Whether they are living in your house as pets or visit your backyards occasionally, Squirrels are tiny little critters that are most entertaining to watch in action. Many squirrel lovers often put out food for them in order to attract them to their yard. But how would you decide what should be used as the bait? Can fruits or veggies be used to get the job done? What about bananas?
Can Squirrels eat bananas? Yes, they can, but only in strict moderation. All of us are aware of banana’s nutritional richness, but little do we know that feeding too many of these fruits to Squirrels can prove to be detrimental to their health. Also, feeding banana peels to Squirrels is a bad idea due to its high fiber and cellulose content. If you have a Flying Squirrel as a pet, you can use bananas to treat them occasionally.
In this article, we are going to learn about banana’s nutritional value, their health benefits for Squirrels, the risks involved, and more.
The Nutritional Value Of Banana
Since Banana is the center of our whole discussion, it is essential that we learn about its contents first. Below is the table of its nutritional composition, take a look:
|Vitamin A||64 IU|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.031 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.073 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.665 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.334 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.367 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folates)||20 mcg|
|Vitamin C||8.7 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.10 mg|
|Vitamin K||0.5 mcg|
|Calcium, Ca||5 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.26 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||27 mg|
|Copper, Cu||0.078 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||0.27 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||22 mg|
|Sodium, Na||1 mg|
|Potassium, K||358 mg|
|Selenium, Se||1 mcg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.15 mg|
|Dietary fibers||2.60 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
Are Bananas Healthy For Squirrels?
If you go through the table in the last section carefully, you will notice that bananas have an abundance of both macro as well as micronutrients. But are these fruits healthy for your little critter friends? Let’s find out:
- Bananas have a low-fat content, which means that the Squirrels aren’t at the risk of becoming obese by eating them.
- They are rich in fibers that, when consumed in moderation, and can help Squirrels with their digestive issues.
- Vitamins C and E present in bananas make them rich in antioxidants, which is how they can strengthen the Squirrel’s immune system.
- Bananas also have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Due to their bright color, bananas have beta-carotene and Vitamin A, which protects them against anemia and enhances their eyesight.
- Bananas are also rich in all the minerals that the Squirrels need: Iron, Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc, and Calcium.
Can Bananas Be Bad For Squirrels’ Health?
In the previous section, we discussed all the health benefits of feeding bananas to Squirrels. But are there any downsides to feeding them these fruits? Well, as long as you are feeding them bananas in moderation, they will never face any problem.
However, if you start feeding them too many bananas too frequently, their health will certainly take a toll. But how? We will tell you.
Because bananas are fruits, it is obvious that they would contain natural sugar. Now, while natural sugar is not lethal to most animals and can boost their energy levels, energetic animals like Squirrels have no use of an energy boost.
In fact, on the contrary, this sugar can raise their blood pressure to dangerous levels. Moreover, the high fiber content of these fruits can also lead to digestive issues in Squirrels when overfed.
Can Squirrels Eat Banana Peels?
Whenever we eat bananas, we usually throw the peel away because it is too tough for us to chew. However, these peels are quite nutritious and benefit our health in many ways if we consume them. Let’s take a quick look at their nutritional richness:
The Nutritional Richness Of Banana Peels
Banana peels are not only full of fibers but also contain vitamins and minerals in abundance, including Vitamin C, Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6), Cobalamin (Vitamin B12), Magnesium, and Potassium. Eating these peels can enrich our immune system, boost our energy and cell development, and regulate the glucose levels in our body.
These nutrients are not only great for us but also for the Squirrels. So, can these little critters eat the banana peels? Unfortunately, not. It is because of the presence of Cellulose in the peels, a compound located in the rigid cell walls of the plant that most animals, including both humans and Squirrels, cannot break down easily.
This means that even if the Squirrels try to eat these peels, they will only end up having digestive as well as reproductive issues.
Another, secondary problem with the peels is the risk of them being sprayed with toxic chemicals such as pesticides and insecticides. However, while this risk can be alleviated by purchasing organic bananas, the problem of cellulose is bigger and uncompromisable. Therefore, you should never feed banana peels to the Squirrels.
