Sometimes referred to as the “King of fruits” mango is a very popular and highly cultivated tropical fruit with many health benefits. Low in calories and high in fiber, mangoes are packed full of vitamins but are they any good for our rabbits? Can rabbits even eat mango? lets find out
Rabbits can eat mango, however, mangoes are high in sugar and should only be offered sparingly and as an occasional treat. Giving a rabbit too much mango will likely lead to dental and gastrointestinal problems.
We love mango, it’s delicious! so of course we were excited to try some of this delicious fruit out on our own rabbits. However, before finding out if rabbits actually like mango, we wanted to take a look at some of the health benefits of mangoes and find out if and how our rabbits would reap these from eating it.
Is mango good for a rabbit?
Fruit and vegetables are not only beneficial in our diets but can also benefit a rabbits health too. Although some fruits have a naturally high sugar amount. A slice or two of fresh fruit as a treat is much healthier than some store-bought processed yogurt or chocolate treat.
Mangoes are the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines and although low in calories, mangoes contain around 14% sugar however, the relatively small amount you’ll give to a rabbit should cause no ill effects providing it is healthy and allowed plenty of exercise space.
In terms of nutritional value, mangoes are high in fiber and are also a great source of vitamins A and C. They also contain folate, B6, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin E.
Fresh mango also has a high water content (83%) which means it also makes a refreshing treat for a rabbit that can help keep the animal hydrated, especially during warm weather.
Good and bad fruits
Rabbits have a sweet tooth and enjoy lots of different fruits, however, due to the high sugar content fruits should only be given to rabbits in very small amounts. Others should be avoided due to their poisonous seeds (or pips) and stones, mangoes do have a stone however this can be easily removed.
When buying any fruit to give to a rabbit, organic fruit is a wise choice as it will be free of potentially poisonous chemical pesticides.
Regardless, both fruit and vegetables should be washed thoroughly in cold running water before offering them to your pet to ensure these are washed off.
Nutritional value of mango
This graphic shows the nutritional value of mangoes per 100 grams however, the kind of amounts you’ll be giving your rabbit will be much smaller.
Do rabbits like mango?
Every rabbit has its own personality and preferences but their penchant for sweet foods means that there is a good chance that if you own a rabbit yourself, it will enjoy mango in some form or other. We test a lot of different fruits on our rabbits and often find that they seem to prefer freeze dried or dehydrated varieties of fruits over fresh.
Do rabbits need to eat mango?
Although mango makes a delicious treat for a rabbit, there is no evidence to suggest that a rabbit specifically needs to eat it to remain healthy. Rabbits are very different from us humans and despite what some sources will tell you, they do not get bored through ‘lack of variety’.
Rabbits have survived perfectly well for thousands of years without the wide variety of fruits and vegetables us pet owners provide.
Of course, as rabbit owners, we enjoy providing new foods but a rabbits diet does not need to be overly complicated. Fiber is the most important aspect and it’s importance cannot be underestimated. As such a rabbits diet should be primarily made up of 80% good quality grasses or hay. It is this that keeps the digestive tract moving along.
If you would like to know exactly what makes up a great rabbit diet, you can read our detailed post here (link to post ‘What Can Rabbits Eat – Complete Guide & Quick Reference Tool).
Although rabbits love fruits, there is often a risk that high sugars will upset the delicate digestive balance within a rabbits gut. Keep this in mind when giving a rabbit treats and try to resist the begging!
Can baby rabbits eat mango?
Young rabbits under 7 weeks of age should not eat mango due to its high sugar content and the immaturity of their digestive system. The majority of a baby or juvenile rabbits diet should be good quality grass hay and pellets. You can read more about the recommended diet for a young rabbit here (link to post ‘What Can Rabbits Eat – Complete Guide & Quick Reference Tool).
The taste test!
