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Can Rabbits Eat Papaya? Fruits, Skin, Seeds & Leaves 

So you want to start introducing more fruity snacks into your rabbit’s diet, but you’re wondering if you’re allowed to feed them papaya? Fret not; this post will cover everything you need to know before you provide your furry friend with fresh papaya. 

Papaya is a delicious tropical fruit that we add to our smoothies and fruit salads, making it an ideal summer treat. It also has many health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. However, is that the same case for an indoor rabbit

Cute little bunny eats salad in an outdoor compound.
Papaya is a safe and delicious treat for our furry friend.

Let’s have a closer look. 

Psst: You might also want to know if rabbits can eat strawberry tops.  

Can rabbits eat papaya?

The short answer is yes; it’s safe to consume as it has no toxicity. However, just because rabbits can digest papaya doesn’t mean they should eat this tasty fruit daily. Like other fruity treats, papayas contain too much sugar to be a major part of your rabbit’s total diet.  

As long as you feed it to your bun-bun in small amounts as an occasional treat, everything should be fine. But that’s not all you need to know, as papaya has many layers, so let’s break it down even further. 

Papaya fruit 

Papaya flesh is safe for rabbits in very small quantities. Small, meaning no more than a teaspoon or 0.166 ounces (4.7 grams) per serving. 

Papaya leaves

Rabbits may eat papaya leaves, whether fresh or wilted. 

Read Next: Can rabbits have mango?  

Papaya skin

Papaya skin is not toxic for rabbits. However, it might not be the best option, thanks to a sap that seeps from the skin the moment you pick it and the pesticides sprayed on the fruit. This sap has a similar appearance to latex, which is extremely sticky and has an unpleasant taste. 

Papaya Skin on a soft blue background.
Even though papaya skin is safe, it’s not the best option as a treat.

Not only will your bunny not enjoy its taste, but this sticky sap might matt their fur or get into their eyes and cause irritation. So, it’s always a good idea to remove the skin first, especially if you have a long-haired rabbit.  

Papaya seeds

Do not feed your bunny papaya seeds, as these can be a choking hazard. These hard, black seeds can enter a rabbit’s throat and easily get stuck, causing them to choke and can even kill them. If your rabbit accidentally swallowed these seeds, contact your local vet immediately. 

Green papaya

Green, or unripe papaya, is also not toxic for your rabbit, but like the skin, it may not be your best option. Green papaya is more like a vegetable with a bitter, unpleasant taste that your bunny won’t enjoy. Like the skin, unripe papaya also releases a sticky latex-like substance when being cut into, creating a huge mess for you and your fuzzball. 

Stick to yellow, ripe papaya as a tasty treat for your furry family member. 

Dried papaya

While ried papaya is technically safe for rabbits to consume, it’s less than ideal. However, dried fruits have more natural sugars, so it’s always better to opt for fresh fruits. 

Papaya tablets

Papaya tablets that contain the papain enzyme are believed to be very beneficial for bunnies. That’s because these tablets will help reduce the formation of hairballs in a rabbit’s digestive tract. The dosage will vary from one rabbit to the other based on their size and fur length. 

Note: Do not feed your pet papaya tablets designed for humans. 

How to serve your pet rabbit papaya as an occasional treat

Here are some important tips to keep in mind when feeding rabbit papaya:

  • Give them a small amount of papaya at a time. Remember, too much fruit can cause problems for a rabbit’s digestive system and overall health. 
  • Cut the papaya up into small portions that match their body weight. 
  • Avoid giving them skin, seeds, and green papayas. 
  • Rinse your papaya well before serving to remove any trace of pesticide residue
  • Only feed your rabbit papaya or any other fruit two or three days a week. 
A cute big gray rabbit eating leafy greens.
Too much fruit can cause problems for a rabbit’s digestive system and overall health.

Can young rabbits eat papaya?

A general rule is not to give younger rabbits (kits) any fruit until they are at least three months of age or have been weaned off their mother’s milk. Even when they’ve reached the right age, slowly introducing them to new food is essential. 

Introducing too many different fruits and veggies too soon can lead to numerous digestive problems, including diarrhea and constipation. 

Health benefits of papaya

Papaya is one of the healthiest fruits out there. Here are some benefits of feeding your pet rabbit the right amount.

Excellent source of nutrition and good for heart health

A good dose of nutrition, such as vitamins and minerals, can help boost your rabbit’s immune system. Papaya is an excellent source of antioxidants, containing: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B, and vitamin E. These antioxidants help regulate the oxidation of cholesterol, lowering the risk of heart disease. 

It helps boost healthy hair and skin

A rabbit’s fur is its pride and joy. It should be tangle-free, fluffy, and shiny. Luckily for your furry pal, papaya can aid their skin and fur health, making it appear more radiant and nourished. 

Reduces hairballs

It’s believed that certain fruits, like papaya or pineapple, contain digestive enzymes that help break down food in a rabbit’s tummy or intestines that could clump up hair. This will reduce the risk of gastric trichobezoar (hairball) in your pet rabbit.

Read Next: Can rabbits eat pineapple? 

Health problems caused by feeding a rabbit papaya

Let’s look at the health issues associated with feeding your bunny too much papaya. 

Weight gain 

By now, you know that papaya has a high sugar content, and unhealthy weight gain (and eventually obesity) is a side-effect of overfeeding this fruit to your rabbit. 

Flemish Giant rabbit in front of white background
Too much papaya could lead to unhealthy weight gain.

Digestive issues

Due to the high sugar and water content in fruits like papaya, your rabbit may suffer from diarrhea, cramps, and runny stool if given too much. Excess sugar encourages unhealthy gut bacteria to overgrow in a rabbit’s gut which may lead to GI stasis (reduced or absent GI motility). 

Read Next: What does rabbit poop look like

Dental problems

Like humans, overdoing sugary treats can lead to tooth rotting and decay.

Alternatives to feeding your pet rabbit papaya

While papaya is one of the most nutritious and beneficial occasional fruits to treat your pet bunny, it is not always readily available as it’s a tropical, seasonal fruit. The following fruits provide some fantastic alternatives:

  • Apple (without seeds): contains vitamin C, dietary fiber, and minerals for gut mobility. 
  • Watermelon (without seeds): probably the best for rabbits as it’s low in sugar and juicy. 
  • Banana: an ideal treat for its high amount of vitamin K, potassium, and numerous minerals. 

Can you feed papaya to your rabbit? Final thoughts

There you have it — everything you need to know about feeding your fur baby papayas. The biggest takeaway is that this kind of fruit shouldn’t be the most essential part of your rabbit’s diet. However, it is a great treat if you want to reward your bun-bun’s good behavior occasionally. 

Next Read: Can rabbits eat squash? 

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