Your pet rabbit needs some vitamins and minerals coming from fresh fruits and veggies. Does papaya fit into this category? Let’s find out!
Your pet rabbit’s diet is somewhat limited to greens and fruits. But that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s insufficient. Some of the healthiest food happens to be just fruits. That being said, you might ask yourself:
Can rabbits eat papaya? – Yes, they can, but only as a treat.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how to feed your rabbit papaya and what this means for its health, don’t go anywhere! We’ve got some information you won’t want to miss.
Papaya Can Be A Treat For Rabbits
Papaya is sweet orange and green fruit that comes from Central America. Papaya is delicious, so even its seeds are edible in some cases, even though they are bitter in taste. The soft texture of the papaya fruit makes it even more appealing.
Today, papayas are primarily produced in the Philippines, Hawaii, India, and even Australia. This is a fruit that comes in many different varieties: Waimanalo, Higgins, wilder, Guinea Gold, Bettina, Sunny Bark, etc.
No matter what form and country it comes from, your pet rabbit is allowed to eat this nutritious fruit – but only as a treat. Papaya is not meant to be served as a staple food.
You are allowed to feed your pet rabbits papayas, but only after you have gone through these precautions, so let’s get started.
1. Measure the amount of papaya you give to your rabbit.
Of course, the most crucial fact when giving your rabbit any treat is the amount – you wouldn’t want to give it more than it can handle. In that case, you should give your rabbit about a teaspoon of papaya (suppose it weighs about 2 pounds).
Feeding your rabbit papaya 2 times a week should be enough – don’t turn to this fruit every day; it can make your pet nauseous.
2. Observe your rabbit’s reaction towards papayas.
Sometimes, even though it’s been documented somewhere that rabbits can and should have papaya, it doesn’t mean that yours will necessarily like it. So, in order not to upset your rabbit and cause unwanted problems, observe your rabbit’s reaction the first time you put papaya in front of it.
If it starts sniffing it for too long but doesn’t actually eat it – that’s your sign to give up. Don’t worry; there’s nothing wrong with your pet. There are other fruits out there that you can feed it. (lettuce, kale, etc.)
Also, it would be good if you checked your pet 24 hours after consuming this fruit – just in case it doesn’t have any allergic reactions.
3. Sugar intake should be monitored.
Although papaya is not a fruit that has an excessive amount of sugar in it, feeding abnormal amounts to your rabbit can be dangerous for its health—again, measuring this treat before feeding is crucial.
There’s also one other thing you should know – you can feed your rabbit papaya skin and leaves, but not the seeds. It would be even better if you freshened up the leave with some water and served them as a fast summer treat.
You can also mix it with other fruits and vegetables like carrots, escarole, and cilantro.
What if my rabbit ate too much papaya? What do I do?
If your pet rabbit has gone overboard with papayas, the first sign that something is wrong would be diarrhea or nausea. However, if your pet has been consuming this sweet and tasty fruit 24/7, you might be looking at signs of obesity.
To be perfectly clear – you don’t want any of this, especially not an obese bunny!
The Benefits Of Papayas
Unlike some other fruits, papaya is not loaded with calories or sugar. But just to be sure, let’s take a look at the nutritional value of one small papaya.
In some papayas, there are also traces of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B2. Nevertheless, from the two tables above, it’s clear that this fruit is a pure health bomb!
One particular indicator that catches your attention would be vitamin C – papaya has tons of it. What is vitamin C actually good for?
- Vitamin C is a micronutrient that is everywhere, and it’s full of benefits.
- Vitamin C is good for stress. With humans, it’s good for smokers and people fighting obesity. With animals (rabbits), it’s good for rabbits carrying cubs. Wild rabbits usually suffer from vitamin C deficiency, so add this to your rabbit’s diet if you have the chance.
- As you already probably know, vitamin C is crucial in maintaining a strong immune system – it’s excellent in fighting diseases and protecting your rabbits from them as well. A regular intake of vitamin C will make your rabbit’s immune system healthier in general.
- Vitamin C can also prevent strokes. Rabbits are animals that are easily scared, and sometimes surprise fear can cause a stroke. According to research, consuming papaya lowers the risk by almost 42%. Also, it reduces the chances of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
- A regular intake of vitamin C through fruits and vegetables reduces inflammation. For example, if your rabbit is suffering from some internal inflammation or stomach problem, the natural way to deal with this would be to give your rabbit some vitamin C – papaya, maybe?
