Can you eat wild rabbits?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat wild rabbits?” and discuss what kind of rabbit we can eat?

Can you eat wild rabbits?

Yes, you can eat wild rabbits. Myths don’t always have the last word. It’s possible to see the worms beneath the skin. A worm-infested rabbit won’t be eaten. The worms and other parasites on your rabbit may be killed by cooking it at 165 degrees Fahrenheit

There are several parasites of rabbits. The (metazoan and protozoan) parasite and pathogen fauna of O. cuniculus has been well documented in various countries of Europe. Thus far, Digenea (8 species), Cestoda (14), Nematoda (43), Acarina (15), Diptera (8), Phthiraptera and Siphonaptera (7), and Pentastomida (1) have been identified to parasitize wild rabbits (as intermediate and final hosts) worldwide or were successfully infected experimentally. Further several protozoan parasites of wild and domestic rabbits are known, e.g., Eimeria intestinalis (Sporozoa), Eimeria coecicola, Sarcocystis cuniculi (Sporozoa), and Trypanosoma nabiasi (Flagellata). Among the protozoan rabbit parasites are several human pathogenic species like the microsporidian Encephalitozoon cuniculi, the cryptosporidian Cryptosporidium cuniculus and Toxoplasma gondii (Sporozoa) (3). Toxoplasma gondii is considered one of the most important foodborne and waterborne parasites of veterinary and medical importance worldwide. Consumption of undercooked or raw meat containing tissue cysts is the primary way of infection of T. gondii for humans (4).

Because tick bites and blood contact may transmit Tularemia, this is another factor. This may be prevented, though, by boiling the meat and using gloves while handling and cleaning raw rabbit (as you should anyway). Tularemia is almost exclusively a rural disease. It occurs initially in various vertebrates, such as rabbits, hares, squirrels, sheep, cattle, cat and invertebrates, such as lagomorphs and rodents. Different ways of transmission to humans are as such: insect bite, contact with animals, contact with or consuming contaminated animal products or water (5).

The possibility of getting this is low, but it’s really simple to prevent. However, the incidence of the disease in the US has decreased gradually.. Non-endemic areas, such as Kosovo, Spain, and Turkey, experienced an increasing number of tularemia outbreaks during the past decade (5). Another problem is the presence of intestinal worms, although they don’t impact the meat. Because rabbit intestines are out of the question, you should be OK. 

On warmer days, it’s important to keep an eye out for fleas and ticks and rapidly gather and preserve meat. Local hunting rules may be the only thing keeping you from eating rabbits.

A survey in Romania revealed that rabbit meat is perceived as lean and low cholesterol, healthier and tastier than other meats, but more expensive, that its consumption is low, being 2.2 times lower than chicken and 1.8 times lower than pork, and that 29.6% of people surveyed have never eaten rabbit meat (1).

Rabbits come in a variety of varieties.

A lot of people throughout the world eat rabbit meat. Stew, soup, and barbeque recipes are all made using it. There are a wide variety of rabbit breeds that are good for both children and adults to consume. Rabbits are easy to breed and inexpensive to care for. Today, only very few processed meat products manufactured with rabbit meat are marketed, such as hamburgers, stuffed rolls and baby foods. This is because even though rabbit meat presents a nutritional profile which is similar to poultry, there are crucial limits impeding the spread of processed rabbit products (2).

It’s safe for those with a variety of illnesses and those who want to lose weight to consume rabbit meat, which falls under the white meat category. Rabbit meat, which has a reduced salt concentration, may also be eaten by those with hypertension. It contains less sodium than chicken meat (2).

Based on rabbit meat’s excellent nutritive and dietetic properties, it can be successfully included in the functional foods category. Worldwide, rabbit meat is valued for its high nutritional properties, with a lower-fat content, less saturated fatty acids and lower cholesterol contents than other meats. Compared to other meat types (chicken, beef, and pork), it was found that rabbit meat was richer in calcium (21.4 mg/100 g) and phosphorus (347 mg/100 g) and lower in fat (9.2 g/100 g) and cholesterol (56.4 mg/100 g) (1). 

