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Pretty much every iconic image of Bugs Bunny shows him with a carrot in his hand/paw. For many people, this image of Bugs is one of the first things which pops into their mind when considering what to feed a bunny. If you put a carrot in with a bunny, they will be extremely happy and do their best to eat the whole thing no matter how big, in a single meal. So it must be good, right?

When it comes to pet rabbit diet, is Bugs Bunny a good role model?

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    Bugs Bunny was a wild rabbit. The extra calories and sugar probably served him well in escaping crazy martians, ducks, and inept hunters. If your rabbit has to deal with the same type of things then yes its probably good. – user9 Dec 30 '13 at 21:27
  • possible duplicate of What are the basic requirements of a healthy adult rabbit's diet? – user9 Jan 6 '14 at 14:49
  • While there is a similarity between the two, this question focuses on one specific item (whole carrots) and one specific character. The intent is to capture people searching the web for this particularly well known combination, and hopefully offer them advice that will save somebunnies life. – James Jenkins Jan 6 '14 at 15:51
  • Could you at least change the question to "is feeding a rabbit a carrot based diet healthy?" I get the title and the reference. It is the actual question being asked that I think needs to be improved. – user9 Jan 7 '14 at 13:30
  • I would suspect the question title approaches the "porcelain bowl" question title territory for some. Not for me, but maybe for others. – JoshDM Jan 7 '14 at 13:35
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Bugs Bunny is not a good role model for house rabbits. This related question and supporting information at Wikipedia indicate he uses the carrot the same way some comedians use a cigar, and as a satire of a scene by Clark Gable.

According to guidelines carrots and other NON-LEAFY VEGETABLES should should form only a small part of your rabbits diet. Large quantities of sugary items (like carrots) can be fatal to your bunny, resulting in GI Stasis.

Carrots are particularly harmful to rabbits due to their high sugar content. Most carrot are about 7% sugar as opposed other non-leafy greens like celery which has about half as much sugar. It is no surprise that fruits like apples are high in sugar, but an apple only has about twice as much sugar as a carrot. To make matters worse the apple which is easy to recognize as a treat has over half of it's sugar as fructose, while only a small part of the carrot sugar is fructose. The amount of fructose is important because the ability of the post-weaning rabbit's small intestine to digest fructose (fruit sugar) increases, while the ability to digest all other sugars decreases (Buddington 1990). So these non fructose sugars are more likely to arrive in the cecum (or caecum) where they create a change in the pH of the cecum and eventually can throw the whole system off.

Treat carrots like candy, and offer sparingly as an occasional treat. Bugs Bunny like many bigger than life characters, is not a good roll model for a house rabbit.

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Primarily bunnies need lots of hay - what type depends on the age of the bunny - here is an excellent source for bunny diet: http://rabbit.org/what-to-feed-your-rabbit/

Our get unlimited hay buffets of orchard grass, timothy and a bit of oat grass, and then a scoop of alfalfa pellets. An occasional alfalfa cube as a toy/treat. They get daily "bunny bowls" filled with leafy greens and favorite foods - they like fresh apples, broccoli, carrots. The preferred bunny treat for our three bunns is dried apples from Trader Joes.

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  • Good but remove to improve - Apples and Carrots are very high in sugar. A better answer would link to rabbit.org/suggested-vegetables-and-fruits-for-a-rabbit-diet and point out that a full size carrot for a bunny, is like giving a 2 pound bag of candy to a child, only much more likely to fatally disrupt the bunnies digestive track. – James Jenkins Dec 29 '13 at 16:21
  • We only ever buy baby carrots. I guess I never really even consider the full size carrot variety, thanks for the correction! – J.Mroz Dec 29 '13 at 20:32
  • Becarefull broccoli can cause gas in rabbit stomachs which they are unable to pass in most cases. This can be very painful and even deadly. – user9 Dec 30 '13 at 15:40
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No, carrots are very high in sugar and should not make up the bulk of a rabbit's diet. If they are given as a meal, it must be in moderation, and I mean moderation, only feed them as a meal twice a month at most. They are better used as an occassional treat, as they are like chocolate to a bunny. What you should feed them lots of is hay, specifically timothy hay. They also need fresh fruits and vegetables like cabbage and blueberries (which my bunny, Snowball, LOVES). In addition, when you make changes to their diet, do it slowly. Rapid changes can cause their intestinal flora to change dramatically and most likely lead to death. I learned a lot of this from personal experience, but I did do a lot of research before getting my bunny, which sadly few people do these days and the bunnies die because the owners have no idea how to care for them. I would like to say to those owners that this is what they get for not thinking ahead.

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