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Targeting Your Rabbit's Taste Buds

Entice your rabbit to eat a healthy diet by appealing to its sense of taste.

By Sharon Vanderlip, DVM

rabbit nutrition articleRabbits have sensitive taste buds — and plenty of them. Rabbit taste buds have been studied for decades, and numerous scientific publications have detailed the complicated structure, function and types of taste buds found on rabbit tongues. 

Taste buds are especially abundant in the numerous foliate papillae, located at the sides of the base of the tongue. Each papillae looks like a tiny, cone-shaped bump or protuberance on the tongue. In the rabbit, there are approximately 7,000 taste buds on each individual foliate papilla! 

Foliate papillae are classified into types, according to function and microscopic anatomy. Clearly, not all taste buds are the same, and taste discrimination plays a very important role in what a rabbit likes to eat. With such a keen sense of taste, it is certainly no wonder that rabbits can be very particular about their food. It’s not your imagination — your bunny definitely has food preferences!

For the full article, pick up the 2011 issue of Rabbits USA or click here to buy the issue.

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