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You are not the first new rabbit owner to wonder if rabbits can eat bananas or eat banana peels, but we’re going to get to the bottom of that question today.
I’ve probably said hundreds of times in my posts that it is absolutely imperative that owners provide the best food for their bunnies but we need to decide if bananas are a part of the best diet for pet rabbits.
So let’s not dance around the answer. Instead, let’s answer it and then dig into the details.
Rabbits can eat bananas and they also can eat banana peels and even banana leaves provided that you clean them first. Not only can rabbits eat bananas, but they love eating bananas. However, eating too many bananas is not good for your bunny.
I always jokingly say that bananas are to bunnies what catnip is to cats and what candies are to kids.
Bananas are essentially candy for rabbits and as such, they are high-value rewards for your bunny and can be used for training.
Rabbits love bananas and once they’ve tasted it the first time, they will do almost anything to get another taste of this high-sugar fruit. Bananas are one of the highest sugar fruits, having 21 grams of carbohydrates in a single medium-sized banana.
This article will serve to unpack your rabbit’s love for this carb-loaded fruit. However, I’d like to emphasize early on that bananas are treats and should not be a substitute for hay and leafy greens. I will get into the reason why as I go further into the article.
Can Rabbits Eat Bananas?
Yes, rabbits can eat bananas but in moderate amounts.
Bananas are healthy for pet rabbits when fed in moderate quantities to your rabbit and are a good alternative to treats that might contain processed ingredients that might be harmful to your pet rabbit. Besides, fruits will always be healthier than any processed rabbit cookies.
Bananas are very high in Vitamin C which is an essential nutrient that your bunny needs. Vitamin C is most famous for strengthening immunity and it works the same way for rabbits. It helps protect them from scurvy-like diseases that affect animals. Also, a strong immunity for rabbits means they are more capable or hardy against contracting and battling diseases from other rabbits or animals.
Bananas are also very high in tryptophan. This is a nutrient that is able to reduce depression and contributes to sleep. Thus, feeding bananas to rabbits make them happier not just because they’re tasty but because bananas actually induce better moods and facilitate quality rest. That sounds pretty amazing to me, there’s really nothing better than a holistic, naturally occuring food.
Other nutrients that can be found in bananas are Vitamins A , B1, and B6 which are nutrients that help maintain good function for the rabbit’s vision, reproductive system and also aids in proper growth. Vitamin B6 is specifically helpful for facilitating weight loss and for rabbits maintaining their healthy weight.
Bananas are also packed with other nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium that strengthen the skeletal system of the rabbit.
Bananas are also very famous for their high potassium levels that aids in muscle development, fluid balance, and good functioning of nerves. It is also very low in sodium which is all the better for your rabbits.
Other nutrients that can be found in bananas are the following:
The reason rabbits shouldn’t eat lots of bananas is that they are very high in sugar. If your rabbit ate bananas as a staple of their diet instead of as an occasional treat, they would get fat and develop diabetic symptoms.
Rabbits can eat either fresh or dried bananas as treats. Both fresh and dried have a similar nutritional profile and sugar content when considering the shrinkage associated with drying a fruit.
When giving bananas to your rabbit as a treat, an appropriate sized serving would be two disk-shaped slices of banana that are roughly 1/2″ in width and these should only be an occasional treat, not a daily treat. For dried bananas, two disk-shaped chips is an appropriate serving for your bunny.
Appropriate banana serving size is going to vary by the size of your rabbit, and we’ll look into that more closely later in this article.
Oxbow is our favorite rabbit food company, and we use and recommend their hay and pellets on our list of recommended rabbit food. In addition to those high-quality products, Oxbow does make a Rabbit Cookie that is really quality food. It’s made with real hay and then sweetened with banana and apple.
These are a less messy way to treat your bunny with bananas without having to eat most of the bananas yourself. [ Click here to see these on Amazon. >>> }
Can Rabbits Eat Banana Peels?
Rabbits can eat banana peels provided that they are washed before being fed to your rabbit to remove any pesticides. Banana peels are lower in sugar and higher in nutrition than the fruit itself while also being a good source of fiber for rabbits.
Rabbits love banana peels almost as much as the fruit. Note that I said ‘almost’. Bunnies have a sweet tooth just like we do, and the banana is sweeter than the banana peel.
Banana peels should be used as a treat, and not as a food staple. In general, an appropriate-sized treat serving of banana peel is a piece that is roughly 2″ by 2″, though serving size varies with bunny size. An entire banana peel is too much for a rabbit to eat.
We’ll take a closer look at serving size later in this article.
Organic banana peels are a better choice for rabbits because organically grown fruits do not use pesticides or chemicals. Commercial bananas might contain traces of pesticides and chemicals.
Banana peels can have traces of cyanide, oxalates, and saponins. These are just small amounts and rarely cause any bad effects for both humans and rabbits. However, it is always better to err on the side of caution so make sure to wash any peel to be fed to your rabbits.
