Last updated on September 3rd, 2022
While watching a video about elephants and their retirement parks and sanctuaries in places like Thailand, I came across several interesting pieces of information about the food habits of these pachyderms.
For example, it is common knowledge that elephants mainly survive on grass, shrubs, and twigs in the wild.
But in the sanctuaries, elephants are given fruits and vegetables as a part of their daily diet, but I was wondering, do elephants eat bananas?
Elephants do eat bananas as well as the fruit’s peels because the soft texture and sweet contents of ripe bananas make them easily digestible for elephants. Elephants in zoos or sanctuaries can be given 25 kilograms of bananas daily
They love to eat this sweet fruit, which is often given to elephants as a reward.
When elephants are bred in captivity, they suffer from stress and can behave erratically.
As a result, it becomes difficult to calm these giants down. So, the keepers sometimes offer bananas to soothe their nerves, reduce their stress, and calm them down.
Can elephants eat the entire banana?
Elephants have a robust digestive system, allowing them to digest the entire banana and its skin.
Elephants are non-ruminant herbivores. But their body uses symbiotic bacteria to break down the food and help them digest it.
Hence, if you were wondering, in the case of elephants living in sanctuaries or bred in captivity, you don’t need to peel the fruit.
Are banana peels healthy for elephants?
You do not need to give the banana peels separately to the elephants as these can taste quite bitter. But the peels are not poisonous or dangerous for the elephants.
Instead, the banana peels can provide the elephant with necessary nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
Furthermore, an elephant will eat wild bananas along with the skin in the wild.
Hence, peeling the banana is unnecessary when you are feeding an elephant in a zoo or a sanctuary; you can give the whole fruit to the creature.
How many bananas do elephants eat in a day?
It is difficult to estimate the number of bananas you need to give an elephant in a day.
However, if you want to, you first need to consider its size and the amount of exercise it gets in a day.
In the wild, elephants move nearly 8.9 miles to 15.5 miles in a day to search for food whereas zoo elephants move about 3.3 miles in a day.
Hence, to maintain their body weight, you will find that they keep eating throughout the day.
In captivity, movement is reduced, but they need 136 kilograms of food per day. Considering this, you can give a captive elephant nearly 25-30 kilograms of bananas daily.
Do elephants eat bananas in the wild?
In the wild, the regular food of elephants is grass, shrubs, twigs, and leaves of plants. However, they will eat bananas with absolute joy if they come across any.
Elephants can pull the fruit from its bunch with their trunks and eat it whole.
They are known to avoid banana flowers and raw bananas even if they are several ripe and sweet bananas in the bunch.
But in the wild, they will eat the bananas that are easily available, which are unlike the bananas that we get commercially.
Can baby elephants eat bananas?
Yes, baby elephants can be given bananas, but you need to check the number of bananas you give in a day.
Usually, baby elephants are pretty active and playful, and putting them on a diet high in sugar can be pretty stressful for the elephant keepers.
It can even stress the mother; hence, you need to check the number of bananas the baby elephant eats in a day.
Monitoring the banana consumption of the baby elephant gives it a chance to get used to the fruit before including it as a part of its daily diet.
Can bananas help in protecting fields from marauding elephants?
In a small village in India, banana fields have helped protect the farmer’s paddy fields.
They planted banana plants around their paddy fields to prevent the hungry elephants from entering the fields and reaching the granaries.
You will find that habitat loss has led the elephants to venture into paddy fields to satiate their hunger.
But when they come across the banana plants, their hunger is satiated by the fruits on the tree, leaving without harming the paddy fields.
Should bananas be included in the daily diet of elephants bred in captivity?
Elephants are the largest mammals living on land, and you must provide them with all the necessary nutrition when they are bred in captivity.
However, you also need to ensure that their hunger is satiated.
Keeping all of this in mind, zookeepers, especially people who take care of elephants, always include bananas in the daily diet of elephants.
This is because bananas are significantly high in calories, and a medium-sized banana has nearly one hundred and five calories.
Thus, giving elephants bananas and other fruits and vegetables will help keep the pachyderms satiated for extended periods.
Besides its calorie content, what other reasons should you give bananas to elephants?
Bananas are rich in carbohydrates which are essential for elephants to meet their energy requirements.
You might feel elephants don’t need much carbohydrates or protein; all you need to supply is fat.
However, elephants can move quickly and have high energy requirements. Bananas ensure they receive a steady supply of carbohydrates.
What other fruits are given to elephants that are bred in captivity?
When elephants are bred in captivity, it is essential to give them sweet food to keep them happy.
You can give them fruits like oranges, apples, watermelons, pineapples, pears, and tomatoes.
These fruits can help uplift an elephant’s mood and provide them with the necessary nutrients.
Fruits like apricots can even help give a boost to the protein intake of elephants that are bred in captivity.