So, you’re asking, ‘Can a rabbit eat eggplant,’ are you? Well, I’ll have you know you’re in the right place. Eggplant is a distinctive ingredient of many cuisines worldwide. It is a prevalent food in both Eastern and Western countries. Since people like it so much, can they also feed their livestock or pets with eggplant? Can Bunny Rabbits eat eggplant just as humans do?
Like all herbivores, bunnies like eating leafy green plants like eggplant. In this case, however, rabbits can safely eat only the eggplant fruit. Owners should never give the plant itself and its flower to a rabbit!
Considering the recommendation to avoid the green parts of eggplant when feeding bunnies, it may be easier to exclude its fruits from the rabbit diet. Some breeders do that to facilitate their daily feeding routines. However, eggplant fruit can be an excellent nutrient complement to your bunny’s healthy diet. In proper quantity, it can be beneficial for juvenile rabbits. Additionally, eggplant is a good choice for a treat – something our long-eared friends need from time to time.
Solanum melongena, known as eggplant in the US, Canada, and Australia, aubergine in the UK and Western Europe, and brinjal in South Asia and Africa, is a non-climacteric fruit from the family of nightshade. Widely considered a vegetable, it is a fruit and other members of nightshades such as tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes.
The eggplant originates from India, which is the first brinjal producer but some pieces of evidence point to China as the first cultivator of the plant. The name “eggplant” comes from Europe, wherein some growers in the 18th century likened the yellow and white aubergine to eggs. In the US, the eggplant was introduced in 1706 by the botanist Thomas Jefferson. (source).
The eggplant is a warm-season annual plant with green prickly leaves and stems. It has solitary purple or lavender flowers on the top. Fruits are oval and massive and, in general, are purple too. However, some cultivars have black, green, yellow, white, or motley fruits. Black Beauty, Ping Tung Long, and White Comet are the most popular eggplant cultivars. (source)
Although it is a type of berry, eggplant is known and used worldwide as a vegetable. Most animals, including rabbits, like eating purple fruits. Solanum melongena is also well known within the scientific communities due to its application in Medicine. However, its nutrient structure affects humans differently than rabbits. Below is a list of eggplant types from around the world that are good for humans and rabbits. (source)
Eggplant Types From Around The World
- Chinese eggplant
- Fairy tale eggplant
- Globe/American eggplant
- Italian eggplant
- Graffiti eggplant
- Indian eggplant
- Rosa Bianca eggplant
- White eggplant
Before paying attention to eggplant nutritional values, perhaps it is better to give an unambiguous answer to the question: can a rabbit eat eggplant? The clear answer is, yes, a bunny can eat eggplant but moderately. Only eggplant fruits can be used as food and have nutritional value. Be careful not to feed rabbits with any part of the plant itself. Leaves, stems, and roots are toxic and can seriously harm your rabbit!
It is always an advantage to know a bit more about the nutritional values of the eggplant before deciding to feed your rabbit with it. If you are not familiar with all the nutrients, you need at least to ensure that it is safe for your bunny. The raw eggplant contains 92% water, 6% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and an insignificant quantity of fat. It may not be the most nutrient for rabbits, but it still contains some essential substances.
Raw Eggplant’s Nutritional Values
|Eggplant, raw/ Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||104 kJ (25 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||3 g|
|Thiamine (B1)||0.039 mg|
|Riboflavin (B2)||0.037 mg|
|Niacin (B3)||0.649 mg|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.281 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.084 mg|
|Folate (B9)||22 μg|
|Vitamin C||2.2 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.3 mg|
|Vitamin K||3.5 μg|
As shown in Table 1, the raw eggplant possesses some critical nutrients in quite an appropriate ratio. The fruit provides considerable amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals essential for rabbits’ health. It is also low in acid and fats; sugar values are not high either. Higher levels of carbohydrates can make your rabbit very sick. Most importantly, all variations of the eggplant have almost the same nutritional structure, which does not complicate your choice.
Can a rabbit eat eggplant safely? Yes, a rabbit can eat eggplant in moderation.
