Can A Rabbit Eat Banana? Read This First!

Can a rabbit eat banana? It’s a good question considering how cheap the fruit can be to purchase. Originating from Europe and Africa, rabbits are widespread across many parts of the world.  The main known species are the wild rabbit and the European rabbit, the domestic bunny rabbits’ ancestors.  (1) The most common question that interests rabbits breeders and pet owners is how to feed them.  Can, for example, a bunny rabbit eat bananas or other fruits?  To find out, you need to read this first!

Just like most herbivores, bunny rabbits can eat bananas.  However, please take into account that their natural nutrition commonly does not include bananas or other fruits.  Therefore, consult your vet first, and choose a proper diet, when giving bananas to your bunny rabbits. 

The domestication of rabbits took centuries, starting from Roman times (1).  The genetic selection created breeds for livestock, pets, show-off, test objects, etc.  An appropriate nutritious diet provides bunnies with good health and growth.  The type of diet depends on the breed, age, gender, and size of the rabbit.  If fruits, such as bananas, are included in this diet, how they affect bunnies’ health and nutrition are also questions of significant importance.    

Can A Rabbit Eat Banana? Consider A Rabbit Balanced Diet

Can a rabbit eat banana like this one here from Vancouver? Yes, in small doses it's fine.
Adorable Brown Bunny At Jericho Beach Vancouver Canada

As grazing animals, bunny rabbits eat green vegetation mainly.  Although hay is their universal food, a balanced diet requires a complex mix of nutrients.  Besides hay, such a diet includes vegetables, fruits, and pellets.  (2) Every one of these dietary components completes the model of a healthy and balanced nutritional diet.  The nutritional imbalance, consequently, can cost the bunny health or behavioral problems. 

Although fruits are included in the rabbits’ balanced diet, they fall under a special category.  Bananas, which are fruits, are even more special for the bunnies.  According to Smith et al., anything beyond fresh hay, vegetables, water, and high-quality pellets, given to rabbits is a treat.  (2) Treats are not a usual, natural food and similar to humans should be with limited consumption.  On the other hand, the quantity of treats permissible for a bunny, just like for other food, depends on the animal’s age, gender, and weight. 

Rabbit Food Pyramid

Smith et al. visualize the ratio amongst the distinct categories of rabbit food via a pyramid.  The pyramid is divided into four horizontal sections.  Following the pyramid shape, the most significant section is the hay section at the bottom.  Next are the vegetables and the pellets portions, ended by the treats (fruits) portion – the minor portion on the top.  This ratio represents the different correlation categories of food should have in a balanced rabbit diet. (2)

The Rabbit Food Pyramid also provides a shortlist of human treats that are “forbidden” for bunny rabbits.  Chocolate, cookies, crackers, bread, pasta are among them.  They are qualified as dangerous for a rabbit’s health and should not be given by any means.  Chocolate, for example, is poisonous to bunnies.  (2) In contrast to these human treats, in reasonable quantities, fruits are healthy and nutritious.

Fruits

Fruits also contain nutrients necessary for rabbits’ balanced diet.  However, some of them are pretty excessive for the small body of the bunny.  Especially sugar levels are high in most fruits.  For this reason, you should approach it very carefully when feeding a rabbit with fruits. Here again applies the rule of age, gender, and weight. 

Not all fruits are safe for rabbits.  Vet experts propose a list of fruits that is safe and recommendable, providing that you follow the rule above.  The list includes as follows (3) :

  • Apple (no seeds)
  • Banana
  • Berries
  • Cherries (no seeds)
  • Grapes
  • Melon
  • Nectarine
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Pineapple
  • Plum (no pits)
  • Watermelon 

Vets recommend feeding your rabbits with fruits one or two times per week.  The entire amount should not exceed 10 % of their diet.  The appropriate portion is one to two tablespoons of fruit per five pounds of body weight.  (3) You can either offer one type of fruit to your bunny or a fruit mixture.  Nevertheless, before mixing fruits, you should introduce them gradually and one by one.

Bananas

Just like humans, animals need to eat treats from time to time.  Fruits are excellent treats for rabbits, and bananas are, perhaps, the best among them.  Going back to the question of whether bunnies can eat bananas – yes, they enjoy having them!  However, you should be careful, keeping in mind some specific nutritional characteristics of bananas.  Giving too much of this sweet treat to a rabbit can be risky for its health and immunity.

Vets advise that rabbits should eat bananas, as well as other fruits in moderation.  Like other foods, bananas provide necessary nutrients to the bunny’s body.  Although most of the nutrients come from green foods and pellets, traits, such as bananas, should not be excluded.  In moderate use, they also contribute to rabbits’ healthy diet.