We tried our rabbits out on some mango. We tried both fresh mango including skin, some pre-cut fresh mango chunks, and some dehydrated mango chips. Here’s what our rabbits thought, let’s just say the results surprised us. Ticks represent those they eat while crosses represent flatly refused.
|Rabbit||Fresh mango & skin||Fresh Mango chunk||Dehydrated Mango||Score|
Taste test results summary
Surprisingly, Mango was not popular at all with our rabbits, Tiny was the only rabbit remotely interested in mango at all! We usually stress how every rabbit is an individual and you should try some out on your own rabbits to see if they like it however having had so much refusal of mango, we would are inclined to say that it may be worth investing your money in a more tried and tested fruit such as a banana!
Taking care of a rabbits digestive system
A rabbit’s digestive system can be very sensitive to sudden changes that can interrupt the delicate gut flora which plays an important role in keeping the rabbit happy and healthy.
When you introduce any new food into a rabbit’s diet whether it be it a fruit or vegetable (even those considered safe) you should give your rabbit a chance to get used to it first.
Give a very small amount and observe the rabbit over a few hours. If it produces any soft poo it may be that the particular fruit or vegetable does not agree with it.
Wait till everything seems to be back to normal with your rabbit before testing him on any other fruits.
Also, keep an eye out behavioral changes which could be an indication of more serious gastrointestinal issues like trapped wind or blockages (g.i. stasis).
Mango availability and benefits
Mangoes are available all year round and have many health benefits for mammals including rabbits. Here are some pros and cons of mango.
Benefits of mango for a rabbit
- Animal studies have shown that mango can help keep the heart healthy
- Good source of fiber
- Low in sodium
- Rich in vitamins A and C
- Rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Negatives of mango for a rabbit
- Very high sugar content
- Overfeeding may result in digestive problems
Buying and preparing mango
Due to the size of a mango, we’d recommend either sharing it with a rabbit when your having it yourself (a rabbit won’t mind your leftovers). Although generally humans only eat the fleshy fruit part and avoid the skin, a rabbits will gain additional fiber from it. Alternatively you can usually find pre-cut mango chunks in the grocery store which are a more convenient portion size (around a thumb-sized amount) to give straight to a rabbit.
Can rabbits eat mango chips?
Alternatively (as shown in our taste test), Rabbits can also eat dried (dehydrated) mango. This will last a lot longer than fresh however the portion size should be smaller as the sugar will be more concentrated.
As rabbits can only eat very small amounts of mango, chips or strips are often a more convenient option.
Can rabbits have canned mango slices?
You should never ever feed canned foods to a rabbit, as well as being starchy and full of sodium and sugar, canned foods often contain preservatives all of which may upset your rabbit’s digestive system. In particular, mangoes prepared for jars or tins are likely to be saturated in syrup and extremely bad for a rabbit.
Recommended use of mango in a rabbit diet
Due to the aforementioned high carbohydrate (sugar), mango should only be given to your rabbit as an occasional treat, overfeeding mango will likely cause digestive problems or diarrhea.
One to two tablespoons or a thumb sized chunk given once or twice per week is a safe amount that will cause no negative long term health problems for your bunny (providing you are not also providing any other treats).
We hope you enjoy this short article, as we continue this series we hope to provide you with basic information to allow you to make your own informed decisions when deciding what to feed your bunny.
Remember that a rabbit’s digestive system is not the same as a human. It does not need the kind of variety that we enjoy.
A rabbit’s diet should be mostly fiber-based in order to keep the gut moving and prevent gut stasis. Aside from water hay should make up approximately 80% of a rabbits diet and an unlimited amount should be provided (a rabbit can eat a ball of hay equivalent to his own size each day). Treats should be given very occasionally.
Every rabbit is different so there is no sure way to know how your rabbit may react to any food until you try it.
Above all remember that too much of anything can be bad for your pet! Just because a rabbits digestive system can digest mango, it is not really suited for these high sugar foods (wild rabbits will unlikely ever see a mango) so consider them a treat food only.