The other day, I had a squirrel come up on our back deck foraging for food and took a piece of a banana I offered them. This got me wondering “can squirrels eat bananas and are they good for them? After all, the last thing I want to do is feed them something that can hurt or kill them.
Can Squirrels Eat Bananas?
Bananas are great treats for bonding with your squirrels, they are extremely delicious and contain several essential vitamins, and nutrients beneficial for squirrels. However, they are one of the fruits that should only be fed in small amounts. According to the Avian Animal Hospital, you should only give a wild squirrel or pet squirrel no more than 2 slices per day.
Other fruits that you should only allow a squirrel to eat in small amounts are blueberries, blackberries, kiwi’s, apricots, apples and etc. Squirrels can eat apples, but it’s important to know which part is toxic to them.
They are higher in sugars and starches and if fed in high amounts, they can cause health issues.
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Nutrients In A Banana
One cup mashed raw banana (225 grams) contains:
|Dietary Fiber||5.9 grams|
|Total Omega-3 Fatty Acids||60.8 mg|
|Total Omega-6 Fatty Acids||103 mg|
|Vitamin A||144 IU|
|Vitamin C||19.6 mg|
As you can see, one cup contains 27.5 grams of sugar. While sugars are carbohydrates and they provide energy to these critters, too much can lead to obesity.
Do Squirrels Like Bananas?
Bananas a great source of potassium, protein for both humans and squirrels. However, the main component of a ripe banana is starch and sugar, which can cause harm to a squirrel. It’s also one of the main reasons squirrels love the taste.
Like us, squirrels have several taste buds in their mouth, which is what makes them prefer certain foods over others.
We already know that junk food and sugary food is NOT good for a squirrel. However, this won’t stop them from eating it. Just like kids, they will eat candy and sugary foods all day if you let them.
If you feed them in your backyard, it’s important to provide them nutritional food like this, that will not harm or kill them.
If you live in Florida, Hawaii, California, Louisiana and etc.. Don’t be surprised if you see a squirrel eating your banana tree.
These bushy-tailed critters will climb almost any tree regardless of whether it’s in your yard. This is why so many people try to stop them from eating bark and damaging their trees.
Will Squirrels Eat Bananas?
Squirrels will eat bananas, especially if there is no other food source. They are opportunistic feeders that will change their diet according to where they live in. It’s not uncommon to see squirrels searching through dumpsters in search of leftovers, especially if they live in the city.
If you are outside and you leave a banana unattended, you can bet that a nearby squirrel will run up and steal it.
Do Squirrels Eat Banana Peels?
Okay, so now let’s take a look at what’s inside of a banana peel. The banana peel contains potassium and amazingly it can clean metal objects and even be used to help remedy itchy skin.
It contains powerful nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin, E, and magnesium. While I’ve personally given a squirrel one, I have read that they can deter squirrels from eating your fall bulbs or other plants they love eating.
A neighbor of mine swears that their grey squirrels eat banana peels. Of course, every breed is different so you can see if your backyard critters eat them or not.
What About Banana Chips?
No, banana chips contain more sugar than regular bananas. They are made from pieces of the fruit that has been dried.
According to the Ark Wildlife website, both red and grey squirrels love eating dried bananas and other dried fruit.
There’s nothing wrong with adding some of their regular feed to keep them happy and provide the energy to forage for more food to stock up for the winter. Wildlife Feeding Tip: Whenever you’re feeding squirrels any type of human food, it’s important to do so in moderation. They can eat up to one pound of food per week and a large percentage of it should be derived from natural sources.
While squirrels may like eating banana chips, they definitely should not be a daily part of their diet. If a squirrel sneaks one when you’re not looking, they will most likely be fine.
You just don’t want to fill their feeder with a bunch of banana chips.
Can Squirrels Eat Banana Bread?
No, banana bread is not only high in calories, but it also contains high amounts of sugar. Not all banana bread is baked the same, but any kind of bread is bad for squirrels.
