Do you want to know if rabbits eat their poop?
Although it may seem strange to humans, it’s a yes for rabbits. This behavior, known as coprophagy, is normal and vital for their health.
In this article, we will explain why rabbits eat their poop, if you should encourage it, and other fascinating facts about this behavior.
What is Coprophagy?
Coprophagy, derived from the Greek words ‘kopros,’ meaning feces, and ‘phagein,’ meaning to eat, is the act of eating one’s own feces.
This phenomenon is observed in several animal species, including rabbits.
Although it might seem unappetizing, it is essential in their digestion and nutrient absorption.
Cecotropes Vs. Poop
Rabbits excrete two types of droppings:
The former is the common rabbit feces.
They are small, round, dry pellets that don’t contain many nutrients, as they are the waste product after food has gone through the rabbit’s digestive system twice.
This poop you will typically see in a rabbit’s litter box. Unlike cecotropes, rabbits do not consume their regular feces.
On the other hand, cecotropes, also known as cecal pellets or “night feces,” are a particular type of poops produced by rabbits.
They result from cecotrophy, where the rabbit’s complex digestive system allows it to re-ingest these pellets to extract more nutrition.
Cecotropes are softer, usually darker, have a shiny, mucus-like coating, and have a more pungent smell than regular rabbit poop.
They contain nutrients, such as proteins, vitamins (like B vitamins), and microorganisms, that the rabbit didn’t absorb the first time its food went through the digestive tract.
Cecotropes are usually produced at a different time of day (often during the night or early morning) than regular feces, and rabbits consume them directly from the anus to prevent them from drying out and to maintain healthy gut flora.
Do Rabbits Eat Their Poop?
Indeed, rabbits do eat their own poop, specifically the cecotropes.
This reingestion allows them to extract further nutrition from their food, which is essential for their health and survival.
Why Do Rabbits Eat Their Poop?
When rabbits consume their cecotropes, they are essentially giving their bodies a second chance to extract valuable nutrients that weren’t absorbed during the initial digestion.
Cecotropes are rich in essential nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals, making them an indispensable part of a rabbit’s diet.
Is It Safe for Rabbits to Eat Their Poop?
It’s not just safe but necessary for rabbits to consume their cecotropes.
Without this practice, they would miss essential nutrients, leading to potential nutritional deficiencies and related health issues.
What Are the Benefits of Coprophagy for Rabbits?
The primary advantage of coprophagy is nutritional.
Cecotropes offer a concentrated source of nutrients, particularly B vitamins and fiber, which are crucial for maintaining a healthy digestive system in rabbits.
Eating these cecotropes allow rabbits to maximize the nutrition they derive from their food.
How Often Do Rabbits Eat Their Poop?
Rabbits typically produce and eat cecotropes once daily, usually during the night or early morning. Because of this timing, you may never witness this behavior.
What Does Rabbit Poop Look Like?
Regular rabbit poop appears as small, round, dry pellets, similar to peas but smaller.
Cecotropes, in contrast, are usually darker, softer, and have a somewhat clustered appearance due to the mucus coating that often binds them together.
What Should You Do If Your Rabbit Is Not Eating Their Poop?
If your rabbit isn’t eating its cecotropes, it could indicate a potential health problem.
For instance, overweight rabbits may have difficulty reaching their cecotropes due to their size.
Alternatively, a diet that is too rich can lead to an overproduction of cecotropes. If you notice uneaten cecotropes, consult a vet to rule out any health issues.
Here are some frequently asked questions.
Why Is My Rabbit Eating Her Poop?
Your rabbit isn’t just eating any poop; she’s eating her cecotropes, a vital source of nutrition.
Is It Okay For Rabbits To Eat Their Own Poop?
Yes, it’s not only okay but also essential for their nutritional needs.
Why Is My Rabbit Not Eating His Poop?
Your rabbit might be overproducing cecotropes due to a rich diet or having difficulty reaching them due to obesity or arthritis.
How Many Times Does a Rabbit Poop a Day?
On average, bunnies of average size will poop around 20 to 30 times per day, producing about 200 to 300 fecal pellets, depending on their size, diet, and health.
Rabbit Eating Poop Not Cecotropes
If your rabbit is eating its regular fecal pellets instead of just its cecotropes, it could be a sign of a nutritional deficiency. We advised you to consult with a vet in this situation.
Why Do Rabbits Poop So Much?
Rabbits have a very fast digestive system and eat a diet high in fiber, which results in frequent pooping.
Do Rabbits Eat Dog Poop?
No, rabbits should only eat their own cecotropes. Eating any other feces can lead to serious health issues.
Although coprophagy may initially seem unappealing, knowing its significance in a rabbit’s well-being and nutritional needs shows its importance.
It is normal and essential for rabbits to consume their cecotropes as part of their biological process.
Observe your rabbit’s droppings for changes that may indicate potential health issues.
We hope this article helped you know if rabbits eat their poop. If you have further questions, comment below, and we will answer them.