How To Care For Rabbits: Droppings
Why do rabbits have different colored poop at night? Should they be eating it? Should I keep them from eating their night droppings?
Though the habit sounds disgusting, it's perfectly normal for rabbits to eat part of their own waste. Rabbits produce these "cecotropes" or "night droppings," as well as most other mammals. However, unlike most mammals,
rabbits rely on the process of eating their cecotropes after they've passed them through their bodies.
Exactly what are "cecotropes"
Cecotropes are a substance that leaves a rabbit's body, but still has important nutritional value. Naturally, they are entirely different from the small pellet droppings that rabbits produce. Those droppings are
actual waste. Even though they exit from the same end of the rabbit, the difference between ordinary droppings and cecotropes is vital to a rabbit's health. Within its intestines, a rabbit produces cecum. Cecum is an
indigestible part of the animal's diet. Though it passes through the rabbit's body, it is not waste. Cecum helps rabbits produce vitamins, minerals, fatty and amino acids and the rabbit needs to eat the cecotropes to get these important nutrients.
Do cecotropes look different from ordinary rabbit droppings?
Yes. Cecotropes are a greenish color and are much softer. Rabbits often lick cecotropes straight from the anal area, so don't be alarmed by this behavior.
Do cecotropes mean that my rabbit is sick?
No, this process actually helps keep rabbits healthy. In fact, if your rabbit is unable to eat its cecotropes this could be an indicator of illness. Sometimes the cecotropes exit the rabbit's body at the same time as other wastes, or sometimes they are too runny for the rabbit to eat again. In each case, the rabbit could have a disease or nutritional problem, and should be checked out.