Names: Solanum melongena,Eggplant (New Zealand, US, and Anglophone Canada), Aubergine (Quebec, UK, and Ireland), brinjal (South African and South Asia).
Family: Solanaceae (nightshade family) that has potatoes and tomatoes.
Description: Tropical perennial plant that thrives in temperate climates with a spiny stem, flowers ranging from purple to white with yellow stamens, and has egg-shaped purple to white spongy, absorbent fruit used as a vegetable but botanically classified as a fruit, and to be specific a berry. While mostly purple, the fruit may have other colors as well as vary in size and shape. Finally, the plant grows up to 40 to 150 cm in height, has large, coarsely lobed leaves that maybe 10 to 20 cm broad.
Cultivars and varieties: Eggplant varieties are the common aubergine, dwarf aubergine, and snake aubergine, while many cultivars may be oval, slim, white-colored like (garden eggs, Easter white eggplants, Casper or white eggplants) or bicolored.
Can rabbits eat eggplants?
Yes. Rabbits can eat eggplant fruit (vegetable) in a tiny amount as an occasional or rare treat. Please keep the amount shallow, one or two small slices because it is slightly higher in solanine glycoalkaloid poison, standing at about 11mg per average eggplant (1). Fully ripe tomatoes have a meager amount of solanine, a reason why they are safer.
A study on Hypolipidaemic Potentials of Solanum melongena and Solanum gilo on Hypercholesterolemic Rabbits concludes that Solanum melongena and Solanum gilo have a strong hypolipidemic effect which, combined with improved HDL/LDL ratio, is an indication of the possible use of this fruit in the treatment of diseases associated with hyperlipidemia such as ischemic heart diseases and arteriosclerosis.”
If you look at its nutrition, it has 92% water and low in most nutrients, i.e., isn’t nutrient-rich. Perhaps what it has are the phenolic and flavonoids like anthocyanin, which serve as potent antioxidants.
Another study on Eggplant Peel Extract as a Remedy for Hyperthyroidism in Male Rabbits concludes that “anthocyanins (nasunins) extracted from eggplant peel and might be used as a remedy to recover from hyperthyroid states to reduce the intake of chemical drugs.”
However, therapeutic and dietary uses are different, i.e., the therapeutic use of a particular food shouldn’t justify its safe nutritional use.
Finally, don’t forget to introduce it slowly over time and go for an organically grown aubergine as it is free of any herbicides, pesticides, or harmful fertilizers.
No to eggplant leaves
Unlike the fruit, eggplant leaves, stem, flowers, or any other part of the plant is high in solanine. Therefore, it is not safe for rabbits, and they shouldn’t eat it. It joints other members of the nightshade plants like tomato, potato, and peppers, which are toxic to bunnies.
Do bunnies like eggplants?
While your bunny may enjoy eating eggplants, they are among the plants that wild rabbits hardly touch, i.e., least favored, especially the aubergine plant.
Solanine toxicity symptoms may occur at high dosages, i.e., your bunny will have to eat a lot of eggplants leaves or tops. Some of these symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Fever or low temperature (hypothermia)
- A reduced breathing and heartbeat rate
Talk to your vet in case your bunny ate anything that has solanine for further diagnosis and treatment.
If you need to treat for your bunny, consider going for the following as they are much safer.
- Nonleafy veggies – asparagus, zucchinis, bell pepper, pumpkins, celery stalks, carrots, among others.
- Safe herbs – Rosemary, parsley, tarragon, sage, basil, thyme, marjoram, among many others.
- Safe flowers -Cornflower, dahlia, common daisy, common marigold, common hollyhock, and so on.
- Safe fruits – Apples (without core or pits), pineapples, papaya, blueberries, kiwis, among many others.