Bananas are edible fruits that are botanically considered as berries. They are known to help reduce blood pressure, reduce the chances of developing asthma, cancer and heart issues. Furthermore, they can also aid in digestion, boost mood, preserve memory among others.
These fruits are loaded with carbs, potassium, vitamin B6, C, A, manganese, dietary fibers, magnesium, folate, niacin, iron among other nutrients. Being healthy and beneficial as we have seen, you may be interested to know whether your rabbits can eat bananas including the peels and leaves or not.
Do rabbits eat bananas?
Yes. Rabbits can eat bananas. However, they should be given sparingly as treats. Typically, one or two slices which are about an eighth to a quarter and inch occasionally. The total amount given should not be larger than the thumb of an adult person and should not replace a healthy rabbit’s diet.
Like most rabbit-safe fruits including melons, mangoes, grapes, papaya, strawberry, apples, and so on, the recommended amount is one teaspoon per two pounds of bunny weight per day, a few times a week.
Also, do not feed them to young bunnies since their digestive systems have not fully developed and they may not be able to handle some fruits and vegetables.
Because your bunnies will like this treat, do not be tempted to give it more since it has low fiber and high amounts of sugar and carbs which your rabbit cannot digest well. They are lagomorph, and too much sugar may cause digestion problems, diarrhea, stomach upsets, gas, and other health problems.
Remember their digesting systems are designed to digest cellulose and not carbohydrates, fats or sugars. Also, they could have issues with nutrient absorption, weight gain (and obesity), waste elimination, as well as the formation of cecotropes (cecal problems) if you give them a lot. Strictly avoid giving them a lot of bananas or doing so often.
Finally, you can also give them a dried banana. However, avoid giving them any banana chips unless they are sold as bunny treats since they tend to have some sugar solution sprayed on them.
Can bunnies eat banana peels?
Yes. They can eat banana peels. They are healthier since they do not have as much sugar as the fruit itself. However, you must stick to the recommended amount just as in the case of the fruit and occasionally too.
They may have a little higher amount of fiber, but it is still not sufficient. Also, they are starch making them unsuitable in more significant amounts.
How to introduce them to your bunny
As with all fresh foods, you need to introduce it gradually. Your furry friend must have been eating hay for at least two weeks.
Begin with small amounts and after 24 hours, check their stool for any noticeable changes such as the stool being softer (or sticking on their bottoms). In case of any change, you must revert to hay and other foods that your rabbit often eats.
If you give them plus the peel, ensure it is well cleaned. You can use the banana slices as rewards during training such as to use their litter boxes or placed in logic toys to help combat boredom and sharpen your bunny’s intelligence.
What about giving rabbits banana leaves?
Bunnies can eat banana leaves. According to research conducted by Rohilla, P.P. & Bujarbaruah, K.M… (2000). ‘Effect of banana leaves feeding on growth of rabbits. 77. 902-903’, it was found that banana leaves can be incorporated into your bunny’s diet and account for up to 40% without any serious growth effects, palatability or psychological effect.
However, we do not recommend giving them so much. Stick to the recommended diets where hay accounts for over 80% of their foods, high fiber pellets brands like Small Pet Select Rabbit Food Pellets accounting for up to 5 percent while the rest can be fresh foods (leafy greens, non-leafy vegetables, and fruits).
Non-leafy vegetables and fruits should be given in small amounts occasionally. Also, ensure you give them at least three different types of greens and unlimited fresh, clean water.
Whereas they are safe (not harmful or poisonous), avoid giving your furry friend a lot of bananas. Besides the detrimental effects, it is possible for your furry friend to stop eating their recommended foods and yearn for this fruit.