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Warning: 21 Plants That Are Poisonous To Rabbits [2023]

Plants Poisonous To Rabbits

Letting your bunnies explore is a good thing.

It’s a way for them to exercise.

Or spend your quality time together.

But as a rabbit parent…

You want to give them an extra level of safety.

Especially on everything they can chew on.

Read on to learn:

  • Why rabbits eat poisonous plants.
  • 21 elegant plants that are poisonous to rabbits.
  • What kind of popular flowers are actually fatal to bunnies.
  • And so much more…

21 plants that are poisonous to rabbits

Disclaimer: While this content is written with the most accurate and helpful information available to the author’s knowledge at this moment, the following article is not a substitute for professional vet help. Always consult your vet when in doubt. The article below is simply for informational purposes.

#1: Azalea

This flower can make your garden look delightful.

But be careful when your bunnies are around. 

Azaleas contain grayanotoxin.

It’s a toxic substance that’s present in every part of the plant.

When ingested by your rabbit, watch out for these symptoms:

  • Drooling.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Breathing difficulty.

The nectar or the sugary fluid in the azalea flower is also toxic.

Bees feeding on azalea flowers even carry this toxin when they make honey.

Hence, the term mad honey.

Keep your bunnies away from this plant as much as possible.

#2: Bittersweet

As the name indicates…

This plant shouldn’t be anywhere near your rabbits.

The entire plant is toxic, including its tiny yellow fruits.

Bittersweet contains cardenolides.

This is a class of steroids that are poisonous to animals.

Plants with cardenolides use this as their defense mechanism.

This toxic substance is also used in some Asian countries as dart poison.

While birds can safely eat bittersweet’s fruits…

It’s a big no for your rabbits.

Your bunnies may suffer from diarrhea and muscle weakness.

In worst cases, seizures.

#3: Daffodils

Daffodils are common garden plants.

But if you have bunnies at home…

Planting them might not be the best idea.

Despite their attractive flowers, daffodils are poisonous.

Every part of this plant contains a toxic substance called lycorine.

And the highest lycorine content is in the daffodil bulb

Or the onion-like root that grows underground.

Daffodils can cause the following to your bunnies:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Dehydration.
  • Abdominal pain.

Did you know: Daffodils are a natural pest-repellent. It gives off an odor that animals don’t like.

#4: Buttercup

This plant can give you that countryside vibe. 

And it could be a backyard must-have.

Except it’s a potential hazard to your rabbit.

Buttercup is a flowering plant that usually grows in lakes or riversides. 

It belongs to a large genus of ranunculus.

All flowering plants that belong to this group are toxic.

Keep this away from your rabbit.

It may cause digestive pain and breathing difficulty.

Note: Be cautious when touching the plant, especially when leaves are torn. It may cause skin burns and blisters.

#5: Ivy

If you’re into plant collection…

Ivy plants could be a must-have for you.

But your bunny’s welfare is something you may want to consider.

It’s because ivy plants are dangerous to rabbits.

With their toxic properties saponins

It can destroy rabbits’ red blood cells.

The highest concentration of saponins is present in its leaves and berries.

When ingested, your rabbits may suffer from the following:

  • Anemia.
  • Seizures.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Muscle weakness.

#6: Water hemlock

The US Department of Agriculture describes it as: 

“The most violently toxic plant that grows in North America.”

Its deadly substance cicutoxin targets the nervous system of animals.

In general, symptoms after ingestion include:

  • Seizures.
  • Drooling.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Rapid breathing.

Moreover, all parts of water hemlock contain this toxin.

When ingested, it can kill animals in as early as 15 minutes to 2 hours.

Water hemlock poisoning usually occurs in horses and cattle.

However, it is still a major threat to pet owners.

Be sure to check your surroundings.

Or keep your rabbits in sight while they play outdoors.

Note: Dispose of the plant in a safe place away from any animals. Water hemlocks keep their toxicity even when they’re dry.

#7: Deadly nightshade

As the name suggests…

Deadly nightshade is indeed lethal.

Its varieties contain lots of toxic components, such as:

  • Nitrate.
  • Solanine.
  • Saponins. 
  • Atropine-like substances.

These toxins may result in the following:

  • Coma.
  • Death.
  • Drooling.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Breathing difficulty.
  • Muscle tremors or shaking.

Moreover, all parts of this plant are poisonous.

Especially deadly nightshade’s berry-like fruits.

So, if you see one in your backyard…

Get rid of it immediately.

