rabbit eating nuts

Can Rabbits Eat Nuts? Types | Risks | and More

We’ve often seen bunnies munching on fresh carrots on screen and in storybooks. But did you know, carrots are high in sugar and should only be fed in tiny amounts to your pet rabbits? Now, that’s a whole lot of misinformation we’ve been fed, right? With rabbits, you have to be really careful about what you give them. So, let’s see how nuts fare. Can rabbits eat nuts?

Can Rabbits Eat Nuts? Rabbits are ‘hind-gut’ fermenters that can extract a high amount of nutrition from smaller quantities of feed. And nuts are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. They’re rich in fat, protein, and carbohydrate, along with vitamins and minerals. A rabbit’s digestive system will not be able to handle foods that are high in carbohydrates, fat, and energy. So, the answer to can rabbits eat nuts is ‘no’.

rabbit eating nuts

Rabbits are like horses. I mean, they both are hind-gut fermenters.

A rabbit’s digestive system will not be able to handle foods that are high in carbohydrate, fat, and energy. So, the answer to can rabbits eat nuts is ‘no’.

But there are lots of variations of nuts out there, and it can be confusing. Technically, a nut is a fruit with an edible seed within a hard shell — like hazelnuts, acorns, and chestnuts. The term is also typically used in culinary to include almonds, cashews, peanuts, and pistachios, among others.

Below, we’ve shed some light on different kinds of nuts, and if they’re any good for your rabbits.

Can Rabbits Eat Hazelnuts?

Hazelnuts have high nutrimental value. They’re rich in phosphorus, sugar, fat, calcium, and fiber. However, a high intake of calcium and phosphorus will result in acidity in rabbits. Likewise, the high-fat content simply outweighs any likely benefits hazelnuts would have provided. So, no. Giving hazelnuts to your rabbits is harmful to their health.

Can Rabbits Eat Chestnuts?

With chestnuts, people on the internet have divided views. Some believe that chestnuts are not harmful to rabbits, but we would still recommend that you refrain from these rather starchy nuts.

Why? Because chestnuts are high in carbohydrates and sugar. For example, one ounce of chestnut contains 15 grams of carbohydrates, 70 calories, and 3 grams of sugar. Now, that’s quite a lot for an ounce. Your rabbit’s digestive system isn’t ‘developed’ enough to process all that.

Can Rabbits Eat Pistachios?

Pistachios make yummy treats to nibble on for many. Unfortunately for rabbits, it’s still a no-no. Pistachios contain sodium, which would be perfect to satiate their daily requirement of salt.

Rabbits need up to 0.5% of sodium in their diet every day. But these nuts also come with a high concentration of acidic fat, phosphorus, and sugar. The shells can be equally detrimental too.

Can Rabbits Eat Cashew Nuts?

From being tasty snacks to making paints and lubricants, the use of cashew nuts are many, but none for rabbits. These delicious nuts are super high in calories. For example, one ounce of cashews contains 157 calories alongside 12 grams of fat.

In fact, cashews contain three unique kinds of fats only. Thus, rabbits can’t have cashews, as obesity brings along other risk factors like cardiovascular and liver diseases too.

Can Rabbits Eat Walnuts?

For a long time, walnuts have reigned as the number one brain food. Thanks to their high omega-3 fatty acid content, these nuts can help in cognitive development.

Excluding the shell, nutritionally, walnuts contain 65% fat, followed by 15% protein, 14% carbohydrates, 7% dietary fiber, and 4% water. The nutrimental value is just the opposite of what rabbits need — high fiber and low fat. Giving walnuts will only upset your pet’s gut.  

Can Rabbits Eat Almonds?

Almond is yet another kind of nut heralded as a super-food. For humans, that’s absolutely right. For rabbits? Not quite so. Almonds are whole foods, which means they have high caloric content.

Actually, almonds are indeed high in fiber and low in sugar, but they are also loaded with fat. To top that off, almonds contain a substance called cyanide. And if rabbits ingest it, it will lead to cyanide poisoning and can even be life-threatening.

So, despite a few virtues, almonds still don’t qualify to be fed to rabbits!

Can Rabbits Eat Monkey Nuts?

Monkey nuts are also known as peanuts, goobers, and groundnuts. And no, they shouldn’t be given to your pet rabbit, just like all the different kinds of nuts we mentioned above. To put it simply, it is loaded with calories, carbohydrates, and fat.

For instance, an ounce of raw peanuts contains 161 calories and just 2.4 grams of fiber! By now, we’re sure you can tell for yourself if you should give your rabbits monkey nuts or not!

Since these are the most common kinds of nuts that we find in stores and eat regularly, we specifically dedicated a paragraph each for them. We did so, so that there’s no room for confusion. 

Can rabbits eat nuts is not a debatable question. They can’t — not any kind of nuts. It won’t absolutely wreak havoc if you feed one or two by mistake, but never consciously give your pet rabbits any. 

What if rabbits accidentally overeat nuts?

Rabbits are strictly herbivores. And just like a cow’s rumen, rabbits have a specialized pouch called the cecum. As rabbits have evolved to meet their nutrient needs through a high fiber and low-energy diet, the cecum helps to digest cellulose fiber.

If your rabbit indulges in nuts by chance, the carbs will mess with the complex flora of cecum. In turn, that will cause loose cecotropes, that’s commonly called poopy butt syndrome! It’s a condition where a rabbit’s soggy poop lathers onto its behind. 

Here are a few other side-effects of overdosing on nuts

  • Excess of vitamin A will damage your rabbit’s joints
  • Nuts contain a naturally-occurring toxin called oxalate which can impair urinary tract and cause itchiness around mount and skin
  • An excess of folic acids can be detrimental to the nervous system
  • Too much calcium will lead to the development of sludge-like deposits in rabbit’s body, which will crystalize and once again cause UTI
  • High intake of sugar and starch will cause yeast overgrowth, resulting in soft stools

Final Thoughts

Rabbits are herbivores. They should rarely have nuts, fruits, and other high-sugar, high-fat, or starchy foods. And nuts are exactly like that. So, can rabbits eat nuts? The answer is a big ‘NO’. 

Don’t panic if your child slid one or two under the table. That’ll only cause bloating or stomach pain at most. But don’t incorporate nuts into your rabbits’ diet. Never! Let’s just stick to high-fiber, low-calorie food like hay!

Hutch and Cage.com does not provide veterinary advice. Our aim is to provide the reader with information to enable them to make a good decision when making a purchase or caring for their pet. All content is therefore for informational purposes only. If you're concerned about the health of your pet you should seek medical advice from a vet.