Can Rabbits Eat Bananas Safely
Rabbits have a very sensitive digestive tract as do most herbivores. It is very important that you only feed your rabbit or bunny the highest quality food. As stated earlier rabbits can eat bananas but that does not mean that they are good for them and should only be given as a occasional treat. It is very possible for rabbits to become addicted to foods like bananas and to also die from eating a diet high in fruits like bananas.
- 1 Can rabbits eat banana peels?
- 2 Rabbit age restrictions for bananas
- 3 Banana addiction in rabbits
- 4 How ripe should bananas be?
- 5 Bananas and diarrhea vs caecotrophs
- 6 Nutrition and weight gain
- 7 Another reason not to feed your rabbit bananas
- 8 About the Author
Can rabbits eat banana peels?
No, rabbits should not eat banana peels. Even though rabbits can eat and digest the banana peel we suggest not feeding them to your rabbit since they can contain harmful pesticides and herbicides. Even USDA approved organic pesticides and herbicides can be harmful to rabbits and other small mammals over time. While organic may be safer and better for humans you have to keep in mind that rabbits are very small and have delicate systems in comparison.
This is not our dutch rabbit (Mr. Bunny) but I thought it was worth adding to this post. Look at the excitement this little guy wakes up with! Very cute!
Rabbit age restrictions for bananas
The age of your rabbit also plays a part in whether they should be eating bananas or not. We suggest that rabbits younger than 12 to 13 weeks old not consume bananas or any other fruit. There are several reasons for this.
Immature GI tract
The first is that there digestive systems are still immature and not full of the good bacteria it takes to digest a wide range of foods. If a young rabbit is given banana or other fruits it may cause diarrhea, gastrointestinal (also called the GI tract) disorders or GI Stasis from a diet low in fiber. GI stasis is deadly for all breeds of rabbits.
Poor dietary habits
The second reason is that when a young rabbit is forming his or her dietary habits you want them to start out eating healthy. If a rabbit is allowed to eat treats or “junk food” from the start like bananas he or she will develop poor dietary habits. Remember that timothy hay and high quality rabbit pellets should be the first foods a rabbit is introduced too. Keep fruits away from all rabbits until they are at least 12 weeks old or more.
Banana addiction in rabbits
Yes this is a real problem! No I am not joking. If you feed a rabbit bananas to often they will become addicted to them. The truth is they can become addicted to many other “junk foods” other than just bananas including cereal, breads and sweet fruits. The addiction will cause serious problems for the rabbits health and your relationship with him or her.
Signs of an addiction in rabbits include the following:
- Aggressive behavior like biting, growling and bluff charging
- An unwillingness to eat hay, pellets or healthy greens
- Pestering people for food
- Being particularly aggressive with small children and other pets
- Frequent diarrhea
- Chewing on cage (if caged)
I had an excellent rabbit vet when I was living in Plano, Texas that had several experiences with rabbits addicted to bananas and other “treat” or “junk foods” that caused families to give up their pet rabbit.
How ripe should bananas be?
The more ripe a fruit is the more sugar it contains. It is best not to let a banana become to ripe before feeding it to your pet rabbit or bunny but in reality it will not do much harm as long as your are only feeding fruits once or twice a week.
Bananas and diarrhea vs caecotrophs
If a rabbit consumes a large amount of banana he or she may get diarrhea which is not good for the rabbits GI tract health. It is important to know that rabbits produce something called caecotrophs that can be easily confused with diarrhea. Rabbit caetrophs are part of a normal and healthy digestive tract. Caecotrophs look like a bunch of wet shiny poop pellets stuck together. It should also be noted that they are a bit smelly. Rabbits consume, or eat Caecotroph and then re-digest them, much like a cow regurgitates its food.
If your rabbit is having runny or watery poop then you should stop feeding bananas and any other fruit to your rabbit and see a rabbit vet immediately. Often times a rabbit has diarrhea because their diet is high in sugar and carbohydrates but can also be a symptom of different rabbit illnesses or diseases.
Nutrition and weight gain
Obesity in rabbits is a killer, this is one reason why bananas should only be reserved as a special treat. If your vet is concerned with your rabbits weight all fruit should be cut from his or her diet.
There are some nutritional benefits that rabbits get from bananas including; potassium and vitamin b-6. Bananas also contain vitamin C but rabbits do not need any vitamin C unlike humans. Rabbits that consume excess amounts of vitamin C may develop kidney issues or kidney failure.
As you can see in this picture of our family pet, dubbed Mr. Bunny, he has a very shiny fur coat. This is a sure sign of excellent nutrition and stress free living. His weight has been a stead 4.3 pounds since we got him over nine years ago. Yes, he is a small for being a purebred Dutch rabbit.
You can find more really good information about rabbit nutrition here.
Another reason not to feed your rabbit bananas
Another simple yet understated fact is that soft mushy food like bananas can get stuck in their fur. Sometimes rabbits think that there food is a toy and will step all over it. If you have a long haired rabbit, like a lion-head it is best to keep mushy foods away from them. Brush their fur out if food gets stuck in it, never give them a bath!
About the Author
My name is Vanessa and I love my buns. My current house rabbit is Mr. Bunny, he is a black and white Dutch that just turned 9 years old.
I believe that rabbits are a magnificent animal that make great pets for SOME people. My mission is to share what I have learned about rabbits over the past 20 years to improve the relationship between our pets and us. Please contact me or comment if you have any questions or comments.