Q&A: Famous rabbit nosh is a 14-carrot mistake
Q: We have a bunny in the classroom, and I want to make sure he is getting a proper diet. The kids love to give him carrots; is that all right?
A: Peter Rabbit notwithstanding, carrots are not a good treat for rabbits, let alone a regular meal. They are high in sugar and can quickly upset a bunny's tummy. It's not difficult to feed rabbits, but they do have distinct dietary needs. Rabbits are herbivores, and they need to eat grasses such as hay or timothy every day. Other good additions to their diet include a cup per day of leafy greens, such as cilantro, dandelion greens, kale and red-leaf lettuce.
Pelleted diets are available for rabbits, but they should be a supplement to the hay and greens, not the sole diet. Choose plain pellets, and don't give more than one-quarter cup per day.
What about treats? If you want to give some fruit, offer a small piece of organic apple peel or the top of a strawberry. Skip carrots, bananas, yogurt treats or other dairy foods, and anything that contains honey or seeds.
Remember that rabbits are much smaller than humans. When you give a treat, the portion size should be no larger than the joint end of your pinky finger. It's best to let one child each day offer the bunny a treat, instead of running the risk of overfeeding him and causing stomach upset.