Rabbits are creatures that will eat just about anything that’s given to them. This is due to their instinct in the wild during certain times of the year when food gets scarce. In captivity, their instincts follow them and the rabbits will eat anything that gives them. Bananas are one of those fruits that’s delicious and plentiful throughout the year. Since it’s good for humans to eat, can rabbits eat bananas too?
Can rabbits eat bananas? Bananas can be fed to rabbits. However, due to their high content of starch, you should limit the amount of banana that’s fed to them. Due to the sweetness of the fruit, bananas can become very addictive for the rabbit. Also, bananas could cause them health issues, especially their digestive systems.
Do Rabbits Like Bananas?
If your rabbit is introduced to bananas, after their first taste, they will want more of it. Due to the sweet taste of the bananas, a rabbit will want more of it because sugar is highly addictive.
When feeding bananas to them, it’s best to give them as a treat, whether it be the peels or flesh. Too much of it could cause them to lose interest in other foods, such as leafy vegetables. Since each rabbit is different, some may refuse to eat anything else than bananas.
Therefore, when feeding bananas to your rabbit, it’s a good idea to include other fruits as well. This way, they won’t get addicted to just bananas. Other healthy fruits you can feed to them are apples, blueberries, grapes, melon, nectarine, and orange.
Avoid Overripe Bananas
When a banana starts to ripe, it’s regulated by a natural compound known as ethylene gas. This gas is what causes the bananas to turn brown, change the texture, color, and flavor. Besides that, ethylene gas also affects the nutritional value of the banana.
Bananas that haven’t riped yet usually have about 80-90% of resistant starch. This starch is part of their carbohydrate content. When the banana starts to ripe, the resistant begins converting into free sugars.
Rabbits have beneficial gut bacteria in their digestive tract that help break down food. Free sugars from overripe bananas will alter those bacteria, which could cause stomach pain, loose stools, and other digestive issues. This will depend on the rabbit and it’s best to observe if there are any of those signs.
However, overripe bananas are still safe for rabbits to eat. Just as long as there is no mold growing on them, you can feed the bananas to your rabbit.
Health Benefits of Bananas for Rabbits
For your rabbit to be healthy, they should be fed hay, high-quality pellets, leafy greens, and water. Anything else that includes fruits like bananas should be given to them as a treat and in a small portion. Too much could cause them to become addicted to the sweetness of the banana and cause serious health issues.
For an adult rabbit, 2 tablespoons of bananas per 5 pounds of body weight are sufficient for them. This will give them an extra boost of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to their diet.
Below are some of the nutrition your rabbit can benefit from eating bananas:
Folate – Boost the production of red blood cells and immunity.
Phosphorous – Need for bone development and helps with calcium absorption.
Manganese – This mineral helps metabolize fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
Potassium – Potassium helps relax the rabbit’s muscle and prevent stress. Also, it helps the rabbit sleep better.
Vitamin B6 – According to The Journal of Applied Animal Science, it suggests vitamin B6 helps improve the immune system functions in the rabbit’s body.
Water – A fully riped banana has about 75% water content. This is important to keep the rabbit hydrated. It also provides the proper functioning of the digestive tract.
Can Rabbits Eat Banana Leaves?
Your pet rabbit can eat the banana leaves. The leaves of the banana tree are safe for them to eat. It’s a great way to complete the diet requirement of the rabbits.
Before you buy the leaves, make sure it’s from an organic farm or organically grown. Banana leaves that have pesticides and chemical fertilizers on them could cause health issues for your pet rabbit.
You won’t be able to see any complication right away, but over time you will. As the chemicals build up in your rabbit’s system, they will start causing issues. Sometimes, it will be severe enough that it could cause death.
Since banana leaves are not the typical food that’s part of a rabbit’s diet, you may want to consult with the veterinary first. They may advise not to feed them banana leaves if your rabbit is suffering from dental issues or have a digestive problem.
As for rabbits that are under 3 months old, you should never feed them any banana leaves. It could cause them to have a problem since their digestive system has not matured yet.
Can Rabbits Eat Banana Peels?
You can feed banana peels to your pet rabbit. However, avoid feeding them too much of it though. Like bananas, they are high in sugar and starch content. Banana peels should be given to them as a treat instead.
When feeding banana peels to your rabbit, make sure they are organically grown. Regular bananas sold in grocery stores will be sprayed with pesticides and chemical fertilizers. These chemicals are toxic for rabbits if given in large amounts.
Therefore, if you don’t know the origin of the bananas, it’s best to just throw away the peel and feed your rabbit the flesh only.
How Much Banana Can A Rabbit Eat?
The amount of banana a rabbit can eat will depend on their weight. Rabbits should not be fed more than 1 tablespoons of banana per 2 pounds of their body weight. In addition, they should be given bananas only 2-3 times a week. Any more than that, it will exceed their diet requirement.
If you’re just starting to feed banana to your pet rabbit for the first time, it’s important to take it slowly. Just like with other new foods, it’s best to gradually feed them.
Since a rabbit’s digestive system is sensitive, they may have a bad reaction to it. By giving them just 1 tablespoon a day, this will ensure that they don’t negatively react to the new food. If they do have a negative reaction, you can stop feeding them banana right away without having any big effect on their health.
When feeding them bananas for the first time, look out for any signs of digestive problems. If there’s any reaction, it will occur within a couple of hours.
Make sure to check for diarrhea and for other stomach problems as well. If you noticed the rabbit is lying still for an unusually long time, it’s possible that they have trapped gas.
For young rabbits that are under the age of 12 weeks, you should avoid feeding them. Their digestive system is highly sensitive.
Below is information on how much banana a rabbit can eat based on the breed and weight.
|Rabbit Breed||Weight (lbs)||Banana per Serving (tbsp.)|
|American rabbit||10 or more||4|
|Californian rabbit||10 or more||4|