O2016-30

Dear Reba Rabbit: We recently visited a pet store and bought Sparkle, our first rabbit, and some rabbit pellets. May Sparkle also eat lettuce and carrots? What else should we know about rabbits?

Reba Responds: The answer to your last question is three words: House Rabbit Society. It’s an outstanding non-profit organization that educates people about pet rabbits and finds homes for unwanted bunnies.

Visit their website at www.rabbit.org to learn about rabbit care and join the organization. Check the website to see if your state has a local chapter.

Feeding the proper diet is an important part of caring for us rabbits. We should eat only small quantities of rabbit pellets, about one-quarter to one-half cup daily. Most of our diet should consist of fresh grass hay, such as timothy, Bermuda, brome, oat or orchard grass hay. Avoid alfalfa, which is too high in protein and calories.

Lettuce, including romaine, green leaf, endive and escarole, are good for us; however, don’t feed iceberg, because it isn’t very nutritious. Sparkle also can eat kale, collard greens, spinach, carrot and radish tops, Swiss chard, dandelions, and mustard and turnip greens. Fresh herbs, such as cilantro, parsley, mint, dill, lemon balm and basil, can be added for fun.

You may feed Sparkle small amounts of carrots, but don’t feed beans, corn, potatoes or onions.

Fruits, including apples, pears, cantaloupe, watermelon, bananas, strawberries and blueberries, contain sugar, so we rabbits may eat only tiny amounts as occasional treats.

We shouldn’t consume yogurt drops, honey sticks and other sugary sweets. Also off limits are nuts and seeds, which can cause diarrhea and other digestive problems.