Can rabbits eat cantaloupe? Yes, they can! But like most fruits, you may give your rabbit cantaloupe in small quantities only. This is because cantaloupe has high sugar content and like most fruits, it is not suitable for rabbits in large quantities. Use cantaloupe sparingly for your pet rabbit, more like a treat! It may be used alongside fresh grass or hay, clean water and rabbit pellets.
Can Rabbits Eat Cantaloupe – The Benefits
A fleshy and edible fruit, a cantaloupe plant belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family of plants. Also known as a melon, the name cantaloupe may be used for the plant or the fruit.
Cantaloupes contain several important nutrients that are good for your rabbit. These include sodium, phosphorus, fat, sugar, and the vitamins A, B and C. One hundred grams of cantaloupe contain 34 calories. There is a small quantity of fiber too, but quite a lot of sugar. Due to this fact, you may feed your rabbit cantaloupe in small amounts, but not too much! A few times a week should be okay and then too, in small portions.
It is important to remove the seeds of the cantaloupe before feeding it to your rabbit, but it is okay to leave the rind on.
Cantaloupe In The Garden
If you have a vegetable or fruit garden, you would already know that rabbits love them both! In fact, wild rabbits are probably one of the biggest threats to your vegetable patch or fruit garden. You may have observed that rabbits have been eating your cantaloupe if you have it in your garden. Not just the fruit, rabbits also like to gnaw at the stem and leaves too.
It is quite easy to distinguish between the various creatures that feed on your vegetables or fruit by observing the tidy manner in which the damage is caused. Insects and other pests usually leave rough or jagged edges wherever they feed, such as on the leaves and stems, while the tidy nibbling done by rabbits will be very obvious.
As cantaloupe is one of the fruits that lie on the ground, they are more popular with rabbits because they like to feed closer to the ground. They also fancy the young and soft shoots of your plants.
Protect Your Rabbit & Cantaloupe
If you like to keep your pet rabbit in the garden, you may want to protect your cantaloupe from them. Additionally, eating too much of the fruit may cause your rabbit to fall ill, therefore, you also have to protect the rabbit from the cantaloupe.
You can achieve either of these objectives by installing a wire mesh all around the garden. This fence should be a minimum of two feet or higher as rabbits usually do not jump over a fence this high. The fence will be more effective if you select a 48 inches high wire mesh. You need to bend the mesh at least 6 inches and then bury it in the soil with another 6 to 10 inches going into it. Rabbits usually dig through the ground in an effort to reach a potential feeding area. The bent and buried fence edge will prevent this from happening as they will not be able to dig underneath the fencing.
How To Start Feeding Your New Rabbit?
Most vegetables and fruits are safe for your rabbit to eat; however, there is a possibility that your rabbit is more sensitive. If you have just gotten your rabbit and are not sure what foods it is used to, it is wiser to start feeding it only one kind of food at the time. You may start with a green leafy vegetable as that is probably the safest for it. The best and least risky options are lettuce, cilantro or parsley.
Observe its poop very carefully for a few days to ensure that it does not get a stomach infection or diarrhea. If you see that it deals great with the first vegetable, you may then add another one. Once more you need to look at its excretions critically for 2-3 days and then add something more. Keep following the same process for every new item you add to your rabbit’s food list. Three vegetables a day are sufficient and advisable for your rabbit’s balanced diet.
Once you feel confident about vegetables, you may start introducing fruits gradually, one at a time. Follow the same process as described for vegetables.
Start feeding your rabbit cantaloupe in very small quantities, perhaps just a small one inch cube for the first day. After observing it for a day, you may add another small cube. The maximum quantity advisable for your rabbit is a piece as large as your thumb a day and no more!