Eggplants can be a very healthy complement to rabbits’ diets. Generally, bunnies do not produce their vitamins, so their concentration in the eggplant is welcome for our long-eared friends. The minerals, especially Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Calcium, strengthen the bones and develop the muscle system.
Rabbit’s Delicate Digestive System
In the Journal of Nutrition, Hove and Herndon state that eggplants provide essential nutrients, stimulating young rabbits’ growth.
However, small rabbits should be fed eggplants with caution due to their delicate digestive system. According to Hove and Herndon, younger bunnies’ diets should include at least 0.6% of potassium per day to guarantee maximum growth. Lower volumes of potassium may cause muscular dystrophy, hemorrhagic problems in the stomach, swollen kidneys, and jaundice.
Researchers also estimated that 100 gr eggplant provides almost 0.3 mg of Manganese, the daily requirement for maintaining average growth. Another crucial nutrient for rabbits’ growth is vitamin B6. Eggplants can deliver B6 to contribute to the daily required amount of 39 mg.
Eggplant’s Healing Capacity
The healing properties of the eggplant are a subject of research by scientists in Medicine. These properties affect not only humans but also rabbits. According to the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, bunnies who suffer from obesity, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, and decreased liver function improve after eating eggplant. The plant is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Extracts of eggplant have been tested on rabbits for their antidiabetic and antioxidant effects and showed positive results.
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Nightshades are popular as plant families containing toxic substances. The poisonous substance in eggplants that can cause problems for the bunnies is glycoalkaloid solanine. Organic and bitter-tasting, solanine is considered one of the most toxic glycoalkaloids. The green parts of the eggplant, the stems, and the leaves have the highest solanine concentration value. The flowers and roots are also poisonous, so never give them to a rabbit.
The toxic substances in the eggplant have a protective function. Solanine plays the role of a natural pesticide against insects and herbivores. Fortunately, the values of the toxic glycoalkaloid in the eggplant fruit are so minor to cause any harm.
Nevertheless, for your reassurance, you can watch for symptoms of solanine poisoning after feeding your rabbit with eggplant. Some of the typical symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, and slow breathing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Safe Are Eggplants For Bunnies?
Researchers may have been testing more on sick bunnies rather than healthy ones. It would be best if you also consider the presence of the solanine even minorly. Specialists recommend giving rabbits small thin bits of eggplant as a treat, not more than twice per week.
Is Cooked Eggplant Good For Rabbits?
Do Rabbits Like Eggplants?
Humans often tend to feed their pets with their food. Eggplants are a veg choice for many people but are they suitable for our loved bunny pets? Solanum melongena is nutrient and healthy for bunnies, as long as you only feed them with its fruit. It is an excellent treat for a rabbit and should not be excluded from its diet, especially if you grow eggplant in your garden. If you grow it in your garden, ensure your rabbits do not have access to the green parts of the plant because they are toxic.
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- Frances Betty Fraikue, Review of Historical, Health Benefits and Uses of Eggplants by Humankind, Asian Journal of Management, http://shorturl.at/gtwLW Assessed March 28, 2021,
- “Solanum Melongena.”, North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox, http://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/solanum-melongena/ Assessed March 28, 2021,
- “Eggplant: Its Many Varieties Available across the World!” The Times of India, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/food-news/eggplant-its-many-varieties-available-across-the-world/photostory/77961710.cms Assessed March 28, 2021,
- “Eggplant. ” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eggplant#Nutrition
- E. L. Hove, John F. Herndon, Potassium Deficiency in the Rabbit as a Cause of Muscular Dystrophy: Three Figures, The Journal of Nutrition, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/55.3.363 Assessed March 29, 2021,
- Sara Nwozo, Nwawuba Stanley and Adeneye D.A., Effect of Solanium Melongena Fruits Supplemented Diet on Hyperglycemia, Overweight, Liver Function and Dyslipidemia in Male New Zealand Rabbits Fed High Fat and Sucrose Diet, Research Gate, https://shorturl.at/fAY07 Assessed March 29, 2021,
- Mariko Shin et al.,” Solanine – an Overview “, ScienceDirect Topics, www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/solanine. Assessed March 30, 2021