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Animals That Eat Coffee Beans

Written by: Akeem Eletu
Last updated on:
image of 2 birds

This article has been reviewed by veterinarian Sara Ochoa

What Animals Eat Coffee Beans?

Coffee beans are not beans but seeds from the coffee cherry. The coffee plant is a fruit tree that has fruits similar to berries. Like a typical fruit plant, they develop green and turn redder as they ripen. Coffee seeds emerge after you remove the berries’ skin and pulp.

This captivating post discusses what animals eat coffee beans, those that can’t, the risks coffee beans poses to animals, and the benefits derived, if there are any.

Unique Creations of Coffee Beans

Coffee is more of a fruit rather than a vegetable. It is a fruit because the coffee cherry that produces coffee seeds is similar to a cherry when it becomes ripe. Although some people can mistake it for being a vegetable because of the beans found inside the cherries, people shouldn’t take the term bean literally.

Not many animals can eat coffee beans. While some animals won’t go near it because of the strong aroma it oozes, other animals like coffee beans so much that they almost get sick from eating coffee beans. But if you have a pet or two at home that like eating coffee beans, avoid feeding them coffee beans because it can lead to disaster.

Interestingly, some animals eat the raw deal (coffee berries) because it is all that is available to eat in the wild. Then, they poop out the beans because they can’t digest them. Coffee producers pick them, wash them thoroughly, sun-dry, roast, and brew them to become the coffee many people need every morning to be in the right work mood.

The following are some animals that fall under this category.

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Asian Palm Civet

The Asian palm civet is one animal that should come to mind when you think about what animals eat coffee beans. The Asian palm civet has a small cat-like structure similar to the weasel. Civets originate from southeastern Asian countries like the Philippines and Indonesia. They are the genius behind the origination of the most popular coffee known as the Kopi Luwak (Civet Coffee), the first type of animal poop coffee humans discovered.

Kopi Luwak is often called cat poop coffee, which isn’t wholly appropriate. Not all cat poop can turn into this splendid coffee except the civet’s. 

As mentioned earlier, civets eat coffee berries and poop out the seed (which eventually turns to coffee seeds) because their body can’t digest them properly. 

Elephants

image of 2 elephants

Besides the Asian palm civets, elephants are another animals that make the list of what animals eat coffee beans/ Elephants also poop coffee seeds. This process originates from an experiment after the knowledge of the civet coffee became popular. They fed elephants coffee berries, and the partially digested seeds were gotten from their dung. 

Although nothing can beat the first and natural animal poop coffee, elephant poop coffee does not taste so bad. 

Birds

Other animals that eat coffee beans are birds. Birds do not refer to all species, but specific ones called the Jacu birds. These birds poop coffee originated in Brazil when a coffee producer realized that an endangered species of birds known as the Jacu feasted on his plantation. These birds ate his coffee cherries and even destroyed what was left.

While thinking of a solution, he realized that he could develop the bird poop coffee like the cat poop coffee he once tasted. This scenario right here birthed the bird poop coffee. So, birds are also animals that you should think about when asked what animals eat coffee beans.

Monkeys

The Macaque monkeys also eat coffee beans along with cherries. While other sources of coffee are from poop, the macaque monkeys operate differently. Instead of eating coffee cherries and pooping the seeds, this monkey munches on the coffee cherries, swallows the pup, and spits out the seeds without digesting them. 

For the macaque monkey, the enzymes in the saliva break down the coffee beans’ chemical composition rather than the digestive system. Although this coffee type is still animal processed, it isn’t a poop coffee.

Monkey spit coffee sounds better than monkey poop coffee, don’t you think so?

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Bats

image of bat

The process of manufacture is similar to that of the monkey poop coffee. This animal coffee began due to a particular species of bats known as the Central American bats (the artibeus jamaicensis). 

These bats eat the outer pulp of coffee cherries and lick off the sugary mucilage. At this point, their saliva starts the fermentation process, and the bat poop coffee comes into existence.

Benefits of the Digestive Process Involved in Poop Coffees

These poop coffees boost the brain inositol, provide disease-fighting citric acid, energy-boosting malic acid, and boast some other unique health benefits to consumers. 

The animals’ digestive system takes care of some of the things the human body can’t digest, making digestion easier for humans. Also, it offers lowered caffeine content without taking away the smooth and natural energy-boosting factor. 

Should Animals Eat Coffee Beans?

image of coffee beans

In comparison to humans, pets are more sensitive to caffeine effects. The chemical boost from coffee can be harmful to the health of most animals, especially household pets, among others. Coffee beans contain pure caffeine that is highly concentrated and can lead to hyperactivity, insomnia, nervousness, and other negative side effects.

Animals should not be fed coffee beans as it can be too much for them. Even the animals mentioned earlier fish out the coffee beans from coffee berries and eject them out of their body system. It is best to stick to other safe foods if you own pets rather than feeding them something that can hurt them with the littlest mistake.

The following are some symptoms animals will likely get if they ingest coffee beans.

  • Become hyperactive.
  • It increases heart rate that is far from ordinary.
  • Become restless, jittery, and won’t be able to hold still.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Sweaty.
  • Poor digestion.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • High fever.
  • Seizures.
  • Death in extreme cases.

Final Thoughts

People depict coffee as a bitter, dark, and caffeinated drink that you get from brownish beans. This is not entirely true, as you now know that one can also get coffee beans from coffee cherries. 

These beans are not something to be taken lightly. It is best not to feed them to animals. Instead, stick to other vegetables, insects, and animals that add nutritional value to their diet.

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