- Vitamin C is also great in maintaining muscular strength and protecting from their degeneration. This is very important for those rabbits that have suffered some injury or have poor bone density. After a period of nourishment through vitamin C, results will be evident.
Besides papaya, here are other alternatives also rich in vitamin C: cantaloupe, orange juice, red cabbage, green pepper, kiwi, tomato juice, red pepper, etc.
Apart from these incredible health benefit of vitamin C, papaya has a few more in store:
- Papaya will help your rabbit maintain your rabbit’s eye health. More precisely, the vitamin A contained will preserve good sight and protect it from deteriorating faster than usual. This is a suitable solution for older rabbits – ramp up the intake of papaya, but not too much!
- Papaya contains enzymes that help your rabbits digest the food better. What it does exactly is breaks down the ingredients that your rabbit consumed during the day. This is an excellent solution for rabbits that have been dealing with a blockage in their gastrointestinal tract.
- Papaya can actually help your rabbit lose weight, but only if you pay close attention to the amount you feed it. If you go on including this in their meals every other day, you will cause the complete opposite – an obese rabbit. So, if you want to help your rabbit lose a couple of extra pounds, carefully measure this before feeding it and watch the papaya do its magic.
- The potassium contained in papaya is excellent at keeping your rabbit’s kidneys healthy. If your rabbit is facing the danger of kidney failure, papaya will definitely help. Of course, besides the medication you will be given, you can throw a slice or two now and then.
How To Find & Serve Papaya
The papaya tree is similar to your basic palm tree. Papayas usually grow close to the equator, and that’s where their natural habitat is. Naturally, this fruit thrives in strong sunlight and warm weather in general. Once planted, you can expect the papaya tree to start fruiting in less than a year.
Nowadays, papaya is distributed and exported all over the world. While Hawaii is the only place papaya is grown for commercial purposes, India is its largest exporter with 38% of global production.
Lucky for us, we can get a hold of papayas anywhere – from your local grocery store to the market. The peak season for papayas is, of course, the summer.
Now, when you are shopping for papayas, it should meet the following standards:
- In one piece
- Clean surface, free of visible foreign matters
- With no external moisture (excluding condensation)
- Without an unpleasant smell
- Fresh in appearance
- Free of bruises
- Not too soft when touched
The cost of papaya depends on whether you are looking for a fresh product out of the market or dry papayas. One ordinary fresh papaya can cost up to $2, while dried papayas are a bit more expensive, with the price reaching $6.
Once you’ve brought the papayas home, it’s time to serve them to your rabbit. How do you do this?
Here’s a quick guide:
- Wash the papaya thoroughly
- Peel the papaya carefully.
- Cut the papaya in half (lengthwise).
- Take out the seeds from the papaya. Make sure that you clean them all because they are toxic to your rabbit.
- Chop the papaya into tiny slices and measure one teaspoon.
- Serve this as a treat after the meal.
Here’s a video on how to cut and serve your papaya in just a couple of seconds:
How Long Do Papayas Last?
A whole papaya can last up to 6 days on your kitchen counter and 9 days in the fridge. On the other hand, cut papaya can last only 4 hours in your kitchen and 3 days maximum in the fridge.
Storing papayas in the freezer is not recommended. If you freeze your papaya, it will completely lose its nutritional value.
As you can see, the shelf life of papayas is not as long as you had hoped for, so you shouldn’t buy larger quantities if you’re not planning on eating them within the next week.
How To Tell If Your Papaya Is Bad?
There are a couple of things you need to look for:
- Dark spots: if your papaya has dark spots all over it, it might be infected with bacteria or pesticides, and it’s time to throw it away.
- Signs of mold: mold occurs due to improper storage of the papaya, and this is not safe to consume
- Too soft: if your papaya is too soft and looks like your fingers are squishing it, it’s probably past its expiration date long ago
- The smell: of course, the main sign that something is rotten or bad is the smell – if your papaya has a sour smell, throw it in the trash
Enrich Your Knowledge On Papayas
If you and your pet rabbit are starting to like this fruit, here are a couple of interesting facts about papayas that you might didn’t know until now:
- Papaya is also called pawpaw or papaw.
- Before its worldwide popularity, this was a rare exotic fruit.
- Papaya is actually a huge berry in the shape of a pear.
- The papaya tree produces beautiful white flowers.
- The papaya tree doesn’t have any branches.
- Mexican and Hawaiian papayas are the two most popular species.
Now that you’ve enriched your knowledge about everything related to papayas, it’s time for you to surprise your pet rabbit with this tasty and nutritious fruit! Bon appetite!