Rabbits are well-known for being prominent vegetarians among animals. Our furry friends are well-known for their insatiable hunger, especially for carrots and greens.
However, do rabbits have access to the same vegetarian options as people? Absolutely not. This is true of all mushrooms, but especially the common button mushroom, which can be fatal to a rabbit if ingested in large enough quantities.
Find out what to do if your rabbit eats mushrooms without your knowledge or consent and why you should never give them to your rabbit in the following text.
Can Rabbits Eat Mushrooms?
No! Mushrooms are toxic to rabbits.Rabbits should not try to eat any kind of mushroom. While wild mushrooms pose the greatest threat to your rabbit’s health, even commercially grown varieties should not be fed to your pet.
In addition to avoiding intentionally feeding your rabbit mushrooms, you should also keep a close eye on it when it’s outside to make sure it doesn’t eat any wild mushrooms.
What Are Mushrooms?
Fungi, of which mushrooms are a subgroup, can be found in nearly every region of the globe. However, you’ll find the greatest concentration of them in damp and warm forests.
Numerous thousands of unique species of wild mushrooms can be found in the United States. Approximately one-hundred of these fungi are harmful to humans. The exact number that is lethal to rabbits is unknown.
The button, chestnut, and Portobello mushrooms found in grocery stores are typically grown under very controlled environments.
Although these are considered to be safe for human consumption, we cannot assume the same for smaller animals such as lagomorphs.
Can Mushrooms Kill Rabbits?
Mushrooms (of any kind) are thought to be poisonous to rabbits, but this has not been extensively studied by scientists. Thus, mushrooms can be a lethal threat to rabbits.
It’s possible that a rabbit could eat some of the mushrooms sold in stores without any ill effects, but many species of wild mushrooms are known to be highly poisonous.
For this reason, most veterinarians advise against giving rabbits any kind of mushroom, as we simply don’t know what effects they could have.
In the event that the mushroom does not prove fatal, it still poses serious health risks, including kidney disease, paralysis, and cancer. To put it plainly, the stakes are too high to risk it.
Are There Any Types of Mushrooms Rabbits Can Eat?
While most people think of edible mushrooms like the button, portabella, or shiitake when they hear the word “mushroom,” the term actually applies to any fungus with a fruiting body.
Identifying mushrooms can be tricky, so it’s hard to say for sure whether or not there is a single type that rabbits can eat.
It has been proven that both domesticated and wild mushrooms can poison or even kill rabbits.
Mushrooms are toxic to rabbits regardless of whether or not they have been cooked. In a nutshell, you shouldn’t give your rabbit any kind of mushroom.
Dangers of Mushrooms for Rabbits
The following is some background information on mushroom poisoning from the Food and Drug Administration’s Handbook on Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins:
As of now, eight different toxins—including amanitin, gyromitrin, orellanine, muscarine, ibotenic acid, muscimol, psilocybin, and coprine—have been linked to mushroom poisoning.
Mushroom poisoning can be caused by eating either raw or cooked mushrooms because the toxic compounds in mushrooms are not destroyed by cooking.
Mushroom poisoning typically causes nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and stomach cramps, and sometimes even organ failure and neurological problems.
Mushroom poisoning is caused by the inadvertent consumption of a toxic species and is notoriously difficult to treat.
I’m curious as to the implications of this information for your rabbit.
Even though there may not be any studies on mushroom poisoning in rabbits, it is strongly discouraged by veterinarians that you not give your rabbit any mushrooms.
Mushrooms that are safe for humans to eat can still cause serious digestive harm to your rabbit.
Wild Mushrooms That Are Toxic to Rabbits
There has not been a lot of research done on rabbits and mushroom toxicity. Therefore, we must rely on data from comparative animal experiments.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) lists the following mushrooms as being toxic to dogs. It has been hypothesized that cats and rabbits, among other domestic pets, are also at risk from these mushrooms.
This is not a complete list of mushroom species that are harmful to rabbits. In addition to the foregoing, there is evidence to suggest that button mushrooms sold in stores (i.e. Agaricus bisporus) can cause cancer in rodents. Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume that rabbits would react similarly to these mushrooms.
In reality, we still don’t know which mushrooms are especially dangerous for rabbits. Because of this, no mushroom should ever be eaten. Your rabbit will be safest if you do this.
Do Rabbits Like Mushrooms?
Species-appropriate fare (including hay/grass, specific plants, green vegetables, fresh herbs, and water) is preferred by rabbits.
Rabbits as pets, however, may occasionally graze on things besides grass. This is especially true when food is scarce or when their current diet does not provide enough of the necessary nutrients.
