Can rabbits eat banana and do they like it? We test banana out on our 6 resident rabbits
Bananas are amongst the tastiest of fruits and have multiple health benefits but can our rabbits also enjoy some banana in their diet? can rabbits even eat banana? We wanted to find out.
Rabbits can eat banana however, it is high in carbohydrates and should only be offered in small amounts as an occasional treat. Both dried (chips) and fresh banana is fine for rabbits.
We decided to take a look at banana and find out if there were any specific health benefits that rabbits gained from eating it. We’ll even test some on our six rabbits to find out if they actually like it. First here are some other things you should consider before deciding whether or not to give your rabbit banana and other fruits.
Is banana good for a rabbit?
Fruit and vegetables are not only beneficial in our diets but can also benefit a rabbits health too. Although some fruits have a naturally high sugar amount. A slice or two of fresh fruit as a treat is much healthier than some store-bought processed yogurt or chocolate treat.
Bananas contain quite high calories compared to some fruits (89 calories per 100 grams) however, the relatively small amount you’ll give should cause no ill effects to a healthy rabbit with plenty of exercise space.
In terms of nutritional value, bananas are naturally low in saturated fat and contain fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and several other plant compounds, all of which are beneficial to the health of a rabbit.
Fresh banana also has a fairly high water content (75%) which means it also makes a refreshing treat for a rabbit that can help keep the animal hydrated, especially during warm weather.
Good and bad fruits
Rabbits have a sweet tooth and enjoy lots of different fruits. However, due to the high sugar content often found in fruit, they should only eat fruits in very small amounts, banana is one such fruit. Some fruits should also be avoided due to their seeds (or pips) and stones which can be poisonous to rabbits if eaten.
Fruit (and also vegetables) are also likely to have been treated with chemical pesticides which can be harmful to a rabbit if ingested. This means that you will need to ensure that they are washed thoroughly in cold running water before offering them.
Nutritional value of banana
This graphic shows the nutritional value of banana per 100 grams however, the kind of amounts you’ll be giving your rabbit will be much smaller.
Do rabbits like banana?
Rabbits love sweet foods and sweet tasty banana is no exception, every rabbit has its own personality and preferences but we’ve found that a sweet ripe banana will for most bunnies be too much to resist. We test a lot of different fruits on our rabbits and although they seem to prefer freeze dried or dehydrated varieties over fresh, our rabbits will happily take any banana they can get their cute little paws on!
Do rabbits need to eat banana?
Although banana makes a delicious treat for a rabbit. There is no evidence to suggest that a rabbit specifically needs to eat it to remain healthy. Rabbits are very different from us humans and despite what some sources will tell you, they do not get bored through ‘lack of variety’.
Rabbits have survived perfectly well for thousands of years without the wide variety of fruits and vegetables us pet owners provide.
Of course, as rabbit owners, we enjoy providing new foods but a rabbits diet does not need to be overly complicated. Fiber is the most important aspect and it’s importance cannot be underestimated. As such a rabbits diet should be primarily made up of 80% good quality grasses or hay. It is this that keeps the digestive tract moving along.
If you would like to know exactly what makes up a great rabbit diet, you can read our detailed post here (link to post ‘What Can Rabbits Eat – Complete Guide & Quick Reference Tool).
Although rabbits love fruits, there is often a risk that high sugars will upset the delicate digestive balance within a rabbits gut. Keep this in mind when giving a rabbit treats and try to resist the begging!
Can baby rabbits eat banana?
Young rabbits should not eat banana due to its high sugar content and the immaturity of their digestive system. The majority of a baby or juvenile rabbits diet should be good quality grass hay and pellets. You can read more about the recommended diet for a young rabbit here (link to post ‘What Can Rabbits Eat – Complete Guide & Quick Reference Tool).
The taste test!