#8: Foxglove

This flower’s rainbow colors may brighten up your sight.

But it can be distressing for your rabbits.

Foxglove targets your bunny’s heart and kidneys when ingested.

All parts of this plant contain the following toxic substances:

  • Digoxins. 
  • Cardiac glycosides.
  • Steroidal glycosides.

Other symptoms of poisoning include:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Muscle tremors.
  • Irregular heart rate.
  • Delirium or disrupted attention

In some cases, poisoning can happen through water contamination.

So, be watchful of any stagnant water in your surroundings.

Always give your bunnies fresh water from time to time.

#9: Poppy

Poppies Are Poisonous To Rabbits

According to a study, poppies contain opium alkaloids.

The dry latex from poppies is what makes up opium.

Opium is a narcotic drug, a substance that affects behavior.

This drug contains these alkaloids:

  • Codeine.
  • Thebaine.
  • Morphine.
  • Noscapine.
  • Papaverine.

These alkaloids are even used for severe pain relief, which can be a reason for people to misuse it.

Overall, poppies may give vibrant colors in your garden…

But it’s a real threat to your bunnies.

When they ingest this plant, it can result to:

  • Death.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Breathing difficulty.

#10: Ragwort

Ragworts often grow in climates with mild temperatures.

They can also grow in tropical countries.

Unfortunately, ragwort poisoning can happen anytime.

Especially forage-eating animals like rabbits, cattle, and horses. 

Some animals smell threat in other plants.

But when it comes to ragworts…

They can munch on it without a doubt.

And when they do, it can cause long-term liver failure.

This is due to its toxic substance pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

Warning: Some hay and pellet products may contain dried ragworts. So, be cautious when buying one for your bunny.

#11: Begonia

Begonias have mesmerizing flowers that are perfect outdoors.

But they’re high in soluble calcium oxalate content.

When ingested by your rabbits, this can cause kidney stones.

In severe cases, it’ll result in kidney failure.

Moreover, begonias’ most toxic parts are its tuber and roots.

Tubers are potato-like underground organs that store plant nutrients.

But its flowers may cause the following symptoms:

  • Drooling.
  • Swelling of the throat.
  • Difficulty in swallowing.

Your bunnies may also feel an intense burning sensation in the following:

  • Lips.
  • Mouth.
  • Throat.
  • Tongue.

#12: Meadow saffron

Meadow saffrons are a common garden and indoor plant.

If you have this at home…

You may want to keep it away from your bunny and other pets.

Here’s why.

Meadow saffron’s toxic content colchicine prevents cell division.

If your rabbits ingest this, it’ll mess with their cell and tissue functions in the body.

Hence, leading to multiple organ failure.

Watch out for these symptoms after ingestion:

  • Seizures.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Severe drooling.
  • Kidney and liver failure.

#13: Dahlia

Dahlias are popular for their varieties.

They come in different shapes like round, flat, or cone.

Miniature types grow around 2 in (5 cm).

While giant types can reach up to 12 in (30 cm).

But, this plant has its greatest flaw. 

It contains phototoxic polyacetylene substances.

Exposure to visible light triggers chemical reactions.

And can cause skin irritations to humans and other pets. 

Rabbits may have fur…

But they’re still vulnerable to poisoning when ingested.

Symptoms of poisoning include:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Dehydration.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Breathing difficulty.

#14: Iris

Coming from the Greek word for rainbow…

The iris’ colorful beauty contains toxic compounds, such as:

  • Resinoids.
  • Pentacyclic terpenoids.

These are present in all parts of the iris plant.

Its stems and flowers have lesser toxicity.

But when consumed by animals in large amounts, it can cause:

  • Drooling.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Mouth sores.
  • Lack of appetite.

Iris poisoning is mild in humans.

But it can be harsh on animals like rabbits and other pets.

In rare cases, it leads to death.

#15: Lily of the valley

With its white, bell-shaped flowers and red berries…

Lily of the valley isn’t only preferred by plant enthusiasts.

But also by animals.

Its tiny fruits may be sweet tasting and fragrant.

But they’re poisonous.

It contains a lot of toxic substances including:

  • Saponins.
  • Convallarin.
  • Cardenolides
  • Convallatoxin.
  • Convallamarin.

When ingested by your rabbits, it can cause:

  • Death.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Breathing difficulty.

Note: Most animal poisonings show contamination of lawn clippings with this plant. 

#16: Primrose

This plant could be a great addition to your garden.