Nutrients

Bananas, just like many other fruits, provide fiber to the bunny’s diet.  So, can a bunny eat banana? Fiber is, after all, a critical nutrient for a rabbit’s body.  However, due to the high water content in bananas, hay is a better source of fiber.  Bananas also provide carbohydrates, which are essential for the rabbit’s energy levels.  Other essential nutrients are vitamins, which support their immune system.  (2)

Risks

  • The main risk of overfeeding a rabbit with bananas is the high quantity of sugar they contain.  High sugar levels can cause health issues such as obesity, high blood sugar, indigestion, and hyperthyroidism.  Indigestion, on the other hand, can lead to dehydration, acidity, and intestinal obstruction.  Constipation is extremely dangerous for a bunny.  Too much sugar can also cause a disproportion of bacteria and parasites within the cecum.  (2)
  • Bananas also contain potassium and magnesium.  Having them in excessive quantities in the rabbit’s body can cause inflammation.  If a bunny has gas or diarrhea soon after being fed with a banana, this is a serious sign that you should change the fruit.  For any other problems, or disorders, you notice, contact your vet immediately.  You may need to adjust your bunny’s diet at least.

Banana And Bunny FAQs For You

How Much Banana Should I Give My Bunny?

Just like feeding your bunny with other fruits, to determine the right amount of banana it needs, you have to apply the age, gender, and weight rule. An adult rabbit’s admissible quantity is no more than two tablespoons per five pounds of weight, once or twice a week. However, when giving bananas to your bunny for the first time, you should give a maximum of one tablespoon. Overdosing, as mentioned above, can be harmful to rabbits’ health. The exchange of fruits is the key to a successful balanced diet.

Shall I Give My Rabbit Banana Peel?

Many animals love banana peel, and rabbits are not an exception. According to vets, banana skin is not toxic, and you can give a small amount of it to your bunny. You need to wash the peel carefully first to eliminate any eventual chemical treatment. Nevertheless, vets advise avoiding feeding rabbits with banana peel. You should never give the entire peel to your bunny either, because it can be harmful to its health, just like eating a whole banana.

Do Rabbits Like Bananas?

The correct answer is that bunny rabbits love bananas. In their book about their experience breeding rabbits, Davis and Demello state that most rabbits love bananas. According to the authors, bunnies have a sweet tooth, and a piece of banana or anything with banana taste satisfies them the most. Writers provide an example with banana muffins, which almost drove the rabbits crazy when they sniffed the treats. (5) Therefore, you should be careful, giving bananas to your bunny not only because of the health threats they may cause but also because the sweet banana taste may be addictive.

Can I Feed My Rabbits With Banana Leaves?

Many scientists have researched the potential of banana and plantain leaves for rabbit food in the world’s tropical latitudes. The studies confirm that when the leaves complement a balanced diet, they can be a good feeding source. One research proved that people could safely include banana leaves in up to 40 % of the rabbit’s diet. Researchers could not find any proof of harmful effects on bunnies’ physical and mental health. (4) Therefore, banana leaves are good food for your rabbits, mainly if you breed them in the globe’s tropical regions.

The Last Word On Rabbits, Bananas, And Treats

So, can a rabbit eat banana? The specialists have always been claiming that the secret to proper nutrition is a balanced nutritious diet.  This statement is valid not only for humans but also for the animals we breed.  Bunny rabbits can eat fruits but only in restrained quantities, as a complement to their balanced diet.  For rabbits, fruits are treats, and bananas are among the best.  You can pamper your rabbits with bananas but be careful not to overfeed them because high sugar levels in this fruit can cause health and behavior problems.

  1. Wikipedia contributors. “Rabbit.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit Accessed March 9, 2021
  2. Martin H. Smith, Cheryl L. Meehan, Justine M. Ma, et al., Rabbits – From the Animal’s Point of View, 3: Rabbit Nutrition, UC Agriculture & Natural Resources, https://escholarship.org/content/qt942046xj/qt942046xj.pdf Accessed March 9, 2021
  3. Resources: Pet Care and Shelter Info from Animal Experts, Rabbit Diet: What to Feed a Bunny, Best Friends Animal Society: Save Them All, https://resources.bestfriends.org/article/rabbit-diet-what-feed-bunny Accessed March 10, 2021
  4. Rohilla, P. & Bujarbaruah, K, Effect of Banana Leaves Feeding on Growth of Rabbits, Research Gate,https://www.researchgate.net/publication/296800821_Effect_of_banana_leaves_feeding_on_growth_of_rabbits  Accessed March 10, 2021
  5. Davis, S. & Demello, M., Stories Rabbits Tell. A Natural and Cultural History of a Misunderstood Creature, Lantern Books, Booklight Inc. https://books.google.bg/books?id=ZCS5yfJ7NAEC&printsec=frontcover&hl=bg#v=onepage&q&f=false  Accessed March 11, 2021 

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