Adding fresh vegetables to your bunny’s diet is a great way to provide a nutritional boost and help your pet stay happy and healthy. But if you’ve got a spare bell pepper or two lying around in the fridge, is it safe to share this colorful fruit with your furry friend?
Can rabbits eat bell peppers?
Happily, the answer is yes. Red, green, yellow and orange bell peppers are all safe for your bunny to eat. However, it’s important to remember that fresh hay should make up the bulk of your rabbit’s diet, and the seeds, core and stem must be removed before feeding bell pepper to a bunny.
Bell Peppers 101
Also known as the capsicum or the sweet pepper, the bell pepper is a member of the nightshade family. Many people are also surprised to learn that the bell pepper is not a vegetable — it’s actually a fruit.
Bell peppers also come in a variety of colors, the most common of which are green, red, orange and yellow. There are variations in the taste and nutritional quality of bell peppers of different colors. For example, you will probably have noticed that red peppers have a sweeter taste than green peppers, but did you know that they also have nearly 50mg more vitamin C per 100g serving?
Are Bell Peppers Safe for Rabbits to Eat?
If you’re thinking of chopping up some bell pepper to share with your bunny, the good news is that it’s safe to do so. These colorful fruits are low in calories and also a good source of several important vitamins. They should also be fed raw to ensure that your bunny gets the maximum nutritional benefit available.
But what kind of bell peppers can rabbits eat? Let’s take a closer look.
Can Rabbits Eat Red Bell Peppers?
Yes, rabbits can have red bell peppers. This variety of capsicum is not only widely available but also provides fiber and vitamin B6 for your furry friend. However, it’s worth noting that red bell peppers are higher in sugar than their green counterparts, so moderation is key to avoid an upset stomach.
Can Rabbits Eat Green Bell Peppers?
Just like red bell peppers, green bell peppers are perfectly safe for your pet to eat. They’re also readily available at many grocery stores and are a good source of several important nutrients.
Can Rabbits Eat Orange Bell Peppers?
If you want to share some orange bell pepper with your bunny, you can. While they’re a little harder to come by than the green, red and yellow varieties, orange peppers offer similar nutritional value to your pet. They also have a sweet, juicy taste that many rabbits love.
Can Rabbits Eat Yellow Bell Peppers?
By now, you’ve probably already guessed that the answer is yes. Rabbits can have yellow bell peppers and will happily chow down on this tasty fruit. Yellow peppers make an ideal treat when you’re looking to supplement your bunny’s diet of fresh hay. They’re a source of water and vitamins while also being low in calories.
Can Rabbits Eat Bell Pepper Seeds?
No. If you’re preparing some bell pepper as a snack for your bunny, make sure to remove the seeds and core first. This is important for a couple of reasons.
First, if your bunny swallows part of the bell pepper core, this can’t be broken down by their digestive system and may become stuck in their digestive tract.
Second, while the seeds of bell pepper aren’t toxic, they don’t offer any nutritional benefit. And because there’s always the risk of your pet choking on a seed, it’s best to remove the seeds before feeding sweet peppers to your rabbit.
Health Benefits of Bell Peppers for Rabbits
Bell peppers aren’t just safe for rabbits — they also offer several nutritional benefits.
They’re low in calories, which means they can help keep your pet in a healthy weight range. They’re also reasonably low in sugar compared to many other types of fruit, which helps minimize the risk of digestive upset.
And bell peppers also back a decent nutritional punch for bunnies. They’re roughly 90% water, so eating them can help your pet stay hydrated, and they contain fiber to help promote healthy digestion. Bell peppers are also rich in antioxidants to protect your bunny against disease, and contain vitamins A, B6, E and K.
For more information on the nutritional content of popular bell pepper varieties, check out the table below.
|Nutrients per 100g portion|
|Green bell peppers||Red bell peppers||Yellow bell peppers|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.17g||0.3g||0.21g|
Source: FoodData Central
Risks of Feeding Bell Peppers to Rabbits
Before you rush out and start stocking up on bell peppers for your bunny, make sure you’re aware of a few key risks:
- Should only be fed in moderation. Fresh hay should always make up the bulk of your pet’s diet. This can be supplemented by fresh vegetables like bell peppers, but these delicious fruits should never form a major portion of your bunny’s diet.
- Seeds and cores need to be removed. As mentioned above, you’ll need to remove the seeds and core of a bell pepper before feeding to your bunny. This reduces the risk of choking and intestinal blockages.
- Peppers to avoid. There’s another common question many bunny owners ask: Can rabbits eat jalapeno peppers? The answer is no. Hot and spicy foods can cause an upset stomach and should be avoided. That means you should steer clear of all spicy peppers, including chili and cayenne peppers, when feeding your rabbit.
Preparing Bell Peppers for Your Bunny
Follow these simple steps when preparing a bell pepper snack for your rabbit:
- Choose a fresh, ripe bell pepper and feed it to your bunny raw, not cooked.
- Wash the bell pepper thoroughly.
- Remove the core and all seeds before feeding the bell pepper to your rabbit.
- Slice the pepper into manageable portions to give to your rabbit.
Finally, when introducing any new food to your bunny, make sure to do so gradually to prevent an upset stomach. Start with a small serve and if your rabbit doesn’t show any signs of an adverse reaction, you can then give them a slightly larger portion the next time you want to give them a snack.
Bell peppers are a nutritious and delicious snack that your bunny will love. Just make sure that you only ever give bell peppers as a treat — hay is the most important component of your bunny’s diet — and remember to remove the seeds and core first.
If you can do that, bell peppers are perfect for sharing with your beautiful bun.