We knew this test was about as close as we could get to a sure thing, however, we never need an excuse to spoil our rabbits. We tried our rabbits out on 3 different ‘types’ of banana, fresh slices, freeze-dried, and some dehydrated banana chips. Ticks represent those they eat while crosses represent flatly refused.
|Rabbit||Fresh banana slices||Freeze dried banana chips||Dehydrated Banana chips||Score|
It’s safe to say banana was a hit with our rabbits! Of course, we can’t say for certain whether your own rabbits will enjoy it, every rabbit is different so you won’t know until you try it yourself.
Taking care of a rabbits digestive system
A rabbit’s digestive system can be very sensitive to sudden changes that can interrupt the delicate gut flora which plays an important role in keeping the rabbit happy and healthy.
When you introduce any new food into a rabbit’s diet whether it be it a fruit or vegetable (even those considered safe) you should give your rabbit a chance to get used to it first.
Give a very small amount and observe the rabbit over a few hours. If it produces any soft poo it may be that the particular fruit or vegetable does not agree with it.
Wait till everything seems to be back to normal with your rabbit before testing him on any other fruits.
Also, keep an eye out behavioral changes which could be an indication of more serious gastrointestinal issues like trapped wind or blockages (g.i. stasis)
Banana availability and benefits
Bananas are available all year round and have many health benefits for mammals including rabbits. Here are some pros and cons of bananas.
Benefits of banana for a rabbit
- Bananas are rich in potassium, which may reduce the risk of older rabbits developing kidney stones, especially if the rabbit’s diet is high in other calcium-rich veggies like kale.
- Good source of fiber
- Low in sodium
- Rich in vitamin B6 and Vitamin C
- Rich in antioxidants
Negatives of banana for a rabbit
- Very high carbohydrate and sugar levels
- Can be addictive
- Overfeeding can cause bloating or digestive problems
Buying and preparing bananas
Unlike other fruits bananas continue to ripen even after they are picked and get tastier the riper they become which means that they can be picked up from a supermarket as required and if you buy them before they ripen they will keep even longer.
Wait until bananas are fully ripe with no green skin before giving it to a rabbit. Unripe banana is not as tasty as the starch in the banana has not yet turned into sugar. While some advice may also state that banana skin can also be eaten by rabbits, the peel of a banana is quite starchy and probably won’t be anywhere near as tasty or beneficial to your rabbit.
Can rabbits have canned bananas?
You should never ever feed canned foods to a rabbit, as well as being starchy and full of sodium and sugar, canned foods often contain preservatives all of which may upset your rabbit’s digestive system. In particular, bananas prepared for jars or tins are likely to be saturated in syrup and extremely bad for a rabbit.
Can rabbits eat banana chips?
Rabbits can eat banana chips in very small quantities however avoid sweetened banana chips and go for organic ones with no added sugar.
As rabbits can only eat very small amounts of banana, chips are often a more convenient solution to opening a whole banana unless of course you plan to share it with your rabbit.
Recommended use of banana in a rabbit diet
Due to the aforementioned high carbohydrate (sugar), banana should only be given to your rabbit as a treat, overfeeding banana will likely cause digestive problems or diarrhea
One to two tablespoons or a couple of slices a few mm thick given once or twice per week is a safe amount that will cause no negative long term health problems for your bunny (providing you are not also providing any other treats).
We hope you enjoy this short article, as we continue this series we hope to provide you with basic information to allow you to make your own informed decisions when deciding what to feed your bunny.
Remember that a rabbit’s digestive system is not the same as a human. It does not need the kind of variety that we enjoy.
A rabbit’s diet should be largely fiber-based in order to keep the gut moving and prevent gut stasis. Aside from water hay should make up approximately 80% of a rabbits diet and an unlimited amount should be provided (a rabbit can eat a ball of hay equivalent to his own size each day). Treats should be given very occasionally.
Every rabbit is different so there is no sure way to know how your rabbit may react to any food until you try it.
Above all remember that too much of anything can be bad for your pet! Just because a rabbits digestive system can digest banana, it is not really suited for these high sugar foods (wild rabbits will unlikely ever see a banana) so they should be considered a treat food only.