Unripe banana peels are also healthier for pet bunnies because the starches in unripe bananas have not yet fully developed; thus, they have lower sugar content than full-on ripe and sunny yellow bananas. Even so, this is still not enough reason to consider banana peels as anything more than an occasional treat.
Never feed browning banana peels to your rabbits. Browning bananas mean that the banana has deficient starch in it to keep it fresh. Such peels will definitely cause havoc to your rabbit’s digestive system. This is very detrimental because a rabbit’s health is very closely connected to its gut and any disruption in the fast and normal functioning of its digestive tracts should be a cause of concern.
Can Rabbits Eat Banana Leaves?
So fruits and peels are safe for rabbits but how about the leaves?
It is safe to feed banana leaves to rabbits but like the fruit and the peel should not replace the rabbit’s diet of leafy greens and hay. It is also important to note that banana leaves would also need to be washed before being fed to rabbits because they might contain trace chemicals that can be harmful to a rabbit.
Banana Serving Size For Rabbits
Bananas are highly addictive to rabbits because they contain high levels of fructose which is a naturally occurring sugar in some plants. This lends the fruit its characteristic sweet flavor.
This is also the main reason why bananas are not recommended to replace normal leafy greens and hay which are the staple of a healthy rabbit diet. Too much sugar can cause your bunnies to gain a lot of weight which will cause more problems.
So while the banana is undoubtedly a good treat, we all know that too much of a good thing is bad in the long run. As much as possible, we want to get the nutrition from the bananas and not offset all of these benefits by feeding too much.
As a rule of thumb, the amount of banana that a rabbit can eat is largely dependent on their weight so you would have to flex some of your mathematical muscles here.
Rabbits should only enjoy bananas as a treat one or two times a week, and an appropriate serving is 2 tablespoons of banana per 5 pounds of their body weight.
Table: Banana Serving Size By Rabbit Weight
|Rabbit Weight||Banana Serving Size|
|Less Than 3 Pounds||1 Tablespoon|
|3 to 7 Pounds||2 Tablespoons|
|8 to 12 Pounds||3 Tablespoons|
|More Than 13 Pounds||4 Tablespoons|
Never feed your bunnies bananas 2 days in a row. The recommended serving for bananas is 2 to 3 times a week only.
You will know if you are feeding too much sugar to your bunny by being a vigilant poop watcher.
Rabbits produce two kinds of fecal matter: pellets and cecotropes. Pellets are the vast majority of bunny poops and cecotropes are the minority, happening mostly when your bunny is sleeping. Pellets are hard balls and cecotropes are softer and made up of many small balls kind of like a raspberry.
While cecotropes are perfectly normal your rabbit should not be producing them all the time. Having more cecotropes than usual means your rabbit is eating too much sugar and it’s time to cut back on the treats so your rabbit can eat more hay.
If you have access to banana leaves, those can be a staple in your rabbit’s diet. Research has shown that banana leaves can make up 40% of your bunny’s diet. Here is a link to the study by Rohilla and Bujarbaruah.
In this study, they replaced part of the rabbit’s diet with banana leaves to save cost and found that when 40% of a rabbit’s diet is made of banana leaves there were no adverse effects. However, there have been no further studies so I still recommend that you stick to the tried and tested hay and leafy greens diet.
If you want more information about the best rabbit diet, I encourage you to read the veterinarian authored rabbit diet article right here on RabbitPros.com
Introducing Your Rabbit To Bananas As A Treat
If your rabbit hasn’t tried bananas, there is a proper way to introduce them to bananas. Do not suddenly feed them the fruit in large amounts because this might upset their stomach.
Instead, start with a very small-sized serving of about 1/4 of the recommended serving size in the table above. Then monitor your rabbit’s behavior and stool for any adverse effects. Some rabbit’s stomachs don’t do well with high sugar treats and you might see discomfort or diarrhea. If everything seems fine, you can up the serving slowly over the coming weeks.
Other important rules to follow are listed below:
- Do not introduce bananas at the same time you introduce other new foods. If something upsets your bunny’s stomach you want to be able to identify the cause.
- Bananas should be introduced slowly and in small quantities. Do not feed your rabbit an entire banana. It is never recommended while introducing the fruit into their diet and is not recommended even if they’re used to it.
- Cut up your banana in small rabbit sized pieces, a lot of people don’t realize this but bananas can be choking hazards for rabbits and even small children.
- Never feed fruit to a rabbit that is less than 3 months old. Rabbits need to eat their usual diet to facilitate good growth.
- Leafy vegetables should always be prioritized before fruits
- Wait for 48 hours before trying to feed your rabbit banana again
- If your rabbit suddenly exhibits lethargy or loose stools take them to the vet.
I personally love bananas. They’re filling and nutrient-dense fruits so it’s really a no-brainer for me why rabbits are so addicted to them as well. Does your bunny love bananas? Or do you own that outlier that absolutely abhors them? Share your interesting bunny stories.