No evidence suggests that wild rabbits consume mushrooms. This would only be done if they were completely out of options.
Why are Mushrooms So Dangerous for Rabbits?
To put it simply, mushrooms are fungi. Jrank claims that mycotoxins can be found in specific species of fungi. Toxic to rabbits (and humans), these fungi produce deadly mycotoxins. These are some of the most dangerous types of mycotoxins:
- The cyclopeptides found in mushrooms are the most lethal (90% of mushroom-related deaths can be traced back to these).
- GI irritants are present in most raw mushroom varieties but are typically eliminated during cooking.
- The hallucinogenic compound psilocybin is what’s inside “magic” mushrooms.
The supermarket variety of mushroom is unlikely to have these toxins (at least not in significant amounts), but many varieties of wild mushrooms do.
Mycotoxicosis (poisoning) is a likely outcome if rabbits ingest these toxins.
How Common is Mushroom Poisoning in Rabbits?
Fortunately, rabbits rarely become ill from eating poisonous mushrooms.
There were 2,090 reports of pets having been exposed to mushrooms between 2006 and 2010, according to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC). The rabbit was only involved in one incident.
Dogs appear to be the primary victims of mushroom poisoning. There’s a good chance that this is due to the fact that grazing dogs will eat pretty much anything.
Thankfully, rabbits appear to have a keener sense of the dangers of mushrooms than most other animals. The difficulty in diagnosing mushroom toxicity in rabbits (and the consequent lack of postmortem examinations) may also contribute to the lack of reported cases.
Symptoms of Mushroom Poisoning in Rabbits
Depending on the person, symptoms can appear quickly (within 15 minutes) or not for a number of hours. The following symptoms may occur after ingestion of certain mushrooms or mycotoxins:
- agitation and maniacal activity
- Shortness of breath/fast heart rate; a cocked head
- Seizures, fainting, vertigo, and incoordination
- Drowning in a sea of thirst
- Stressed out/stressed out to the point of clenching teeth
- Exposure to Cyclopeptides causes jaundice, lethargy, and loss of appetite (which can last for several days).
There is less of a chance of poisoning if you fed your rabbit commercially available mushrooms.
Do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian for help. It could be recommended that you bring your rabbit in, or you could just need to keep a close eye on it for the next 24 hours.
Whether or not your rabbit needs medical attention, you should not give it any more mushrooms to eat. As it is very challenging to treat rabbits that have been poisoned by mushrooms, prevention is always preferable.
What to Do If Your Rabbit Eats Mushrooms
If you and your rabbit are outside and the rabbit decides to eat a wild mushroom, you must act immediately to avoid dire consequences.
Make an immediate appointment with your vet and take some of the mushroom in for inspection.
If your rabbit eats poisonous mushrooms, you need to act fast to prevent it from causing permanent damage.
If your rabbit has consumed a culinary mushroom while in your home, you still need to take him or her to the vet immediately.
Even common household mushrooms can cause terrible gastrointestinal distress for your rabbit, though they are far less likely to prove fatal than a wild mushroom. If not addressed, this can have dire consequences, including death.
How to Prevent Mushroom Poisoning in Rabbits
Toxic mold exposure, also known as mycotoxicosis, is notoriously challenging to treat. Accordingly, taking precautions is crucial. In order to protect rabbits from getting sick from eating poisonous mushrooms, remember these tips:
- Verify that your rabbit is getting the bare minimum of nutrients it needs. Additionally, fresh herbs and green vegetables of various types should be offered. This should keep your rabbit from grazing on any poisonous plants she shouldn’t be eating.
- Your rabbit may be safer confined to a “run” rather than free in the yard if you have any wild mushrooms.
- Keeping an eye out for mushrooms on the lawn is essential if you let your rabbit out. Keep in mind that they typically show up after it has rained. Maintaining a short grass cut can aid.
- Toxic mushrooms often grow in shaded areas, so it’s important to keep an eye out there.
- Always remember to clean your hands after handling wild mushrooms. Because fungal spores can be difficult to remove from gardening gloves, it is recommended that they not be used.
- Do not feed your rabbit any commercially available mushrooms. While the toxin profile of these mushrooms is lower, its effects on rabbits’ health remain unclear.
There are only a handful of vegetables that rabbits should never eat, and mushrooms are one of them. They can have devastating effects on your rabbit’s health whether they are domesticated or wild.
Never intentionally give your rabbit mushrooms, and if it accidentally consumes one, seek immediate veterinary attention.