Eggplant or Solanum melongena refers to a perennial plant cultivated for its purple, white or green spongy fruits. It belongs to the nightshade family Solanaceae and its fruits are used for culinary purposes, and it has white to purple or bluish flowers with five lops and a spiny stem.
In Britain, eggplant is referred as to aubergine while in South African and Asia, it is known as brinjal. Although considered as a vegetable, S. melongena is botanically classified as a berry (fruit). The fruit can be bulbous, plump, tubular, ivory, or deep purple.
Can bunnies eat eggplant
Yes. Rabbits can eat eggplant fruit only and not the plant (leaves, flowers or stems) as they are toxic since they contain solanine. Also, you need to give these pets in small amounts as an occasional treat in a similar way you do to fruits and non-leafy vegetables.
The S. melongena fruit has carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamin C, E, K, B complex, minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, potassium, among others. All these are valuable nutrients for your bunny.
On the amount of eggplant fruit to give your bunny, it should be about a teaspoon per 2 pounds of bunny weight occasionally as a treat - like twice a week. Whereas some bunnies will enjoy munching it, some may not like it much.
Furthermore, carefully introduce this new fruit to your bunny and check if it develops stomach upsets after a day. Begin with very small portions and gradually increase to the maximum amount we have stated.
Also, ensure the fruit is free of any herbicides or pesticides and thoroughly clean it under running water before chopping it into small dices to make eating easier.
Always, avoid giving your bunnies too much eggplant even if they like it. It has a small amount of fiber whereas these lagomorphs depend on high-fiber low energy foods. Therefore, it may cause some stomach upsets by overloading their hindgut. Also, enteritis is possible if these animals have foods high in starches and sugars.
Furthermore, it has relatively a high amount of carbs which may make your rabbit be obese, something you would not want. Obesity reduces lifespan and causes a multitude of other problems including the inability to groom well.
Ensure you stick to the right diet which should be mainly hay - over 80%. 10-15% should be fresh foods with leafy greens accounting for over 75% of fresh foods while fruits the rest being non-leafy vegetables and fruits given as treats.
Finally, keep the amount pellets to be 5% and go for high fiber brands such as Oxbow Animal Health Bunny Basics Essentials Adult Rabbit Pet Food, Kaytee Supreme Food for Rabbit, Small Pet Select Rabbit Food Pellets or Rabbit Pellets. Do not forget to provide unlimited fresh water.