The tomato fruit (which is at times considered as a vegetable) is loaded with the antioxidant lycopene, vitamin A, C, Potassium, Vitamin K1, folate, vitamin B6 among others.
Once it is ripe, it often turns to red but can also be other colors including purple, yellow or orange colors. Its size could vary from small to large ones.
Is it ok to give them tomatoes?
Yes. Rabbits can eat ripe tomatoes as a treat or in moderation, i.e., you can give your rabbits a small amount of ripe tomato fruit as it is not poisonous to them.
Like most of the other non-leafy vegetables or fruits, tomatoes are high in carbohydrates and sugar while its fiber level is low. Foods high in carbs or sugars are not healthy for these pets. High sugars will increase the bad bacteria activity in their stomach.
However, Rabbit.life warns not to give them “all plant parts like the leaves, vines, flowers, and stems which are toxic. The green fruits are also toxic.”
One of the reasons why you should not give them the plant is that it has high contractions of glycoalkaloids alpha-tomatine as well as dehydrotomatine which is toxic in high concentration. Although the fruit has this glycoalkaloid, its strength is much lower.
The toxicity of tomatine done on animals shows that it results in side effects such as “vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, drowsiness, confusion, weakness, and depression,” in humans, according to Wikipedia.
Giving them a treat
If you want to give your bunny a tomato treat, you need to remove the stalk that holds it to the plant, wash it thoroughly wash it before slicing it to get rid of some pesticide residue. Some literature recommends you remove seeds and give it one or two slices.
Avoid giving them rotten or cooked ones. Also, do not give them some products such as ketchup or any other than has lots of sugar and preservatives. They might cause stomach problems.
What about baby rabbits?
Until they reach the age of 12 weeks, it is not recommended to give baby rabbits any vegetables or fruits including tomatoes since their digestive system is still susceptible.
Can bunnies eat cherry tomatoes?
Yes. You can give them small treats. However, do forget that they are also loaded with a lot of sugar. Therefore give them a “few slices once in a while because tomatoes contain a high level of sugar so eating too many may cause obesity, digestion issues, and other serious health problems” notes Rabbitexpert.com.
Do wild rabbits eat tomatoes?
Like the domestic bunnies, wild ones are known to eat tomatoes and other garden fruits and vegetables. However, they do not love or damage them so much, i.e., “only a few crops, corn, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes suffer little damage from rabbits” notes Sandra Mason, State Master Gardener Coordinator, University of Illinois.
Furthermore, the University of California notes that the “black-tailed hare or jackrabbit, Lepus californicus, the desert cottontail, Sylvilagus audubonii, and the brush rabbit, S. bachmani—are widespread” are some of the notorious bunnies that often destroy gardens and landscape.
If wild bunnies are continually eating and destroy your fruits and vegetables in your garden, garden, consider tactics such as fencing, using repellents, trapping, use of trunk guards, among other methods.
- T. P. Salmon, and W. P. Gorenzel. (Revised 2010, April). Pests in Gardens and Landscapes. Retrieved from http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7447.html
- Mason, S. (n.d.). Plants Not Favored By Deer and Rabbits Retrieved from https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/homeowners/971227.html