Papaya fruit, also known as pawpaw or papaw is a sweet and vibrant fruit with several health benefits and nutrients. It will help in digestion as it has papain enzyme, potassium and fibers are good for your heart, and the choline will help deal with inflammation. Furthermore, pawpaw can help enhance skin healing and healthy hair.
Going on with benefits, pawpaw has zeaxanthin antioxidant that helps reduce macular degeneration caused by aging, beta-carotene which will help prevent asthma and cancer risks. Its vitamin K will ensure you have strong, healthy hones and high fiber is good for people with diabetes.
Besides the nutrients we have mentioned, it also has sugars, carbohydrates, folate, vitamin A, B, lutein, magnesium, copper and pantothenic acid, among others.
Can pawpaw be given to rabbits?
Yes. Rabbits can eat papaya including with their skin, but you should remove the pits. It is not toxic and has a lot of nutrients as we have seen. Some sources claim that papaws and pineapples have enzymes that can help break down furballs and make it easy for the fur to pass through your rabbit’s digestive system if your furry ingests it while grooming. Also, the papain enzyme will aid in digestion.
Whereas it is beneficial as we have seen, remember like any other fruits including mangoes, oranges, berries, plums, apples, and so on, it should be given as an occasional treat in small amounts. A teaspoon will be enough for a bunny that weighs about two pounds. Give them once or twice a week.
When giving them papaw, do so to bunnies above three months of age and begin with small amounts as you observe how their tummy is going to react after 24 hours. You can use this treat to socialize your furry friends, in logic toys to enhance their intelligence or while training them including when you are litter training them.
Rabbits cannot handle foods with a lot of sugar and carbohydrates, and they are bound to cause some gastrointestinal problems such as stomach upsets, diarrhea, bloating and so on. Therefore, limit the amount of any treat that has a lot of sugar and carbohydrates including papaya.
Besides, the much sugar and carbohydrates are likely to cause weight gain and obesity in your rabbits. Obesity comes along with several other health problems including reduced lifespan.
What about the skin and leaves?
Bunnies can eat papaya leaves and the skin of the fruit. It will not affect them. One study on the effect of papaya leaves on reproduction performance concluded that “pawpaw leaves can be served to rabbits either in its fresh or wilted state.” This shows that leaves are safe.
The leaves do not contain a lot of sugars and carbohydrates, and you can feed them a little more. Mix them with a few more leafy greens such as arugula, carrot tops, escarole, endive, kales, wheatgrass, watercress, cilantro, romaine lettuce and so on. One packed cup of these leafy green mixtures including pawpaw leaves will be enough for a bunny weighing two pounds.
Papaya fruit should be given as a treat. Its leaves can be part of the leafy-greens for your bunnies. Do not forget to provide them with unlimited amounts of high-quality hay, a small amount of pellets and occasional treats.
Dried papaya is also ok for rabbits. However, you need to reduce the amount given since it has more sugar when compared to a raw fresh one.