Do Squirrels Eat Banana Leaves?
Yes, and they love them! Unfortunately, if you have banana trees, you will see squirrels eating the leaves and destroying the trees.
Don’t worry, there are some steps you can take to protect your trees without hurting the squirrels.
Can Squirrels Eat Dried Bananas?
Like all dried fruit, they are loaded with saturated fat and added sugar. While not toxic to squirrels, avoid feeding them highly processed foods. If you put banana chips in their feeder, they will probably eat them.
They can provide a good boost of energy, especially in the winter, when food is scarce.
How to Protect Your Banana Trees From Squirrels
When the squirrels have gotten into your banana trees, it’s tempting to opt for a lethal method that will rid them once and for all. But the truth is that both people and squirrels can live in harmony and the best way to do this is to use climbing deterrants to keep them off your trees.
You can either buy one online at Amazon like this one that works perfectly. This 1/2 Galvanized mesh wire works perfectly for keeping out squirrels, raccoons, owls, and other rodents you don’t want messing with your trees.
It not only protects your fruit trees, but can be used to protect your vegetable gardens, but it can also be used as fencing.
Some people have even had luck using motion activated sprinklers.
Can You Feed Squirrels Bananas?
If a squirrel is hungry, it’s NOT unusual for them to approach humans begging for food. Here’s a video of a hungry squirrel that comes out of the bushes ready to eat a banana.
In fact, if you spend some time researching, there’s no shortage of memes, pictures, and videos of squirrels eating pretty much anything.
They love eating bananas, and the sugar-boost provides them with the energy they need to forage for more goodies.
Can Flying Squirrels Eat Bananas?
Just like grey squirrels, flying squirrels are opportunistic foragers, and will eat vegetables, fruit, nuts, berries that grows their natural habitat. This means a wild Southern Squirrel will eat berries, apples, plums, pears, plums, and yes even bananas.
A captive flying squirrel’s diet will vary from that of one living in the wild. However, it’s important to avoid feeding them a bunch of human foods. According to S & S Exotic Animals, a squirrels diet should only consist of 40% of a flying squirrels diet.
It’s important to provide them with the types of food they would find if they were living out in the wild.
Can Baby Squirrels Eat Bananas?
A baby squirrels diet will vary depending on the age of the squirrel. If a squirrel is old enough to eat solid food, then it should be fine feeding them small amounts of the fruit.
However, If you’re nursing a squirrel you found back to health, it’s vital to know that they will need Pedialyte and puppy milk to grow.
That’s why it’s so vital to know the age of your squirrel before you try feeding them any type of solid foods. If you’re raising an infant squirrel, you will need to feed them Esbilac Formula for squirrels.
Alternatives To Feeding Squirrels Bananas
I personally love feeding squirrels and birds in backyard. It’s so relaxing to sit and watch nature. If you’re feeding the wildlife, you need to know what squirrels eat to keep them safe.
While it’s true that these critters will eat anything they can find. Not all foods are good for them. So it’s up to you to ensure you’re feeding them food that helps them not hurts them. As mentioned above, squirrels can have bananas, but they should be fed in moderation.
Bananas are high in fattening and you should consider feeding squirrels wild squirrel food, and other fruits and vegetables such as apples, oranges, squash, blackberries, mushrooms, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
What animal eats banana peels? Most people toss out their banana peel on trails, the road, or the ground thinking that it’s okay. While they are natural and will decompose, they are not good for any animal to eat.
Final Word On Can Squirrels Have Bananas
Whether you’re feeding your backyard squirrels, or just feeding them when you see them at parks or public places. It’s important to know which foods are good for them and which can harm them.
These critters will eat anything and it’s fun to watch them forage for food in your backyard, especially, if you put food out for them.
Before you feed them scraps or other garbage, take the time to find out what foods are good for them and which ones you should avoid giving them.
References and Further Reading
Medical News Today – Benefits and Health Risks of Bananas