Also called invertebrates and more than one million species, bugs represent half of the living organisms. They can be found in almost every corner of the earth. However, most humans see bugs as invasive and destructive.
Even though bugs have a reputation for being destructive, they make good meals for your little bunny friend. Read further to know if your rabbits can eat bugs and the types of bugs they can eat.
Can Rabbits Eat Bugs?
Rabbits are herbivores. They depend on high fiber treats to meet up with their nutrient requirements. Even though their main food is hay, veggies and herbs can be given as snacks. Since bunnies are naturally curious, they might see a bug and eat it.
If you realize it is chewing a bug, you don’t have to fear. First, confirm the kind of bug your bunny is chewing. If it is a harmless bug, there’s no need to worry. It is entirely normal for your rabbit to feed on bugs.
You have to be cautious of what your bunny eats. Keep your environment clean to keep away poisonous bugs. However, if your rabbit develops the habit of eating bugs, try to discourage it so that it won’t accidentally eat deadly bugs like spiders.
Some spiders are poisonous, so it would be harmful if your pet bunny were to ingest a poisonous spider. Instead, feed your bunny with the right bugs, which you must have cooked to make it soft, chewable, and free from bacteria or viruses.
Also, bugs can serve as playmates to your furry friend. Your rabbits will most likely chase after bugs that are disturbing their territory.
A little exercise can help burn excess fat in your rabbit, but too much running around can tire your rabbit out. Since rabbits can eat bugs, what type of bugs should you feed them?
With soft bodies that proliferate between miles, caterpillars are the larvae of the Lepidoptera family. Caterpillars feed on leaves, wool, or insects.
Depending on the species, you find them attached to leaves or the hay you provide your bunny. As such, it’s inevitable for your bunny not to munch on them mistakenly.
In addition, caterpillars are rich in protein, although their appearance – shape, color, and appearance – might annoy your rabbit. If it’s large-sized, your bunny might see it as a threat.
Some caterpillars even have growths that look like thorns. If your rabbits turn up their noses, don’t force them. Also, not all caterpillars are harmless. Therefore, be careful with the types you feed your bunnies.
Crickets mainly have cylindrical bodies with long antennae and round heads. Except in places 55° and above, crickets can be found almost everywhere, from bushes to grassland, beaches to caves, forests to marshes.
They are known for their loud, continuous chirping, which will most likely disturb your bunny’s attention.
In some parts of the world, they serve as human food, meaning that crickets are entirely harmless and are safe for your rabbit. They are a good source of protein, vitamins, zinc, iron, magnesium, pantothenic acid, calcium, folate, copper, minerals, and fiber.
They are eusocial insects that belong to the Formicidae family and are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and distinctive node-like structure that makes their tiny waists.
They form 15% to 25% of terrestrial animal biomass and thrive in most ecosystems. Antarctica is the only continent where ants can’t be found. They are hard-working insects but can be a nuisance sometimes.
When your rabbit eats an ant, it clears its territory of disturbance. Ants also serve as an excellent protein source that combats oxidative stress and supports heart health.
They also contain fiber, phosphorus, zinc, vitamins, and minerals. The ants that are good for your rabbits are honey, leaf-cutting ants, weaver ants, and black ants.
These insects form the order Coleoptera. Beetles feed on plants and might attach themselves to the greens you provide your bunny. If you don’t wash the greens correctly, your bunny will accidentally eat the beetles.
Beetles are the most significant order of insects, with almost 400,000 species, and can be found in nearly all habitats, including coastal and freshwater habitats.
Wherever vegetative foliage is found, be it flower to bark to the tree itself, leaves, plants, and inside plants, living, dead or decaying, a beetle will indeed be found.
Beetle species have different colors – black, red, yellow, orange, or pink with dotted spots. Research shows that an adult beetle has 70% protein, low-fat minerals, and 47.4% essential amino acids.
These insects are only safe for your rabbit when they are still larvae. As such, not all beetles are edible. Some are poisonous. Besides, it’s unlikely for your rabbit to eat adult beetles unless it sees them as a threat.
Belonging to the order Blattodea, roaches are seen as dirty pests. They live in many habitats around the world, especially in the tropics and subtropics. Some live in leaf litter, especially the small ones.
Your rabbit might feed on them accidentally while sniffing through the ground for food. They are flattened and oval with long antennae as long as their bodies.
Cockroaches are healthy food for farm animals. The remains of this bug are even said to cure some stomach issues and other health problems.
Cockroaches are edible and high in protein, but if you want to give them to your rabbits, cook them first. Cooking destroys the bacteria. Besides, it makes the roaches tasty, fragrant, and crunchy.
They have high nutritional value and detoxifying properties and effectively relieve sore throat and cirrhosis. Even with all the benefits, give them to your furry friend moderately.
With big, bright, and colorful wings, butterflies are worldwide. There are about 20,000 species in the world, contributing to a thriving ecosystem. As an indication of a healthy ecosystem, butterflies are naturally one of the most appealing creatures.
Since rabbits are curious, they will try to catch butterflies when they see them. If you find your rabbit jumping and running happily, it won’t stop until it has gotten the butterfly.
If it gets it, it will probably eat it. There’s no harm if your rabbit eats a butterfly. Your rabbit will only ignore a butterfly if it’s tired.
They are winged insects that are closely related to ants and wasps. They are of monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea. Presently, there are over 16,000 recognized species of bees.
Except for Antarctica, bees can be found with insect-pollinated flowering plants on all continents. Bees are edible, and their larvae and pupae can be eaten. Mostly, stingless bees are eaten.
For example, there is an Indonesian dish where bee larvae are eaten with rice and coconut shreds wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. If you have ever tried this dish, you might be tempted to give it to your rabbit.
Bees are high in carbohydrates and protein, a source of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, choline, copper, selenium, iron, and zinc but low in calcium. Bee pollen found on leaves or flowers is beneficial as it relieves inflammation.
It also works as an antioxidant and boosts liver health. Your bunny might find the humming of adult bees annoying, thereby chasing it away from its territory. Your rabbit can bite them and even swallow the whole bee in the attempt. Bees are mostly harmless, so it’s okay.
Like other insects, a rabbit would not consciously eat earthworms to supplement its diet. If it does, it’s unintentional. Probably during the process of eating grass, it mistakenly eats the worm.
If your rabbit ingests worms in little quantity, it is no big deal as it has been proven that earthworms in small amounts are beneficial to rabbits. However, it becomes harmful when your rabbit consumes them in large quantities.
This is because rabbits are herbivores, and their digestive systems are not wired to digest meat, including earthworms. Earthworms have been said to provide about 30% protein for a rabbit and help the digestibility of food by 5%.
However, some worms would put a rabbit in harm’s way if ingested. The red wiggler, for example, lets out poisonous mucous when in danger. This could be harmful to your rabbit.
Rabbits tend to eat up fleas and ticks when they see one. Rabbits can catch fleas, especially while grooming themselves.
This is not usually a cause for alarm as it is normal, but if your rabbit eats an infected flea, it will get sick. Therefore, it is vital to watch out for fleas on your rabbit and deal with them in time.
Your rabbits can eat bugs, but you must be careful of giant bugs. Even though the bugs are nutritious, you should not rely on feeding your rabbit bugs as a source of nutrients. Stick to rabbits’ main diet; bugs should only serve as snacks.
Ensure you keep giant or poisonous insects away from your rabbit. If you choose to feed your rabbit bugs, do it moderately.