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Rabbits/HELP! Rabbit ate burlap string!!


Hi Dana,

My pet rabbit got a hold of a piece of burlap fabric almost 24 hours ago, and I caught him chewing on a fairly thick string of the fabric. Before I could get to him, I think he ate about 5-8 inches of it. Since then, he has been eating and drinking normally, and was pooping normally until this afternoon (at least 20 hours later). It seems that he has not pooped at all in the past 4 hours. I've been giving him lots of hay to help him digest quicker. His activity level is about the same, possibly a little slower, but he not been  lethargic at all.

Should I still be worried? Is burlap a fabric that they can digest or should I seek care with a vet?

What (if any) other possible things can I do to help him?

Thank you so much!

Dear Ann,

Burlap is made from organic fabric, if it's natural burlap.  As such, it should be somewhat digestible.  However, I'm not sure whether all burlap made these days is 100% plant-based.

If bun is not pooping, then you might want to contact a rabbit-savvy vet and ask for an opinion (at least over the phone) about whether bun should come in for a radiograph to be sure the string is not causing problems.

If bun is eating, then there is not likely an obstruction.

Twenty hours is a pretty long time for a string to be stuck in the intestine.  His lack of poop might not have anything to do with the string. But if it's synthetic, it might stay in the stomach along with some other food matter that doesn't pass through quickly, such as hair.

It would not hurt to get on the horn to a good rabbit vet.  You can find one here:

There are some very good ones in NYC and vicinity.

I hope your bunny will be fine.



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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:

Find a rabbit vet at for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.

RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.


I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology

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