Can rabbits eat bananas? Are bananas safe for bunnies?
How much can you feed them before a good thing becomes bad?
It’s a minefield out there when it comes to treating our pets.
And when it comes to bananas, it is a case of a little is fine, a lot is not!
Can Bunnies Eat Bananas?
Rabbits are adorable most of the time, but us humans find them especially cute when they are chowing down.
One of the things we particularly seem to enjoy feeding them is bananas.
A rabbit eating bananas is cute, and we know that feeding our rabbits fresh food is an important part of maintaining a healthy rabbit diet.
But can rabbits eat bananas? And are bananas safe for rabbits?
We did a little digging to see if a banana bunny buffet is such a good idea after all.
Here is what we found:
Bananas are safe for rabbits in small quantities, but there are a few things you should know before you hand over your banana to your bunny.
Can Rabbits Eat Bananas Every Day?
First things first – can rabbits eat bananas at all? Yes!
Veterinarians say that rabbits can eat small amounts of bananas safely.
However, some caution against feeding bananas to bunnies, and even recommend limiting all fruit to very small quantities.
An average adult rabbit should have no more than 2 tablespoons of banana every other day.
Or a tablespoon a day if you prefer!
If your rabbit is a smaller breed or just a baby, then stick to no more than a tablespoon every two days.
There are some very good reasons for this restraint.
Bananas Are Not Healthy For Bunnies
Fruits like bananas are high in sugar, which is bad for your pet’s teeth and general healthy
Too much sugar can also lead to obesity.
Overweight rabbits can develop health problems, like difficulty breathing and trouble grooming themselves.
Just as concerning is the effect fruit can have on your rabbit’s digestive tract.
All that sugar can lead to digestive diseases like cecal dysbiosis, which is a change in the bacterial population of your rabbit’s cecum.
This change leads to diarrhea, which is not only unpleasant, but dangerous for your bunny.
But Don’t Rabbits Need Fresh Food?
Bunnies can live happily and healthily on their complete rabbit food and hay alone.
Unlike guinea pigs, they don’t suffer from issues with producing vitamin C.
And supplements aren’t essential.
However, rabbits love fresh vegetables and there is no reason not to give them some of these every day.
But fruits are rather different nutritionally to vegetables, due to those pesky high levels of sugar.
And any bunny worth their salt is much more interested in fruity options than veggie options.
For that reason!
Do Rabbits Like Bananas?
So the answer to can rabbits eat bananas is usually yes, albeit in restrained quantities.
But do they actually like them?
In fact, it can be difficult to resist feeding rabbits fruit like bananas.
Not only is it cute, but most rabbits love bananas.
Rabbits like bananas so much, in fact, that the Purdue University of Veterinary Medicine warns owners against feeding bananas to rabbits.
This is because in addition to the problems they can cause, they can be “addictive.”
Bunnies that are given bananas daily might stop eating the rest of their pelleted complete food.
Which can lead to nutritional deficiencies and even a shorter lifespan!
Bananas and rabbits are like humans and ice cream – rabbits have a hard time just having one bite.
This can make it hard for us to resist feeding them more bananas than our bunnies should have.
Just remember that as delicious as your bunny finds them, bananas can cause problems if eaten in large quantities.
Can Rabbits Eat Banana Skin?
A surprising number of animals like banana peels, including rabbits.
But can bunnies eat banana skin safely?
Banana skin is not considered toxic to rabbits by veterinarians, although they are not necessarily recommended, either.
A small amount of banana peel might be safe for your rabbit to eat.
Feeding an entire banana peel, however is not advisable.
The better option is to feed your rabbit a veterinarian approved snack like carrot tops or romaine lettuce.
Can Rabbits Eat Banana Leaves?
Veterinarians recommend regularly feeding healthy leafy greens to rabbits as a part of a complete diet.
This leaves many rabbit owners in the tropics wondering about banana leaves.
Banana and plantain leaves have been studied as potential rabbit feeds by scientists in other parts of the world.
These researchers found that when fed as a part of a balanced diet, they can be a potential feed source for your bunnies.
The good news is that feeding banana leaves as an occasional leafy green treat appears to be a safe and healthy snack.
As long as it has not been sprayed with any pesticides or herbicides that could harm your rabbit.
In fact, one study even showed that banana leaves could potentially safely make up 40% of their diet with no ill effects!
Although it wouldn’t be wise to try to replicate this with your pet when there are so many good complete foods available.
Can I Feed My Rabbit Banana?
Now that you know the risks, it’s time to figure out if the answer to can rabbits eat bananas is going to be ‘yes’ in your home.
Let’s review the facts.
When fed in very small amounts, bananas are safe for rabbits to eat.
You may even find that your rabbit develops a taste for bananas that borders on addiction.
As long as you limit your rabbit’s banana intake to an occasional treat, you don’t have to worry too much about harming your rabbit.
However, overfeeding your rabbit with bananas can cause digestive problems.
Rabbits are very sensitive to dietary changes, so be sure to observe your rabbit carefully after feeding any new treats.
Better yet, stick with veterinarian approved vegetables like kale, carrot tops, beet greens, and parsley.
Further Reading and Resources
- Axelson, R. DVM. ‘Rabbits – Feeding.’ VCA Hospitals. Dec 2008.
- ‘Care of Rabbits.’ Purdue University.
- ‘Chronic, Intermittent diarrhea in Rabbits (Cecal Dysbiosis).’ Blackwell’s Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Small Mammal, Second Edition. 2011.
- Krempels, D. PhD. ‘What Should I Feed My Bunny?’ Miami University.
- Mayer, J. DVM, MSc, DABVP (ECM), DECZM (Small mammal). ‘Nutrition of Rabbits.’ Merck Veterinary Manual.
- McClure, D. DVM, PhD, DACLAM. ‘Providing a Home for a Rabbit.’ Merck Veterinary Manual.
- Bivin et a, 1994. ‘Raising Healthy Rabbits.’ Christian Veterinary Mission.
- Rohilla et al, 2000. Effect of Banana Leaves Feeding on Growth of Rabbits. Indian Veterinary Journal.