If you’re wondering, “Can guinea pigs eat bananas?” you’ve come to the right place!
Our guide will let you know all about guinea pigs and bananas!
See below and learn something new today.
You walk out of the kitchen with your afternoon snack – today it’s a banana – when you hear it: the delightful, short, consistent squeak from your guinea pig.
As you approach the cage you see her popcorning around happily. Guinea pigs always do this when they expect a treat or lunch!
Looking at your banana you wonder: Can you feed guinea pigs bananas?
A Bit About Bananas
First domesticated in Asia, bananas are now a delicious fruit enjoyed around the world. They are eaten by themselves or incorporated into dessert dishes like pies and muffins for an extra special treat.
Today, bananas are mainly grown in tropical regions.
Unlike other fruit-bearing plants, each banana plant only produces a group of bananas once in its lifetime. It usually yields bunches of 10 to 20 bananas. After the plant is harvested, the tree is cut down.
Bananas trees clone themselves to reproduce. Even though this sounds advanced, it leaves banana plants genetically vulnerable.
The lack of diversity from this reproduction method makes banana plants extremely susceptible to diseases. A previous variety of banana, the Gros Michel, was wiped out because of this weakness.
The kind of banana that is the most common on the global market today is the Cavendish variety.
Your Guinea Pig’s Diet
Guinea pigs are herbivores, which means they have a mainly plant-based diet.
Timothy hay and alfalfa-based pellets constitute most of their diet. They also require fresh water and veggies to keep their diet balanced.
Hay provides essential fiber and protein to keep their guts healthy, while leafy greens provide moisture and a variety of vitamins.
They love leafy greens like kale, romaine lettuce, and spinach. Vegetables like sweet potato, zucchini, and carrots are excellent additions to the leafy greens when added once weekly.
A 1995 study explored the nutrient requirements for guinea pigs used in laboratories. They found that the nutrient requirements of guinea pigs vary based upon age and diet composition.
Different stages of development such as infancy, pregnancy, and adulthood require varying nutrients.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Bananas?
Yes! Bananas are safe for your guinea pig to eat. They are an excellent sweet treat – emphasis on the treat part. Because they are high in sugar, bananas should be fed rarely.
Make sure to only feed your guinea pigs fresh, ripe bananas.
Avoid dried bananas or banana chips because are processed and coated with additional sugar.
Are Bananas Good for Guinea Pigs?
In small quantities, bananas are a good treat.
Bananas contain vitamin C, which is a crucial part of a guinea pig’s diet.
A 1996 study looked at the effect of scurvy in guinea pigs. Scurvy is a disease caused by vitamin C (ascorbic acid) deficiency.
They found that skin and bone health greatly decreases in vitamin C-deficient guinea pigs. These guinea pigs are also plagued with rapid, major weight loss.
Guinea pigs, like humans, cannot produce their own vitamin C and need it to be supplemented in their diet.
Bananas are best in small quantities and should not be the primary source of vitamin C for guinea pigs. There are specially formulated vitamin C supplements for guinea pigs available at pet stores.
How Much Banana Can Your Guinea Pig Have?
Only a small slice on occasion. Because of the high sugar content, bananas are not an optimal food for your piggy.
Large amounts of sugar can cause serious health issues in guinea pigs such as diarrhea and diabetes.
Though diarrhea is usually a symptom of other underlying health issues, loose stools can also be caused by too much sugar. Sugar can also lead to diabetes.
Guinea pigs can get both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, just like humans. Sugar is a contributing factor, but the likelihood of developing the disease is compounded by a guinea pig being overweight.
The good news is that, unlike humans, guinea pigs can go into remission from diabetes when the diet is corrected, and a healthy weight is achieved.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Banana Peels?
Giving your guinea pig a tiny amount of a banana peel is fine. Banana peels are packed full of all sorts of goodies!
One 2011 study analyzed antioxidant levels at different ripeness of the peels. They found that an unripe peel has the highest antioxidant content.
Antioxidants play an important role in getting rid of free radicals in the body of many mammals. Free radicals are molecules that may cause harmful conditions like cancer and heart problems.
A 1993 study on antioxidant defenses in rats, pigs, guinea pigs, and human hearts explored the activity of antioxidants in each of the different species.
Aside from antioxidants, banana peels also contain vitamins B6 and B12, magnesium, potassium. Magnesium is essential for metabolism and potassium is used in muscle movement.
Banana peels are a good source of fiber and protein.
How Much Banana Peel Can Your Guinea Pig Have?
Like with the banana itself, it is best to start small. Grab a ripe banana, remove the peel and wash the peel thoroughly.
Cut a small piece of the peel and let your guinea pig smell it. If they gobble it up, consider offering the banana and banana peel as an occasional treat.
Do Your Guinea Pigs Eat Bananas?
Do you have a guinea pig that loves bananas? Is your pig a picky eater?
Tell us whether your piggy is bananas for bananas (or their peels) in the comments section below!
References and Further Reading
Encyclopedia Britannica. Banana.
Humane Society of the United States, Guinea pig geeding.
National Research Council Subcommittee on Laboratory Animal Nutrition (1995). Nutrient requirements of the Guinea pig. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals: Fourth Revised Edition.
Szalay, Jessie (2017). Bananas: Health benefits, risks, & nutrition facts. LiveScience.
Kipp, D.E. et al (1996). Scurvy results in decreased collagen synthesis and bone density in the Guinea pig animal model. Bone.
PetMD. Diarrhea in Guinea pigs.
Net Vet, Diabetes in Guinea pigs.
Sundaram, S. et al (2011). Antioxidant activity and protective effect of banana peel against oxidative hemolysis of human erythrocyte at different stages of ripening. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology.
Janssen, M. (1993). Antioxidant defences in rat, pig, guinea pig, and human hearts: comparison with xanthine oxidoreductase activity. Cardiovascular Research.
Cox, L. (2014). What are magnesium supplements? LiveScience.
Ehrlich, S. (2015). Potassium. University of Maryland Medical Center.