The eastern cottontail rabbit is the most common wild rabbit in the United States. Due to the abundance of predators in the environment, this rabbit has a limited lifetime. Each year, wild rabbits produce up to five litters of bunnies in order to ensure their survival.

Rabbits of the eastern cottontail

It is the most common species of a cottontail rabbit in the eastern United States. The eastern cottontail rabbit is distinguished by its “cotton ball” tail, which ranges in color from grey to reddish-brown. From the East Coast to the Great Plains, they may be found throughout the United States.

They like open areas like meadows, farms, and fields as their habitats. Humans aren’t the only ones who can find a new home for these creatures. In the evening, they come out to eat grass, herbs, and garden produce like lettuce and peas. nocturnal

During the winter, they eat twigs, barks, and buds that have fallen from trees. If they are observed during the day, these rabbits will run in terror. When escaping, they may travel at speeds of up to 18 miles per hour.

Where in Missouri is rabbit season?

In Missouri, the rabbit season begins on October 1 and ends on February 15 of the next year. The eastern cottontail is the most prevalent rabbit species in Missouri. Hunting for this species is both exciting and rewarding because of its wide distribution over the state.

There is a daily maximum of six rabbits that may be hunted, with two of them being swamp rabbits. The maximum number of rabbits you may own is 12, with four of them being swamp rabbits.

What time of year is it in Indiana when rabbits are in abundance?

The common rabbit species in Indiana is the eastern cottontail rabbit. From November 1 through February 28 of the following year, Indiana has a rabbit season. Hunting for rabbits requires a hunting license unless you qualify for an exemption.

Depending on the Fish and Wildlife region in which a property is located, the hours of hunting might vary from one property to the next. There are no limits on the kind of equipment or ammunition that may be used to hunt rabbits in the state of Maine. However, using a ferret to remove a rabbit from a den, tree hollow, or burrow is against the law.

In Georgia, when is rabbit season?

The Georgia rabbit season extends from November 16 through February 28 of the following year. A daily restriction of twelve bunnies is enforced. Hunters in Georgia are obliged to get a license.

Hunting licenses and permits may be purchased via a licensed agent, over the phone, or on the Georgia Department of Natural Resources website. Both non-residents and current city residents may apply for permits and licenses through the city website.

Wild rabbits may be eaten when they’re in season.

It’s a popular saying among hunters: “Only shoot one rabbit a month with an “R” in it.” Infected deer flies or ticks may spread Francisella tularensis (Tularemia) or rabbit fever to rabbits.

Within a few months of infection, infected rabbits may die. Decreased tick activity means less danger of illness during the winter months. As a result, winter is the best season to enjoy rabbits as it is less likely to cause illness.

Although the incubation period for tularemia is approximately 3–5 days, it can range from 1 to 21 days. The clinical picture is dependent on the virulence, dose, and entry of the bacteria and the immunity of the host. The disease may be asymptomatic or may progress to sepsis and can cause death if not treated properly. Depending on the site of transmission, six different clinical forms can occur: ulceroglandular, glandular, oculoglandular, oropharyngeal, typhoid and pneumonic. 11–45% of patients with tularemia have symptoms or signs localized to the head and neck (5).

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In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat wild rabbits?” and we discussed what kind of rabbit we can eat?


  1. Petrescu, Dacinia Crina, and Ruxandra Malina Petrescu-Mag. Consumer behaviour related to rabbit meat as functional food. World Rabbit Sci, 2018, 26, 321-333. 
  2. Petracci, Massimiliano, and Claudio Cavani. Rabbit meat processing: historical perspective to future directions. World Rabbit Sci, 2013, 21, 217-226.    
  3. Frank, Raphael, et al. Parasites of wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) from an urban area in Germany, in relation to worldwide results. Parasitol res, 2013, 112, 4255-4266.
  4. Almeria, Sonia, et al. Epidemiological and Public Health Significance of Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Wild Rabbits and Hares: 2010–2020. Microorganisms, 2021, 9, 3.
  5. Çağlı, Sedat, et al. Tularemia: a rare cause of neck mass, evaluation of 33 patients. Euro arch oto-rhino-laryngol, 2011, 268, 1699-1704.