Its seems that every animal has it own little intricacies. Take for example a cow, the cow actually eats grass, brings it back up and then eats it again. To that we all say, "That's nasty!" Rabbits are not an exception to the weird animal behavior. Have you ever seen a rabbit eating its own poop? As disgusting as it may sound, this is actually healthy for the rabbit.
Rabbits produce two types of droppings and they are very different. The one most often seen is the fecal dropping. These are the hard round ones that are seen in the dropping trays. The rabbits do not eat these.
The other type of dropping is known as a cecotrope. Sometimes it is referred to as the night droppings. They actually resemble a small cluster of grapes. In the picture at the right you can see their size in comparison to regular droppings. Unlike fecal droppings these droppings are soft.
Cecotropes are produced in the cecum which is a part of the rabbits digestive system. Inside the cecum are bacterias that are essential nutrients to the rabbit. It is believed that the cecotropes can protect the rabbit from harmful pathogens.
The rabbit will eat them as they are leaving their body. Generally they do this late at night or in the early morning hours. That is why they are sometimes called night droppings. Since they are usually eaten, it is rare to see them in the dropping tray.
So the next time you see your rabbit eating its poop, although it sounds gross, is actually a very important part of the rabbits health. Maybe they eat it at night, because they understand how gross we think it is?