It may seem a little odd and gross, but rabbits eat their own poop once a day, either early in the morning or late at night. Rabbits, like cats, are very punctilious groomers and practice very good hygiene. They are often seen licking their paws, cleaning the fur on their ears, and even cleaning their bottoms.
But when cleaning their bottoms, they may also consume a special type of poop. While this may sound like quite the opposite of a good hygiene practice, there is actually a very good reason why rabbits do this.
The thing is rabbits just don’t eat simple poop. Rabbits pass out two sorts of feces. Regular dry pellets that look like familiar ‘rabbit poo’ and the second type of soft feces called cecotropes. Rabbits eat a special type of feces or a substance called cecotropes or “night feces.”
They are produced through the fermentation of food in the part of the rabbit’s digestive tract called the cecum. Cecotropes have more protein and certain vitamins such as vitamin B and less fiber than normal feces.
These soft feces are re-ingested later by the rabbit so that important nutrients can be reabsorbed. Cecotropes are full of nutrients that a rabbit needs, so a rabbit is getting all of the important nutrients that it needs to stay healthy. It is completely normal behavior for rabbits to eat cecotropes at night or early in the morning, but it is not normal for them to eat their normal stools during the day.
Curious owners are often disturbed when they see their rabbits eat their own poop, but now that you have read and understood why rabbits eat their own poop, you should relax. And realize that Cecotrope ingestion is a normal and important part of rabbit behavior that will help keep your pet healthy. And Owners should not try to prevent their rabbits from eating their own poop.