of rabbits. According to the Journal of nutrition, for the maximum growth of a rabbit, there is a requirement of 0.6% potassium in their daily diet. Other than this, for maintaining normal and healthy bone growth in rabbits, there is a requirement of 0.3 mg of manganese daily. Other than this, vitamin B-6 is amongst the essential vitamins which rabbits require daily. All these nutrients can easily be provided to rabbits by feeding a small piece of eggplant. But, to be on the safer side, you can feed some eggplant to adult rabbits but forget about giving it to the young ones to avoid any health complications.
Can Rabbits Eat Dried Eggplant?
If we take a look at the research done by Colorado State University, dried fruits, and vegetables, including dried eggplant, are not favorable to be fed to rabbits.
Due to the drying process, a lot of vital vitamins and minerals along with the water content are lost in the eggplant. But, the amount of fat and calories remains the same.
The lack of nutrients and high amount of fats and calories in dried eggplant is equivalent to feeding junk food to your rabbit.
Can Rabbits Eat Eggplant Leaves?
It is right that rabbits love to chew on leafy green food. But, do not think of feeding eggplant leaves or tops if you love your rabbit.
The leafy and green part of this vegetable is highly toxic, even more than the flesh itself. It is due to the presence of high levels of solanine. Ingesting the eggplant leaves can result in solanine poisoning in rabbits.
Can Rabbits Eat Cooked Eggplant?
Cooking the eggplant reduces the amount of nutrients in it, and it no longer remains beneficial for the rabbit’s health.
Even if you boil or steam the vegetable, the effect will be the same. In addition to this, while cooking eggplant for human consumption, we add oil, spices, and herb, which can be dangerous for rabbits. They can get fat and develop obesity and heart diseases over time by consuming such food.
Also, there is not much reduction in the solanine content in eggplant after cooking. So, I don’t see anything good in making your rabbit eat cooked eggplant.
After reading the entire article, I hope you may have got the answer to your question: can rabbits eat eggplant? It is safe for them to eat eggplants as long as the rabbits are old enough, i.e., around 7 months old.
Also, the veggies must be fed to your bunny in moderation to avoid any gastrointestinal complications.
Additionally, you should avoid feeding eggplant leaves, tops, stems, and roots to your rabbit as they are toxic due to the presence of a higher amount of solanine. Even baby rabbits should not be fed eggplants because they have a delicate stomach.
In the end, eggplant can offer a variety of health benefits to rabbits. So, if you are feeding eggplant to your little furry pal, introduce it slowly to see your bunny’s response and keep a note of digestive problems, if any arises.