rabbit eating lettuce

What’s The Best Type Of Lettuce For Rabbits?

When it comes to lettuce, your rabbit is probably a fan. This is a tender green that they are known to find quite tasty. However, too much lettuce can make your rabbit sick. There are also some kinds of lettuce that, no matter the portion, will prove harmful. 

So, what’s the best type of lettuce for rabbits? And how much can you give your rabbit? These are good questions, and each has a simple answer. To safely feed your rabbit lettuce, all you need is a little know-how!

What Sort Of Diet Should A Rabbit Have?

Rabbits require a special diet comprised mostly of fiber. They should never be fed starchy foods (like potatoes, for example).

As a rule, avoid sugar. Never feed your rabbit human food, like cookies, chips, and so on. Iceberg lettuce can also prove a risk. 

rabbit eating lettuce

Instead, rabbits must have plenty of hay in order to thrive! This is a plant that is super low in sugar, yet rich in protein and fiber. For rabbits, Timothy Hay is ideal.

You may also treat your rabbit to certain vegetables, fruits, and greens, as an occasional snack. 

Vitamins & Nutritional Value of lettuce

Here are three of the most common lettuces given to rabbits and the vitamins and nutritional value they offer per serving.

Lettuce NameCaloriesVitaminIU FolatePotassiumCalcium
Iceberg lettuce1Vitamin A: 40IU Folate: 2.3 mcgPotassium: 11.3 mgCalcium: 1.4 mg
Butter lettuce1Vitamin A: 248IU Folate: 5.5 mcgPotassium: 17.8 mgCalcium: 2.6 mg
Romaine lettuce1Vitamin A: 248IU Folate: 5.5 mcgPotassium: 17.8 mgCalcium: 2.6 mg

The Best Lettuces For Rabbits

When picking out lettuce for your bunny, you will want to follow one general rule… the darker the leaves, the better! These are more nutritionally rich, which is what your rabbit will be looking for. If you’re wondering, ‘what’s the best type of lettuce for rabbits,’ here are some great ones, below:

Romaine 

Romaine lettuce is quite popular! This is thanks to its crisp texture and superior richness of flavor. Unlike iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce is free of lactucarium (a compound that, to rabbits, is quite toxic). This tasty green also offers far more vitamins and much more fiber. The result? A healthier kind of lettuce, overall. 

For rabbits, romaine lettuce is a decent source of fiber. Romaine lettuce can also be a source of both vitamin C and vitamin K. 

Lamb’s Lettuce

Lamb’s lettuce is another lettuce that is okay for your rabbit to have. This tender green is an excellent source of beta-carotene, a precious antioxidant that, once digested, turns into vitamin A. 

Like humans, rabbits depend on vitamin A for their eyesight, growth, immune system health, and more.  When considering what’s the best type of lettuce for rabbits, lamb’s lettuce is also a nice source of fiber. 

lettuce
Rabbits love lettuce, but which type is best?

Red or Green Leaf Lettuce

Red leaf lettuce and green leaf lettuce can be perfect for your rabbit. These are low in sugar, carbs, and calories, yet they are full of vitamins and fiber. For example, green leaf lettuce is full of vitamin K. This helps promote bone strength in humans and rabbits alike, as well as healthy blood flow!

Red leaf lettuce, on the other hand, has valuable phytonutrients, which serve to protect the body (in part by boosting the immune system).

Butterhead Lettuce

Have you ever heard of butterhead lettuce? This is another lovely lettuce variety that your bunny can enjoy! As with all lettuce, you will want to be sparing with how much you give them, of course. However, butterhead lettuce is chock-full of nutrients, including fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin K. 

This lettuce also has a fair amount of vitamin C, which happens to be the one vitamin that rabbits do not require. In fact, a rabbit will take harm from an excess of vitamin C. This in mind, be sure to portion butterhead lettuce out to your rabbit with care. This lettuce should not be a staple, but rather a treat or a snack!

types of lettuce
Image Credits @onlyfood.net

So, What’s The Best Type Of Lettuce For Rabbits?

The best type of lettuce for rabbits is, without a doubt, the red or green leaf lettuce variety. These have the most fiber and are the lowest in sugar. With red and green leaf lettuce, your rabbit will also benefit from phytonutrients and vitamin K. 

Romaine lettuce is the runner-up, with plenty of nutrients and fiber as well. You can feed either of these lettuce varieties to your rabbit as much as 2-3 times a week.

How Much Lettuce Can Rabbits Have?

There does exist too much of a good thing… When it comes to rabbits, this definitely applies to lettuce. When it comes to what’s the best type of lettuce for rabbits, even the healthiest have extremely high water content and comparatively low fiber. Lettuce is best administered as a snack. In excess amounts, lettuce will give rabbits diarrhea, and make them very sick.

Along with this, it is advised to feed your rabbit lettuce along with snacks that have more fiber (like an apple, for example). This will make digesting easier.

Your rabbit can have up to two cups of lettuce a day, roughly 3 times a week.

Iceberg Lettuce Is Bad For Rabbits

Did you know that iceberg lettuce is actually bad for rabbits? This lettuce variety is uniquely devoid of nutrients or fiber. 

Along with this, iceberg lettuce contains lactucarium. To rabbits, this can be very harmful. In a large dose (which is not much for a little bunny), lactucarium will actually act as an intoxicant and sedative!  When it comes to what’s the best type of lettuce for rabbits, be sure to cross iceberg lettuce off.

Finally, iceberg lettuce puts your rabbit at risk for the runs, and ultimately wet tail. This is a condition wherein a rabbit will experience near-constant diarrhea, resulting in a wet bottom, AKA wet tail. You will want to avoid this and treat it immediately so that your rabbit does not become seriously sick.

lettuce chart

Other Greens That Your Rabbit Can Munch On

Along with lettuce, there are some other fantastic greens that you can offer your rabbit. These include:

Mustard Greens 

You may feed a little pinch of mustard greens to your rabbit. This is a green that is nice and high in fiber! 

The main downside to mustard greens is that they contain oxalic acid. This means that you will not want to pair them with other foods high in oxalic acid as well. Mustard greens work best as an occasional snack, perhaps once or twice a week.

Carrot Tops

Everyone knows rabbits love carrots, right? Actually, these little guys tend to like carrot tops more!  For rabbits, carrot tops are also considerably healthier. These have lots of fiber comparatively and are much lower in sugar. 

This is one green that your rabbit can eat a great deal of. Feel free to give them carrot tops 3-4 times a week!

rabbit eating lettuce

Dandelion Greens

This is another green you can give safely give to your rabbit. In fact, dandelion greens are quite nutritional. They are stuffed with beta-carotene, and they have iron and potassium as well. Rabbits can eat the greens and flowers alike… the entire plant makes for a delicious bunny snack!

Broccoli Leaves And Stalk

The leaves and stalk are certainly not the most relished part of broccoli. Well… not for humans, anyway!  Rabbits, however, tend to love the leftovers we cast-off from broccoli, i.e. the leaves and the stalk. Compared to the tender broccoli heads, these tougher, chewier bits contain even more fiber. For rabbits, this is truly ideal.

Final Thoughts: Types of lettuce best for rabbits

Did you know that there were so many kinds of lettuce that your rabbit could have? Feel free to let them try a few. Just avoid iceberg lettuce and portion any lettuce with care!  As to what’s the best type of lettuce for rabbits, red or green leaf lettuce is your answer. You can treat your bunny to healthy varieties of lettuce, a few times a week!

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.