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Do Deer Eat Bananas? 🍌

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Deer are known to be herbivores and they primarily feed on vegetation such as leaves, twigs, and bark. However, many people often wonder if deer can eat bananas. The answer is yes, deer can eat bananas, and they are actually good for them.

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deer taking a banana from hand

Bananas are a rich source of potassium, fiber, and other essential nutrients that can benefit a deer's health. However, feeding deer bananas should not be the only thing they consume, as they need a balanced diet of vegetation to stay healthy, plus, it's crucial there's no significant sudden change in deer's diet.

It it safe to feed deer bananas?

When it comes to feeding deer bananas, it is generally safe to do so under certain conditions:

  • It is legal to feed wild deer where you live.
  • It's not winter, and deer have plenty of other food sources available to balance their ration.
  • You do not feed a lot at once. Any new food should be eased into deers' diet over ~ 3 weeks time, or a sudden change could lead to severe digestive issues.
  • You avoid feeding deer bananas that have been treated with pesticides or other chemicals, as these can be harmful to them.

Can deer eat banana peels or dried bananas?

Another question that people often ask is whether deer can eat banana peels or dried bananas. The answer is yes, they can. Moreover, even humans can eat banana peels, according to WebMD:

Bananas are a rich source of:

  • Potassium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron

The banana peels themselves offer additional nutrients, including: 

  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Fiber
  • Protein

Our deer have been eating bananas whole. We often peel them or cut into chunks to make them easier to chew. Deer of course love the soft part better, but peels rarely spend too long sitting on the ground - some deer will always some pick them up.

To sum up, deer can eat the whole banana fruits, with peels. But it is easier for them to eat them either in chunks or when the skin is separated from the soft bit.

Dried bananas can be more difficult for deer to digest, and they're full of sugar, so it is best to avoid feeding them any significant amount of these. A couple of chips, organic, no preservatives or added sugar, should be fine though.

deer eating banana

How to feed bananas to deer

The best way to feed bananas to deer is to place them on the ground or in a feeding area, where the deer can easily access them. 

In the same time, other wild animals such as rabbits, birds, raccoons will all have a nibble at your banana fruits if they find them first.

By placing banana above the ground, perhaps on the lower branches of the tree or on the shrubs, you would make it more difficult for foxes and rabbits to reach them because they cannot climb. It would also keep insects numbers fewer.

How many bananas can I feed the deer

The amount of bananas you can feed the deer is determined by several factors, including their existing diet and if they are already accustomed to eating bananas. While bananas can be a great way to lure deer into your yard, it is important to not overdo it.
If the deer in your area are already familiar with eating bananas, you can feed them a little more. On average, a mature deer should be able consume a few slices of banana without any adverse effects.

If the deer in your area are not accustomed to eating bananas, it is crucial to start slow. If you introduce them to this new food source, you should not feed them more than a 1/5 of a banana each. This will allow them to get used to the new food gradually and reduce the risk of digestive issues.

On our farm, deer who are offered banana fruits for the first time, may get as much as 1/5 of the banana. Those, who get these treats regularly, may eat as many as 2 per day on occasion.

Are Banana trees deer-resistant?

The answer is no, banana trees are not deer-resistant. However, they may be deer-tolerant. Deer are known to eat the tender shoots and leaves of banana trees, as well as the fruit when it is ripe. But they may prefer other fruit trees if they're available, leaving your banana trees alone until pears, peaches, feijoas and plums are gone. If there's nothing better in the vicinity for your local deer population to find your banana trees are likely in trouble. We have a post on protecting trees from deer damage.

What other animals eat bananas?

Some of the most common animals that eat bananas include:

  1. Monkeys
  2. Elephants
  3. Parrots
  4. Sloths
  5. Squirrels
  6. Pigs
  7. Raccoons

bird eating banana

Photo by Daniel Restrepo Londoño on Unsplash

Many other animals, such as bears, mice, and opossums, may also enjoy bananas in the wild if they're lucky to come across them.

🍌🦌 In conclusion, deer can safely eat bananas, and these fruits can provide them with a range of health benefits, both the soft part and peels. With a few guidelines in mind, you can offer a healthy and enjoyable banana snack for the deer in your area.

Last modified 02 October 2023 at 19:06

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I'm a nightwatch man and I see deers, wild turkeys and squirrels so sometimes is it okay to feed them apples and bananas ?

Hi Madmax!

Yes, from health point of view it's safe to share some of these fruits with deer in particular and from our  cursory research - other wild animals as well.

The only problem that might cause is attracting deer into that area. They tend to stick around where they find food. That in turn might attract predators. Or increase a risk of car crashes involving deer. So things like that, plus - it might be illegal to feed deer where you live.

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