Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spotlight Question: Why Is Citrus Bad For Rodents like Rats and Mice? (And Rabbits!)

Whether Feeding Rodents Citrus or not can be CONFUSING! It may be "no" on some websites or "yes" on another!

"My understanding of feeding any citrus fruits is that the acid contained in them is much too harsh on the lining of the hamster’s stomach! Keep in mind that they certainly won’t kill your hamster, but will upset the lining in their stomach. We certainly wouldn’t want that. With this in mind, it is not a recommended food to be feeding your hamster in any of the books you read."

"as far as I know it's okay to feed to them..."

"First, it is only male rats that you need to be careful with when it comes to oranges. It is because of d-limonene in the skin oil of oranges. Because of a protein that male rats have in their kidneys it can cause kidney damage and kidney cancer. When they make orange juice, they use the whole orange which means d-limonene gets into the juice. You can feed male rats pieces of peeled oranges if you're careful to wash it off after you have peeled it. Orange juice is safe to give to female rats."

"  Our rabbits get orange pretty much every day during harvest season. I give them the peels of the fruit we eat, as well as fruit & peel from oranges that have fallen off the tree. In the beginning of the season they may get 1/4 orange each as a treat every few days, but as time passes the amount they get increases until the end of the season (which is really long for us as we harvest from January to June/July). Although I'll generally give them 1/4-1/2 an orange, when I have enough windfalls I'll give them a whole fruit each. It's amazing how quickly a rabbit can polish off a whole orange!"

"Anything acidic is supposed to be bad."

Rodents and rabbits should Not (and I mean N-O-T!!) eat citrus. Male rats can't have citrus, but female rats can. Why? It has very high acid levels, and it causes mouth ulcers. Rabbits have SUUUUPPER delicate digestive systems, and they cannot vomit. Their appendix - That's right, the useless thing you most likely had removed as a kid - helps them digest hay and grass. Acidic foods break down that delicate stomach lining and cause death! Feeding oranges is NOT recommended at all! Even if websites say so, rabbits and rodents SHOULD NEVER HAVE CITRUS! Only female rats can have it Veeerrry sparingly.

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