When you adopted your bunny, you were sure they stuck to a purely plant-based diet. Finding your bun with a grasshopper leg hanging out of its mouth can be quite a shock.
Do rabbits eat grasshoppers, and is it safe?
Rabbits don’t eat grasshoppers (intentionally). Rabbits are herbivores (their diet consists of plants, grass, and hay). If insects get into their food, they may eat it accidentally. If a grasshopper is in their living environment, they may bite the grasshopper out of curiosity or if they’re territorial.
If your rabbit has started eating grasshoppers, and you’re concerned about their health and well-being, this guide will provide you with the information you need.
Is it Okay for Rabbits to Eat Grasshoppers?
If your bun accidentally eats a grasshopper, it will be fine. However, eating more than one can be dangerous as grasshoppers have a very high protein content. Your bun’s digestive system is not equipped to handle that much protein or to digest a grasshopper.
Let’s take a closer look at why it’s not okay for your bun to eat grasshoppers:
Your floppy-eared friend eats plants (they are herbivores), and their diet is high in fiber and low in protein.
Rabbits have very fragile digestive systems and can develop gastrointestinal stasis when they eat food that isn’t part of their diet (such as grasshoppers).
Your bunny’s digestive system is designed to handle plant matter only.
No Nutritional Value
Grasshoppers have a very high protein content and large amounts of fats and carbohydrates, which are unsuitable for your bun’s diet. Rabbits need a diet that’s high in fiber to help keep their digestive tract working properly.
Grasshoppers have very little fiber content, so eating them would not provide the right nutritional value for your bun.
Your bun has teeth that are designed to tear up plant matter. Their teeth cannot break down food with a hard outer shell, such as a grasshopper. Therefore, they won’t be able to properly break open the grasshopper’s hard exterior.
This can result in a blockage in their digestive tract, as they can’t chew and digest the grasshopper.
Your floppy-eared friend is a prey animal (a food source for predators), which means they have no interest (or instinct) to hunt down other animals or insects.
Unlike cats or dogs that naturally stalk and eat other animals and insects, your bun does not need to hunt or feed on prey.
Rabbits prefer immobile and inanimate food, like hay, pellets, and plants. Food that moves is more likely to send your bun scurrying away from fear.
What Happens If Rabbits Eat Grasshoppers?
If your rabbit accidentally eats bits of a grasshopper, it won’t cause any harm.
However, if your bun eats a whole grasshopper or several grasshoppers, this can be a problem. The high protein content can cause your bun to have an upset stomach.
Here’s a look at some symptoms your floppy-eared companion may experience if they eat grasshoppers:
- A build-up of gas
- Intestinal blockage
- Lack of appetite
- Hunched over in pain
- Obvious lethargy
Risks of Feeding Rabbits Grasshoppers
Although grasshoppers seem pretty harmless as a food source, some severe risks come with a rabbit consuming too many grasshoppers.
Here’s a closer look at some of the risks of feeding rabbits grasshoppers:
Choking Hazard and Digestive Issues
As mentioned, your bun’s teeth aren’t made for breaking apart insects such as grasshoppers or beetles. Grasshoppers are known to grow up to around 2.75 inches, which is pretty large for a bunny.
Your bun can easily choke on a grasshopper, which can result in death if left untreated. A rabbit’s digestive system cannot successfully digest a grasshopper, resulting in intestinal blockage.
Diseases and Parasites
Surprisingly, grasshoppers carry numerous diseases and parasites that can make your bun very ill if ingested, such as:
- Mycotoxicosis causes your rabbit’s skin to crust, the loss of fur, and necrosis around their tails in severe cases.
- Typhlitis causes severe and continuous diarrhea, which, if left untreated, can be fatal.
- Viral hemorrhagic disease (RHD) is a severe disease in rabbits that causes fever, lethargy, difficulty breathing and bleeding from the nose and mouth.
- Horsehair worms and pinworms (parasites) can cause lethargy, weight loss, and diarrhea in rabbits.
Another risk of feeding grasshoppers to your bun is that the grasshopper might have insecticide or poisons on their body. Many farmers and gardeners spray insecticide on their plants to keep grasshoppers away (grasshoppers eat their plants).
If your bunny eats a grasshopper that has insecticide on its body, this can cause numerous problems, such as:
- Abdominal tenderness and pain
- Internal or external bleeding
- Difficulty breathing
If your rabbit displays any of these symptoms, you must get them to a vet immediately. If they aren’t treated in time, it can lead to death.
What Insects Do a Rabbit Eat?
Your bun will not intentionally eat insects. However, there is a chance that they may accidentally eat bugs with their food (insects crawl and hide in hay).
Let’s take a look at what insects a rabbit can accidentally eat:
- Small crickets
What Happens If Rabbits Eat Bugs?
If you notice your bun munching on a grasshopper (or any bug), you will need to monitor them carefully to see if they have any reaction. There are plenty of bugs living in your house and garden that can cause your rabbit to become very ill, such as:
- Venomous spiders
Not only will eating bugs cause digestive problems, but the poison from certain insects can also kill your rabbit. Avoid allowing your bun to roam in areas such as dark cupboards, under beds, or in dark corners that could have dangerous insects.
My Last Bunny Thoughts
While munching on a grasshopper might seem harmless, these insects can wreak havoc in your rabbit’s tummy. Grasshoppers also carry numerous parasites and diseases.
Rabbits are curious animals, and you may notice your rabbit tearing a grasshopper apart when they mean to eat their hay. If your floppy-eared friend continues munching this creepy crawlies, this may indicate that you need to adjust their diet.
It’s best to keep your bun away from insects to avoid unpleasant symptoms or painful bites. If your rabbit shows any symptoms, take them to the vet as soon as possible.