But it’s a potential threat to you and your rabbit.

Primrose produces a sticky substance primin.

This causes allergic reactions when touched.

Or when it comes in contact with you and your rabbit’s eyes.

This is due to the benzoquinone (skin-irritant) properties of primin.

Moreover, the following symptoms may occur when ingested:

  • Drooling.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Stomach pain.

Note: Primrose’s allergens can be airborne. Keep this plant away from your bunnies to prevent eye irritation.

#17: Morning glory

Mornings can become glorious…

Especially seeing your rabbits happy and healthy.

But potential threats to your pets may also be around the corner.

And common garden plants like morning glory aren’t an exception.

Morning glories have indole alkaloids.

It comes with lots of other toxic properties, such as:

  • Lysergamide.
  • Lysergic acid.
  • Elymoclavine.
  • Chanoclavine.

Moreover, these toxins are high in morning glory seeds.

Ingesting large amounts can cause hallucinations.

Or a sensory disruption.

Ingestion of its foliage or dried or fallen leaves may cause diarrhea in your rabbits.

#18: Tulips

Tulips are popular flowering plants in the world.

But this beauty isn’t that rabbit-friendly.

It can cause tulip itch or skin irritation.

Tulips contain the following toxic properties:

  • Tuliposide.
  • Glycosides and alkaloids.

But the highest concentration of toxins is in the tulip’s bulb.

The tulip’s bulb is onion-like in shape and form.

While bulbs are only visible underground…

A rabbit’s natural tendency is to dig or burrow outdoors.

When ingested in large amounts, tulips may target your bunny’s nervous system.

Or death in severe cases.

To prevent poisoning, it’s best to keep tulips away from your pet’s reach.

#19: Sweet peas

Sweet peas are popular ornamental plants.

But their toxic properties are a health hazard to your bunnies.

This is because sweet peas contain:

  • Amine.
  • Phenol.
  • Glycoside.
  • Lathyrogen.

Its seeds are highly poisonous.

Once ingested, it can cause paralysis.

Or loss of function in the body, particularly muscle movements.

In some cases, sweet pea poisoning leads to:

  • Seizures.
  • Shallow breathing.
  • Slow or weak pulse.

Sounds like they aren’t that sweet at all…

#20: Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums are not only world-class ornaments.

They’re also popular in the market as pesticides.

And commercial companies are cultivating them for this purpose.

Chrysanthemum contains a toxic substance pyrethrum in their flowers.

Pyrethrum undergoes a conversion process to produce pyrethrin.

This becomes the primary ingredient in pesticides.

With these facts in mind…

Chrysanthemum is poisonous to humans and animals.

When ingested, your rabbits may suffer from:

  • Drooling.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Seizures.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Lack of coordination.

Also, chrysanthemums contain sesquiterpene lactones.

This may cause some allergic reactions like rashes.

#21: Lupine

Lupines or bluebonnets grow in mountain ranges.

Despite its beauty, lupines toxicity can affect mammals and their offspring.

Lupines contain the highest quinolizidine alkaloids content in their seeds.

This plant shouldn’t be anywhere near plant-eating animals like rabbits.

Especially when they’re expecting.

Lupines also contain anagyrine.

Anagyrine limits uterine motility or movement.

And causes bone deformities in the fetus.

Watch this video about a list of poisonous plants for your rabbits:

Will rabbits eat poisonous plants?

Rabbits rely on plants as their main source of diet.

So, it’s unsafe to assume that they can smell red flags in their food.

Or whether a plant is poisonous or not.

Especially if they’re domesticated at home.

Moreover, a rabbit’s natural behavior is to forage, or search, for food.

And constant chewing is a health benefit for them.

Searching for food resources is in their DNA.

Foraging behaviors include:

  • Digging.
  • Grazing on grass.
  • Stripping off tree bark.
  • Feeding on fallen or dried leaves on the ground.

As a rabbit owner, you may have noticed these behaviors in your bunnies.

Domesticated rabbits may keep their instincts at home.

Or they may not, especially when they’re trained.

In the wild, rabbits learn to avoid plants that are a threat to them.

They adapt this skill from older members of their warren (underground colony).

Rabbits may avoid plants if it has:

  • Spines.
  • Prickles.
  • Strong odor.
  • Leathery leaves.

Some plants also have a defense mechanism to keep animals away.

In some cases, rabbits may still munch on suspicious plants.

Especially during drought or when food is scarce.