Do Squirrels Eat The Leaves Of Banana Plant?
The first thing you need to know about Squirrels is that they are wild animals. And like all other wild animals, they are also opportunistic feeders, never turning down anything they find edible. But do these critters find the leaves of banana plants edible? Yes, they do.
In fact, banana leaves are one of the things that they are fond of. Striped Squirrels, Fox Squirrels, and Grey Squirrels are three Squirrel species that have been seen feeding on banana leaves most commonly.
So, if you’re noticing have-eaten banana leaves in your yard, it might be the work of one of these Squirrels.
Is It Safe To Feed Baby Squirrels Bananas?
Most of you might not know this, but when they are young, Squirrels are very fragile and have very specific dietary needs; their diet should strictly contain their mother’s milk (or a similar milk formula) unless they are 8 weeks old.
If you ever come across such a young Squirrel, feeding them any solid food, including bananas, would be unwise.
Bananas, or any other fruits with a considerable amount of sugar, should only be introduced into their diet if they’re 9 weeks of age or older.
Can Flying Squirrels Eat Bananas?
Out of all the Squirrel species, the Flying Squirrels are by far most popularly kept as pets. They’re adorable, highly social, and incredibly easy to care for.
Some of their favorite foods are broccoli, pine nuts, corn, portobello mushroom, pumpkin seeds, and so on. But can these Squirrels eat bananas? Yes, they can. They are fond of a variety of fresh fruits and berries, including bananas.
Can You Feed Dried Bananas To Squirrels?
While the dried bananas are immensely enjoyed by us, feeding them to Squirrels is not a great idea. First and foremost, the sugar content of these bananas is considerably higher than the regular ones. And as we had established earlier in the article, too much sugar is very unhealthy for these critters.
Moreover, most of us get our fried bananas from the stores instead of sun-drying or oven-drying them ourselves.
The problem with this is that the manufacturers make these products solely for human consumption and, thus, add several chemicals and additives to them. These chemicals can’t harm us but can certainly have an adverse effect on our little friends.
Can Squirrels Eat Banana Jams?
Banana jams are one of the most commonly consumed jams these days. Are you fond of them, too, and are wondering if you can share these with the Squirrels in your yard? Well, if you buy your jam from stores, you shouldn’t, because of the same reasons we talked about in the previous section.
However, there is a way you can safely savor these treats with Squirrels: if you make them yourself. It is easy to prepare, cost-effective, and you can find millions of videos and tutorials of their recipe on the internet.
Can Squirrels Eat Banana Chips?
Can banana chips be fed to Squirrels? Yes, many veterinary experts have approved of using banana chips as an occasional treat for Squirrels. However, you must make sure to follow moderation when feeding the Squirrels these chips, for they have a high sugar content and calorie count and make your critter friends unhealthy in the long run.
Can Squirrels Eat Banana Bread?
Most of you probably know this already, but there are many significant differences between store-bought and home-made banana bread.
The store-bought banana bread can hardly be called “bread”, for it is more like a cake. It belongs to the category of processed foods and has too much sugar and other artificial flavors and additives. Also, it has no nutritional value for the Squirrels.
On the other hand, home-made banana bread is often made with whole foods and contains sugar in a much smaller quantity. Therefore, it is a much safer and healthier choice for the Squirrels.
Conclusion: Can Squirrels eat bananas?
Although Squirrels are often portrayed in movies and cartoons as eating an acorn, in reality, they have quite a diverse diet made up of fruits, veggies, seeds, and nuts. Bananas are just one of the fruits these little critters enjoy eating. They can even munch on the leaves of banana plants if given an opportunity.
However, just because they like these fruits doesn’t mean you can include them in their daily diet. Bananas are rich in sugar and fibers and should, therefore, only be fed to the Squirrels occasionally. Also, it is best to make the diet of these critters diverse so that they get all the nutrients uniformly.