If you have a pet rabbit or you keep domestic rabbits for other purposes, you might start to feel a little bad for them after they’ve been on their typical diet for a little while.
Grass and hay and pellets- forever! It’s obvious that you’d want to give them a little bit of a treat or some other kind of food to help mix up their diet.
Lucky for you, and for the rabbits, they can eat all kinds of fruits and veggies safely. But, with new foods come new complications, and you’ve got to know how much and how often you can feed a rabbit with these novel foods.
How about a tropical fruit like bananas? Can rabbits eat bananas safely?
Yes, bananas are safe for rabbits to eat but only in moderation as a treat or supplement to their usual diet. Bunnies love bananas, and they are nutritious, but they are just too sugary for them to eat regularly.
If you’re anything like me you’ve probably got a sweet tooth yourself, and rabbits sure seem to love sweet foods too.
Bananas seem perfect because they’re healthy and wholesome, but you can’t give in to sentimentality and give too many to your rabbits! This can easily cause serious health problems.
You don’t need to worry, but you do need to know more before you hand them over. I’ll tell you all about it below…
Do Rabbits Like Bananas?
Yes, they sure do! I’ve never seen even a single rabbit that would turn down a fresh banana. And it just makes sense when you think about it: bananas are soft and easy to eat, sweet and fragrant and are of course highly attractive to rabbits.
Never mind the fact that the vast majority of bunnies would never encounter bananas in the wild, they seem to love them instinctively!
And here is my first warning for you: rabbits have an alarming tendency to get addicted to sweet foods, including fruit. I’ve seen more than one rabbit start refusing their usual food after getting too much of the sweet stuff!
Don’t let that happen by saving sweets as occasional treats…
Are Bananas a Healthy Food for Rabbits?
Yes, bananas are a healthy food for rabbits but with some reservations. They are so sugary that they aren’t good for rabbits as a regular part of their diet, or in high amounts. On the other hand, bananas are naturally nutritious and generally make a wonderful, wholesome snack.
Breaking down the nutritional content of bananas, we see that they have hardly any fat, a tiny bit of protein and tons of carbohydrates.
This can be problematic for rabbits considering the vast majority of those carbs come from sugar, and only a little bit from dietary fiber.
But then we have the vitamins to consider, also, and here bananas show a lot to like…
They have a good assortment of B complex vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B5 and tons of B6 backed up by a bit of folate. They also have choline and a good shot of vitamin C. All good news on this front!
But the mineral content is similarly impressive, and bananas can provide rabbits with magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, plenty of potassium, iron and zinc with just a tiny bit of sodium.
Together, bananas can give rabbits a great boost of energy and certainly improve their mood because they taste so good. They are just the thing to help bust them out of menu boredom.
But to be honest, the vitamins and minerals in bananas can improve most aspects of a rabbit’s health so long as you feed them in moderation.
Are Ripe Bananas Safe for Rabbits?
Yes, ripe bananas are totally safe for rabbits, but you must only feed them to them occasionally and in small amounts to prevent problems. Ripe bananas have considerably more sugar compared to unripened, green ones.
Are Green Bananas Safe for Rabbits?
Yes, they are! Green bananas are still safe for rabbits even though they don’t taste as good to us. That’s because they contain less sugar and are less fragrant.
If your bunnies will eat green bananas just the same, it is a great way to give them additional nutrients with less sugar, so it’s a good trade-off.
Are Banana Seeds Safe for Rabbits?
Yes. The itty bitty, tiny rows of seeds that you’ll find in the center of every banana are completely harmless for rabbits. They won’t even know they are there!
Can Rabbits Eat Banana Peels?
Yes, surprisingly enough rabbits can eat banana peels safely. However, banana peels are not very nutritious, not particularly palatable or attractive to rabbits and are a potential choking risk unless you cut them up into small pieces.
I don’t think it’s worth the trouble, but if you want to see if your rabbit will eat them, you can try.
Can Bananas Cause Problems for Rabbits?
Yes, bananas can definitely cause problems for rabbits. However, all these problems are caused by excess consumption; bananas are not overtly toxic or in any way poisonous to them.
The problem with bananas and rabbits is an issue that is shared by many other fruits and some other foods generally. The fact is that bananas are just too sugary to be good for rabbits on a consistent basis.
When rabbits have too much sugar, it disrupts the microorganisms in their gut that they depend on to help them digest food. This can cause indigestion, diarrhea and other problems that will plague the poor things.
Potentially worse than this, sugary foods have a tendency to cause an excess of gas-producing types of bacteria which will then produce more and more gas over time.
This doesn’t mean your bunny will start farting; that’s because rabbits cannot evacuate this gas buildup like people and other mammals can.
Instead, that gas filling up will cause pain, loss of appetite and potentially a lethal rupturing at some point in the digestive tract. It’s a terrible fate for a rabbit and gas accumulation is a medical emergency.
Assuming none of that happens, bananas will certainly spike the blood sugar of your rabbits. A little boost is one thing, and fine, but consistently high sugar can cause a variety of health problems in rabbits besides weight gain.
If you want to avoid all of these bad outcomes, simply avoid giving your rabbits too many bananas!
How Often Should Rabbits Eat Bananas?
Rabbits can have bananas occasionally as a treat, or if you want to be charitable, as a healthy supplement to their usual diet. Make it no more than twice a week.
A good rule of thumb is to give them only a half tablespoon of banana for every 2 pounds of body weight. This is assuming they are fully grown and otherwise healthy.
Pay attention after feeding your rabbits bananas and see if their behavior changes negatively or if they’re exhibiting any signs of discomfort or gas, such as sitting in an unusual position or if you hear gurgling in their stomach.
If you do, stop giving them bananas until they get back to normal and then start with a smaller amount next time.
Assuming everything goes well, you can slowly increase the amount of bananas they get, maxing out at around one tablespoon per 2 pounds of body weight.
Again, discontinue immediately if you notice any negative outcomes, and in the future reduce the frequency of feedings, or eliminate bananas from their diet entirely.
What’s the Best Way to Serve Bananas to Rabbits?
Bananas should be peeled prior to serving to rabbits. From there, you can cut bananas up into medallions and then slice those into quarters, or mash them to make measuring really easy and accurate.
And be prepared, bunnies tend to get messy if they are eating mashed bananas!
Never Give Rabbits Spoiled Bananas
Your rabbits can have ripe bananas or unripened bananas with no issues besides the ones I have outlined above.
However, never feed your rabbits any bananas that are brown and mushy, showing signs of mold or that have a fermented smell.
Spoiled produce is always going to be very bad for rabbits and is even more likely to disrupt the delicate and crucial balance of the microorganisms they have in their gut and depend on to digest food.
In a best-case scenario, this will cause major diarrhea and pain. In a worst-case scenario, they’ll stop eating entirely and might die!
If your bananas have gone bad, throw them away; don’t give them to your rabbits.
Are Bananas Safe for Bunnies?
Bananas are safe for bunnies but only with major reservations…
I would never feed bananas to any bunny that was not at least 4 months old, and even then, I’m going to be very cautious and only give them a tiny amount to try. And I mean tiny: I’m talking like half a teaspoon here for safety.
The sugar content of bananas and the high likelihood of disrupting the especially delicate gut flora of baby bunnies means that bananas are downright dangerous for them until they mature.
You never want to rush giving bunnies any additional produce in their diet as it takes a long time for their digestive system to stabilize, and any disruption might have life-altering consequences.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.