What Animals Eat Banana Peel?

Written by: Annemarie Dutton
Last updated on:

Forget the banana, hand over the peel. Several animals are known for their consumption of bananas, but what about the peels? They usually leave that behind, right? Not necessarily. There are several animals that not only eat bananas but eat the peel too. There are several animals that eat banana peel on a regular basis. 

Nutritional Value 

Before we discuss which ones do eat banana peels, let’s examine the nutritional value of eating a banana peel. It’s well known that bananas are rich in potassium, protein, and fiber to name a few nutrients that bananas are rich in. The peels are rich in these nutrients, they are also rich in B6, B12, and magnesium. Sounds like most of us have been missing out on what these animals have known all along. 

Feeding Your Pet Banana Peel

While there are many nutritional benefits to feeding your pet a banana peel it is important to recognize that this, along with all foods, must be properly prepared and cleaned prior to feeding. It is also always a good idea to start out in moderation as you don’t know how it will affect the pet’s digestive system and introducing new foods can cause stomach upset. 

Concerns about Banana Peel Consumption 

While there are several health benefits to eating banana peels, it does bear mentioning that there are some dangers with it as well. Consuming banana peels can expose the animal to either environmental contaminants and/or pesticides that can have a negative health impact. 

There are also concerns around the cellulose that is contained in the banana peel as many animals cannot properly digest them and will suffer from digestive tract upset and sometimes diarrhea. One other concern is the tannin content of the banana which occurs in unripe banana. Once the banana ripens the tannin is no longer a threat. So when feeding banana peel, make sure it is from a ripe banana.

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Down on the Farm

Due to their nutritional value, many farmers use banana peels as feedstock for their livestock. These types of livestock include cattle, pigs, goats, and chickens to name a few. The banana peel is mixed into their food for its nutritional value and relatively low cost compared to some other types of feedstock that is available to the farmer. 

Wild Animals

You may have seen at some wildlife preserves, “Do not feed the animals”. These are usually posted not only for your safety but also for the safety of the animals. Feeding a wild animal may provide a cool selfie opportunity the food given to the animal for the selfie has the potential to harm the animal. For example, deer may eat a banana peel, but outside of the increased fiber, they really don’t do much for them. 

Pets

With the nutritional value associated with a banana peel, you may be wondering if they are good to feed to your pets. You should take some things into consideration prior to feeding your pet a banana peel. 

Rabbit

You may have a pet rabbit and wonder if it is ok to feed them a banana peel. The answer to this question is it depends. While you may not have any issues with getting them to eat the peel, you will need to feed it to them in moderation. 

Guinea Pigs

Don’t be surprised when you offer your guinea pig a banana that he eats it, skin and all. Like a rabbit, you will want to make sure to offer it in moderation but there is no usually harm in offering your little pet this tasty treat. 

Rats

These little pets will eat just about anything, and that includes the banana peel. One special consideration that you must take into account when feeding a rat a banana, the fruit inside or the peel, it must be a ripe banana. A green or unripe banana will upset his or her digestive system quite considerably. 

Fish

Amazingly enough, even some fish, such as guppies, like to eat banana peel. The peel contains potassium which is something that they do not get that often so when they see an opportunity to partake in this tasty morsel they will snap at the chance.

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Other Animals that Eat Banana Peel

Raccoons

Raccoons eat just about anything, and a banana peel is just as good to them as anything else. They shouldn’t eat that much, however; they cannot digest the cellulose in the peel, and therefore consuming a large amount of banana peel can give them digestive problems. You might not want to leave out any banana peels if you live in an area that is heavily populated with raccoons. Keep the peels put away. 

Birds

While many birds cannot or will not eat bananas, there are several that do. As a matter of fact, there are several tropical birds that have taken quite a liking to the delicious fruit and its peel. They have actually become a big problem for farmers in South and Central America as they are destroying one of their largest crops. 

Deer

Yes, a deer will eat a banana peel. As a matter of fact, many find them irresistible. Fortunately for the deer, their digestive tract is impressive and they are one of the few animals that can comfortably digest the cellulose in the peel. Even the pesticides that some peels may have will only have a minimal effect on their digestive system. 

Conclusion 

There are several animals that eat banana peel and many can thrive on them. There are also those that will eat them and experience digestive upset or worse. In the wild, there is not much that we can do about them eating bananas other than making sure that we are good stewards of their habitat and not discard bananas or anything else that may harm them where they live. 

For those that have pets that can tolerate a banana peel, they are a tasty treat for the animal. Just a quick reminder that it is important to start off slow to see how much your pet can consume as to not upset their stomach. It’s such a wonderful snack that you can share with your pampered pet.

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