Rabbit Digestion and Weaning
Keywords:Rabbit, lagomorph, digestion, weaning, wildlife rehabilitation
Rabbits have a fairly unique digestive system. Their anatomy has definite advantages, but also creates a very delicate balance that can easily be upset, especially in wildlife rehabilitation settings. Cottontails are able to extract energy and nutrients from food that is very low in both. The rabbits are assisted by bacteria that colonize their hindgut and digest nutrients that mammals usually cannot. Anything that upsets the balance of beneficial vs. bad bacteria may result in bloating, diarrhea, dehydration, and death. An understanding of how a rabbit’s digestive system works can help us to find ways to prevent upsetting their delicate balancing act, especially during the crucial changes that occur at weaning.
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Copyright (c) 2004 National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (NWRA)
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