Q:

What kind of food do wild rabbits eat?

A:

The diet of wild rabbits is partially determined by season. From spring to fall, they consume grass, clover, wildflowers, crops and weeds, while during the winter they subsist on buds, twigs, bark and any green plant. They also eat their own feces in a process called coprophagy, allowing them to maximize nutrients gained from difficult-to-digest vegetation.

Wild rabbits begin eating vegetation at around 2 weeks, joining their mother by the time they are 4- to 5-weeks-old. They like to feed and travel along human areas and paths. Their feeding areas are indicated by the presence of flower heads, buds and young stems cleanly clipped off or evidence of gnawing on fallen twigs and woody branches. Weeds and clover cropped close to the ground also reveal the presence of wild rabbits.

Wild rabbits eat farm and garden crops, causing them to come into conflict with foresters, farmers and others. Areas can be blocked to try and prevent access, but once rabbits have congregated, it is difficult to deter them. Instead, planting rabbit-resistant plants can deter their appetites, though it is important to note that if their preferred foods are unavailable, rabbits eat anything they can. Black-eyed Susans, snapdragons, rosemary, mint and sage are all less-palatable to wild rabbits.

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