I have Bamboo in my backyard with lots of good growth all year round. I want to know if the leaves and shoots can be eaten by rabbits?

I do not have any rabbits yet, but I am trying to scope out the concept on whether I can make it feasible to purchase a hutch and raise a few in a more cost efficient manner using the growth I currently have in my yard. And of course using the rabbit manure to fertilize my plants also.

  • First of all, make sure it is actual bamboo and not one of the other plants called bamboo, such as heavenly bamboo or lucky bamboo.
    – augurar
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 3:30
  • I am pretty sure it is a mid-size running type of bamboo. It stands well over 20 feet for a few of the shoots and was planted only a year and a few months ago. Got any good websites to help better identify thes species? Would love to read them.
    – Brian H
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 5:26
  • and thank you for the edits, I failed twelve years of English :)
    – Brian H
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 5:29
  • 1
    Bring samples of the leaves of the bamboo to a nursery. They can help identify the exact species.
    – Beth Lang
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 8:12
  • 1
    @BrianH You originally asked this question on Gardening & Landscaping. We'd welcome a question about identifying the bamboo over there. Include photos and as many details as you can: height, how fast it's spreading, bark color, leaf color and size, etc. There are lots of bamboo varieties, so the more detail the better.
    – Cucamonga
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 16:28

2 Answers 2


No, your rabbits shouldn't be allowed to eat bamboo shoots, they are toxic to rabbits. There is a site which lists what a rabbit's diet should consist of, including what they shouldn't be allowed to eat. I give the site address below, but have no clue how to turn it into a proper link, so not sure how much help it'll be if someone else doesn't make it a proper link:


In case this attempt to provide the web link is unsuccessful, the following are toxic to rabbits:

  • potatoes or potato skins;
  • potato plant leaves;
  • tomato plant (and probably aubergine and peppers, since they're all solanum varieties);
  • apple seeds;
  • iceberg lettuce (bit confused about this, I thought it was all lettuce that shouldn't be given);
  • rhubarb and rhubarb leaves;
  • fresh catnip (Nepeta);
  • apple pips/seeds;
  • onion;
  • avocado;
  • boxwood (Buxus varieties);
  • maize;
  • buttercup;
  • peas;
  • beans;
  • ragwort;
  • leek;
  • chocolate;
  • any bulb (tulips, daffodils, etc);
  • bread;
  • bindweed (not sure which species they mean by this, probably convulvulus);
  • bamboo shoots.
  • +1 good choice in listing the items, if that links dies this answer will still have good information. You may want to look at this related question you may also want to consider improving this answer with information from a second source like rabbit.org/?s=diet there are several items that different sources do not agree on as being good or bad. Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 13:01
  • I like the link but when I looked at it for my answer there wasn't bamboo. What I'd do is find a resource (not one of mine) and support the bamboo thing like I did above. That is just for proving that you're right.
    – Derrick K.
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 23:37
  • @Derrick K - its there, I just followed the link to check it was working okay - scroll down to the bottom where the big fluorescent pink squares are - bamboo shoots are mentioned in the left hand one, at the bottom.
    – bamboo
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 13:33
  • just fyi, the toxic part of bamboo is cyanide, which can be boiled out of young shoots and make them fit for even human consumption, but they are almost nil in nutrients; not a great rabbit feed.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 22:08

Foods to avoid feeding your rabbit: Beets (sugary), Breakfast cereals, Chocolate (NEVER give this to any pet - it is poisonous to most), Corn (rabbits can't digest the hulls of the corn kernels), Diatomaceous Earth - this is made from finely ground shells, and even the highest quality can have edges which act like razor blades against the thin lining of a rabbits stomach lining. Do not use for food or litter,Fresh peas, Grains, Green beans (can cause gas), Iceberg lettuce (and any light green lettuce leaves - they are high in water content but low in nutrients and may cause diahrrea) - can be gven in small amounts or when you have no other greens to offer, but watch the output for soft stools, Legumes, Nuts, Onions, Pelleted food with seeds mixed in (it's a treat to the bunnies but the seeds cause stomach problems), Potatoes (white or red), Seeds of any kind, Starches of any kind, Sugar, in any form (small quantities of treats are allowed, but no more than a tablespoon of fruit or raisins or anything containing any types of sugar)

Foods that are toxic to rabbits: Note: do not allow your rabbit to eat dried leaves from any trees - too many types are very toxic and some can cause cyanide poisoning (this includes specifically apple tree leaves, oak leaves, maple leaves, etc). If you allow your rabbit an outdoor run, please clear the area of leaves as the rabbit may find them very tasty, but they are very dangerous!! Foods that contain compounds that destroy nutrients: Sweet potato, Cassava, Bamboo shoots, Maize, Lima beans, Millet, Bracken fern, Tea leaves, Coffee plants.

Generally toxic: Rhubarb leaves, Raw lima, kidney or soy beans, Onions, Citrus peels.

Oxalates (causes pain and swelling of mouth and throat, swollen tissue can restrict breathing or cause suffocation.) Begonia, Caladium, Calla lily, Diffenbachia, Dumbcane, Jack in the pulpit, Philodendron, Schefflera.

Minor Toxicities (causes vomiting, diarrhea, nausea) Aloe vera, Amaryllis, Bird of paradise, Birch, Boxwood Cedar, Chrysanthemum, Daffodil, Daisy, Eucalyptus, Galiola, Hydrangea, Haycinth, Iris, Juniper, Redwood tree, Rananculus, Sweet pea, Sweet william, Violas.

Extremely Toxic (one leaf can kill) Angels Trumpet, Azalea, Black Acacia and Locast, Bleeding Heart, Carmellia, Carnation, Carolinia Jasmine, Castor Beans, Christmas Beans, China Berry, Clementis, Coffee Tree Plant, Cyclamen, Daphne, Delphinium, Easter Lily, Elderberry, Flax, Four-o-clocks, Geranium, Heavenly Bamboo, Hemlock, Holly Berries, Ivy, Jerusalem cherry, Lantana, Larkspur, Licorice plant, Lily of the valley, Lobelia, Milkvetch, Monkshood, Morning glory, Mountain laurel, Narcissus, Nightshade Loeander, Pea family, Pig weed, Potato plant, Pivet, Rhododendron, String of pearls, Thorn apple, Toyon, Vinca, Wintergreen, Wisteria, Tew. From: http://board.smallanimalchannel.com/Topic9319.aspx

Bamboo shoots when raw have cyanide. Cyanide is highly toxic and results in rapid breathing, pale extremities, coma, and possibly death. The toxins can depend from plant to plant but I would not risk it. The ones sold for human consumption need to be cooked/treated to release the toxins. It is not listed as a safe food for bunnies. From: http://www.rabbitsonline.net/showthread.php?t=66688

Hope this helps. Did extensive research and I found the best articles/websites that would hopefully help.

  • I thought I might have to identify the Bamboo species first, but knowing all species are harmful is helpful, and I hope it makes it easier for others also, thank you Derrick.
    – Brian H
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 0:09
  • I decided to just go with it. When you identify it tell me so that I can edit my answer. Go with it for now
    – Derrick K.
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 0:10
  • It brings an interesting thought, if the sites say the shoots are harmful, what about the leaves?
    – Brian H
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 0:11
  • I would think that the leaves might be harmful. Let me check to find out
    – Derrick K.
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 0:12
  • Probably yes. Since the shoot shares DNA with the leaves, just to be safe you might want to boil/cook the leaves with it too just in case if they do have cyanide.
    – Derrick K.
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 0:13

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