Bunnies are natural nibblers and grazers that tend to eat all food in sight. Their favorite food is fresh grass and hays, and it composes most of their diet. They are also allowed to eat fruits and vegetables but with moderation and constant monitoring.
But why is it that they also eat their poop? Usually, it is easy to be disgusted if we are ignorant about their unique habits. The eating-poop habit of adorable bunnies is their way of getting the nutrients needed by their bodies.
Anyways, as bunny owners, you do not have to worry about it because it is completely safe and normal. The least you could do is to be educated about their eating habits and other things you can do to improve their lifestyle.
These often-weird habits of individual animals have important implications when it comes to their healthy lifestyle. Let us dig into the details as to why these adorable bunnies have this kind of habit.
Frequently asked questions:
Why do Bunnies Eat Their Poop?
The reason is simple, bunnies are herbivore animals eating weeds or grass, and these types of food are hard to digest. As foods enter their digestive system, nutrients are not completely digested after they release it. Therefore, bunny feces still contains nutrients, and this is what they are after.
To put it simply, it must enter their intestine again for them to get all the nutrients present in the food. Once it becomes a poop, they can eat it again to ensure that every nutrient is reabsorbed and goes directly to their bodies.
Moreover, these unique bunny poop that is edible for them is called cecotropes. The act of eating the poop is called coprophagy. Usually, their poops come in two different forms: black with a rounded shape, and black softer ones.
Keep in mind, cecotropes are particular bunny feces that are rich in nutrients, and it must re-enter their digestive tract to get such nutrients. Also, these feces have more proteins but less fiber. It is also rich in B vitamins necessary for the bunnies to maintain good health.
Aside from that, they usually eat their poops twice a day either early in the morning or late at night. When this happens, just let them do their thing because it is an integral part of the bunny’s diet.
Is It Important To Eat Their Poop?
Yes, it is crucial since cecotropes only pass once a day; owners alike should not prevent their bunnies from eating it; otherwise, all the nutrients in those particular feces will be wasted. If that happens, it could harm your bunny’s overall diet.
Remember, they eat cecotropes to keep them in shape because of the necessary nutrients and vitamins they get from it. Interestingly, they get more nutrients from eating cecotropes compared to the first ingestion of the food.
The withdrawal of these special feces is made by “cecum” that contains a perfect balance of fungi and bacteria. This enabled cecotropes to form inside the bunny’s digestive tract. The other type of poop is called fecal pellets. Bunnies do not eat these, and it is commonly found in their cage or litter box.
What Are The Benefits They Can Get From Eating Their Poop?
Mainly, what they get are nutrients and vitamins. These nutrients and vitamins are crucial for your bunny’s survival.
Cecotropes are filled with nutrients like fiber, protein, and vitamins K and B12. The repetition of this cycle allows your bunnies to digest more nutrition from their food.
Furthermore, cecotropes have a strong smell due to the intestinal bacteria all over it. If you found feces that are shiny, soft, and covered by a mucus layer, that’s when you know it is a healthy cecotrope.
When they eat it, they typically duck their head under, and once they get the cecotrope, they sit up and chew it.
However, you must be wary of the cecotropes’ problems and its effect on your lovely bunnies.
First, an extreme amount of cecotropes is a sign of an unhealthy diet. It is due to a problematic eating cycle, resulting in an imbalance of carbs and sugar in their diet. The cause is by giving your bunnies too many treats instead of hays.
Another problem done by excess cecotropes is the damaging of fur. Since excess cecotropes cannot be eaten, they get smashed and will scatter all over the cage. Also, it will attract flies that can be dangerous to the adorable bunnies.
The next problem is an over-sized bunny. If a bunny is too big, they cannot maneuver themselves to eat the cecotropes. This will lead to a lack of nutrition by skipping the re-ingestion of particular feces.
Lastly, a liquid or runny looking cecotropes. This kind of cecotropes is unhealthy. This means that your bunnies are not getting enough hays that supply fiber in their diet. Therefore, you should limit giving treats to your bunnies and start feeding them a bundle of hays.
What Will Happen To My Bunnies If They Do Not Eat Cecotropes?
There are several reasons as to why your bunnies are not eating cecotropes. One of which is that your bunnies might be eating so many treats instead of cecotropes.
If you give them a massive amount of treats, they will be full and not bother eating cecotropes. Much worse, they will produce unhealthy cecotropes, which can be unsafe for them. Other circumstances might make them feel sick, hence consult your trusted veterinarian.
Unfortunately, if this happens to your bunnies, make sure to solve it immediately. Bunnies that are not eating cecotropes could pose a significant threat to their lifestyle. Always remember the benefits of cecotropes and how important it is for your lovely bunnies.
Is There Anything I Can Do As A Bunny Owner?
Choosing bunnies as a pet is challenging and fulfilling at the same time. Those cute faces covered by silky fur are challenging to resist. But you must also understand your responsibilities as owners to keep them healthy.
Here are the things you can do to help them:
- Observe proper diet
You can do so by strictly following a healthy eating cycle. Always provide them with hays and fewer treats like fruits and vegetables. Also, ensure that they will eat healthy cecotropes every other day.
This is the most essential part of being a bunny owner. A failure to follow a healthy diet could mean suffering to the bunnies. Thus, observe a proper diet for your bunnies.
- Be attentive in their action.
Always check them to see any abnormal behaviors. For example, observe if they eat enough hays or cecotropes. If not, then there could be a severe problem with those bunnies. This is when you should call for a doctor’s help.
- Please do not be ashamed of their weird habit.
After knowing the benefits and threats regarding cecotropes, you, as the owner, are already enlightened about what to do. Instead of feeling disgusted by coprophagy, why not think of their satisfaction rather than yours. Besides, taking animals as pets does not only serve personal advantage, we must also give those amazing animals the best treatment we can give as owners in return.
Always remember, every animal has its unique habits that may seem strange to us but essential for them. This includes the eating-poop habit or coprophagy of the bunnies.