Do Deer Eat Bananas? (2022 Updated)

Last updated on October 9th, 2022

When I took my nephews to the zoo recently, I decided to give them a surprise by allowing them to feed the deer on the reservation. The caretaker of the deer in the zoo is a friend, and she told me to peel a few bananas and feed these to the deer.

I was pretty surprised because I was under the impression that I would feed the creatures foliage like broad-leaved plants. But she told me that deer love to eat bananas. So, I decided to gather some information about deer eating bananas as some of the questions that I asked her are as follows:

Yes, deer can eat bananas because the soft texture and sweet contents of ripe bananas make them easily digestible.  On the other hand, wild bananas can contain seeds, which makes deer avoid them after the first bite. 

Do deer eat bananas in the wild?

In the wild, it is challenging to come across banana plantations. Moreover, the bananas are not similar to the commercial bananas we would typically find growing on plantations.

The fruit, too, is quite different from the ones we get commercially. Hence, wild deer typically depend on broad-leaved plants, twigs, wild berries, and the occasional fruits for sustenance.

But if they come across fully ripe bananas within their reach, they will also snack on these fruits.

Sometimes wild bananas are full of seeds, and deer tend to avoid such fruits after the first bite.

Can baby deer eat bananas?

Bananas are an excellent source of energy for baby deer because they gain the needed sugar boost and energy to run around but even though it has numerous health benefits for them, they should be fed in moderation.

Baby deer or fawns are usually dependent on their mothers for nutrition. But once they start eating solid food, you can introduce bananas into their diets.

Deer bred in captivity are often given bananas to help them develop a robust immune system.

In the case of baby deer, it is all the more essential. Most of the time, caretakers will give baby deer mashed bananas to introduce the fruit into their diet. 

How do deer digest bananas?

Deer are ruminant herbivores. They have four chambers in their stomach. These chambers are called the rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum. Most digestion occurs in the first three compartments.

Bananas are high in sugar, and this fruit can be stored in the rumen after which digestion occurs mainly in the reticulum and omasum chambers. But it is the same reason you should give the fruit in a controlled amount; otherwise, it can lead to diarrhea.

The last stage of digestion takes place in the abomasum.

deer eating banana 18082022

Are bananas healthy for deer?

According to my friend who takes care of deer in the local zoo, bananas are pretty healthy for deer. The fruit is high in fiber, carbohydrates, and sugar.

Bananas are often given to deer bred in captivity to help them build robust immune systems. Bananas are also high in calcium which is necessary to help the creature build strong bones.

The only concern most caretakers have when it comes to bananas is that the fruit is high in sugar.

Hence, you must limit the number of bananas you give to a deer bred in captivity primarily because its movement is restricted. Otherwise, bananas are pretty healthy for deer.

Can you feed wild deer bananas by hand?

It would help if you didn’t try to feed wild deer anything by hand. You might have seen videos of people feeding wild deer fruits by hand, but these are trained individuals.

The first thing that you need to remember is that you will have to peel the banana before you can feed the deer.

Secondly, wild deer have unpredictable temperaments. Hence, you won’t know how they will behave when you try feeding them a banana. Therefore, you shouldn’t try feeding a wild deer banana by hand.

Can deer eat banana peel?

No, deer won’t eat banana peels due to their bitter and unsavory taste but it’s very possible that deer will eat banana peels that are ripe because they’re soft, easy to chew, and digestible.

If a deer cannot eat the banana peel, how can it eat bananas?

The best way to give bananas to deer is to peel the fruit and then give the flesh.

If you want to feed the deer herd visiting your backyard, it is a good idea to peel bananas and keep them in the backyard.

The visiting deer herd will love to snack on the fruit.

Do deer eat bananas directly from the trees?

Even though deer love bananas, the problem remains that they cannot eat banana peels. Hence, you will not find deer tearing fruit from the tree and consuming it in the wild. Instead, if a fully ripe fruit falls off the tree and comes out of the peel, it is a perfect snack for the deer.

Can deer eat banana leaves?

The banana plant leaves (Musa acuminate) are pretty waxy and not easily digestible. Therefore, deer are known to avoid the leaves of the banana plant.

You will find that deer usually prefer foliage that is easy to digest, like grasses, sedges, alfalfa grass, shoots of grass, and other similar foliage. But banana leaves are largely indigestible for deer and are known to avoid them.

Is there any precaution you need to take when giving bananas to deer?

Yes, you must be careful when giving bananas to deer. The commercially produced bananas may contain chemical pesticides that can harm the deer. Hence, you must ensure that the bananas you give are 100% organic.

Are deer attracted to bananas due to a lack of suitable sources of sustenance?

If you are thinking about wild deer, then the typical food of these animals is foliage. If they stray into your garden or backyard, it will be because of grass, plants, or other similar foliage.

For example, if you have banana plants in your backyard or garden, the deer might explore them out of curiosity and try to eat the fruit, but it won’t be the primary reason it will enter the garden.

A lack of a suitable source of sustenance can result in deer entering your garden and backyard, but the alternative to it will not be banana plants.

Can deer herds prove to be harmful to banana plantations?

A herd of deer can be pretty dangerous to a banana plantation. Indeed, deer cannot harm the adult trees, but they can eat the younger plants, especially the shoots of the newly planted banana plants.

We wrote an article about animals that like bananas which you can check out for more information.

Further reading:
News19 – Experimenting with Deer Resistant Plants in Gandy’s Garden

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