Comparison of Digestive Function Among Rabbits, Guinea-Pigs, Rats and Hamsters. I. Performance, Digestibility and Rate of Digesta Passage

  • Chiou, Peter Wen-Shyg (Department of, Animal Science, National Chung-Hsing University) ;
  • Yu, Bi (Department of, Animal Science, National Chung-Hsing University) ;
  • Kuo, Chung-Yi (Department of, Animal Science, National Chung-Hsing University)
  • Received : 2000.01.26
  • Accepted : 2000.06.27
  • Published : 2000.11.01


This trial was to compare the digestive function of laboratory animals, which included omnivores (rats) and herbivores (rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters). Ten weanling rats, rabbits, guinea pigs and hamster were randomly allocated in individual metabolic cages for a performance and a digestibility trial. Results showed that guinea pigs were significantly best in digestion of dietary crude protein and fiber. Rabbits, however, had the poorest nutrient digestion among the herbivores. Crude fiber digested significantly less by rats than by the herbivores (p<0.05). The digesta retention in the GI tract was longest in rabbits followed by guinea pigs, rats and hamsters. The relative length of the large intestine was significantly shorter in rats as compared to guinea pigs or hamsters. Both the weight and length ratio of the caecum or colon-rectum to the large intestine reflected the major site for fermentation that was the caecum in rabbits and the colon-rectum in guinea pigs. 10% of crude fiber diet did not result in damaged mucosa in any of the experimental animals in this trial.


Herbivores;Laboratory Animals;Performance;Digestibility;Rate of Digesta Passage;Crude Fiber


Supported by : National Science Council of Taiwan

Cited by

  1. Gut Function-Enhancing Properties and Metabolic Effects of Dietary Indigestible Sugars in Rodents and Rabbits vol.7, pp.10, 2015,