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The Scoop on Decoding Bunny Poops

by Tracy Ramsey Meadows
The Bossy Bunny

Bunnies can be litter box trained. However, even the best trained bunny may still leave a few dropping around at times. Bunnies are also very territorial, and this is one way they like to mark their territory. Suzie likes to leave her poop markings in the cat beds at our house. Bunnies also know how to use their poop to make a statement. For example, if Suzie hears her dad’s voice during her “out” time in the living room, but he is not inside giving her blueberries or her loving, she’ll leave a single poop in his spot on the couch.

Pile of rabbit poopA perfect pile of poop

You can thank Suzie for this perfect pile of poop. These droppings are perfect for her size. They aren’t too soft or too dry. This means she is eating a lot of hay and drinking a lot of water. Suzie always knew her poop was special, but she had no idea how special this type of poop really is. Or, maybe she does and that’s why she doesn’t like me to steal it. Most bunnies don’t like it when you remove their poop. They don’t like their stuff messed with, so it is best to clean out their litter box when they are preoccupied with something else.

You can tell so much about your bunny’s health just by learning the difference in his/her poop. If you’ve ever had a sick bunny, you know how important it is to examine your bunny’s poop, especially if you haven’t seen any within a few hours. Bunnies can shoot out a couple hundred poop pellets a day. I used to refer to Suzie as my Pez Dispenser when I first brought her home.

Two rabbit poops connected with furConnected poops

When you see a “string of pearls” type of poop like the picture on the left, it means your bunny is ingesting fur. Brushing will help prevent the ingested fur from becoming a blockage. Bunnies cannot throw up, so it is imperative that you brush or pluck the loose fur from your bunny. Unlimited hay and water also help to push the ingested fur through their digestive system.

Small and big poops: Rabbit poops in different sizesPoops in different sizes

Both of the poop samples in the picture to the right are from Suzie. You can see how much smaller the one on the left is. She wasn’t eating enough hay, so I started providing her with a variety of hay and you can see how much larger the poop on the right is. Good job, Suzie! If your bunny doesn’t seem to be eating a lot of hay, try a different type. There are so many varieties out there, like timothy, orchard, oat, or brome. Keep trying until you find one your bunny likes. Aim for helping your bunny achieve nice, big, round poop!

Soft, moist poop

Soft, moist dropping usually mean your bunny’s diet is to high in protein or sugar. Try decreasing those foods and increasing the hay intake. If these types of droppings still continue, you may need to check with your veterinarian to make sure there isn’t something else going on with your bunny’s health.

Cecotropes - rabbit poopCecotropes

Suzie the rabbit reingesting her cecotropes

Small clusters of shiny droppings that look like a blackberry or a bunch of grapes are technically not considered poop. They are called cecotropes or cecal pellets.They are quite smelly and mushy, but they are common. There is a healthy bacteria in these smelly gems and it is very important that your bunny reingest these (yes, eat them). If you see an excessive amount of these lying around, take a look at your bunny’s diet. You might need to scale the treats (including fruit) and pellets back a bit. Be prepared for your approval rating to go down, though.

The word “cecotropes” doesn’t really roll off the tongue. Many people have their own name for them. We call them butt snacks at our house, but I’ve seen them referred to as bum nuggets, bum toffees, poopcicles, butt candy, butt butter, etc.

Here is Suzie demonstrating the pose she assumes to consume her cecotropes while under my desk at work one day. Butt snacks are portable.