Can Rabbits Eat Iceberg Lettuce

Why you should not give your bunnies iceberg lettuce
Written by Editorial

Why is iceberg lettuce bad for rabbits? Is it its lower nutritional value or does it have harmful or toxic chemicals?

Lettuce is a popular annual vegetable that belongs to the family Asteraceae (daisy family). It is mainly cultivated for its leafy vegetables commonly used in salads and other types of cooking. However, its seeds and stem have other significance. 

There are many cultivars including leaf, romaine (cos), iceberg (crisphead), butterhead, summercrisp, celtuce (stem), and oilseed. 

Why you should not give your bunnies iceberg lettuce
Why you should not give your bunnies iceberg lettuce

We already looked at whether rabbits can eat lettuce. This post will focus on mainly the iceberg cultivar. 

Can bunnies have this type of lettuce? 

No. Rabbits should not be given iceberg lettuce or any other type that is light-colored since they “contain lactucarium, a chemical that can be harmful to your bunny’s health if ingested.” [1] This is the main reason why is iceberg lettuce is bad for rabbits. 

Lactucarium is known to create effects that mimic opium and it will make your bunnies “lethargic and give them a euphoric high”[2]Even in human beings, it will have an opiate-like effect but it will be mild as compared to the effect it causes in bunnies. 

Secondly, although nutritionally, it has carbohydrates, vitamin A, C, E, K, folate, choline among other as well as some of the minerals that include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, manganese, zinc, copper and so on.

Most of these nutrients are available in small quantities that might not mean much to this pet and it contains mainly water when compared to other lettuce types especially those with dark green leaves. 

Therefore, it joins other foods that you should not give your bunnies including tomato leaves, avocado, yogurt drops, bread, pasta, cookies, crackers, silverbeet, walnut, oatmeal, potatoes, meat, rhubarb, chocolates, peanut butter, and so on. 

We hope the issue of iceberg variety of lettuce and rabbits is settled. Simply do not give them even a small amount. 


Whereas bunnies might not eat this veggie, it does not mean their choices are limited. There are many others that they can eat including kale, spinach, collard green, dandelion green, basil, mint, watercress, wheatgrass, among others.

Also, remember fresh foods of which the bulk should leafy veggies accounts for only 10-15%. However, they are very important.

Finally, the bulk of a rabbit’s diet should be hay. Most bunnies will enjoy eating brands such as Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting “Perfect Blend” Timothy Hay Pet Food or Kaytee Timothy Hay. Also, give them only raw foods, never cooked or steamed ones.  

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We are a group of animals and pet fanciers and experts knowledgeable on most pets including dogs, rabbits, cats, fish, reptiles, birds, among other home pets.

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