Do Deer Eat Bananas?


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Whether you are looking at what you can feed the wild deer in your backyard or are simply concerned about the safety of the crops you’re growing, it makes sense to learn more about what deer like to eat. Deer have sweet teeth – they particularly love to munch on berries, apples, pears, and more. But, do deer like bananas, too?

Deer love bananas – and without the peel, they can be highly nutritious for them. However, that’s all well and good if you are trying to bring deer to your yard – when you want to protect your crops, you’re going to need to distract deer visitors from this delicious fruit.

Why are bananas good for deer? 

Bananas are highly nutritious – they are high in fiber and potassium, both of which your local deer are likely to need. In fact, deer potassium needs will actually vary from season to season, interestingly enough!

However, bananas are also very high in sugar, especially those that have been left to grow for some time. Therefore, they are not good to feed to deer on a regular basis – and you should also avoid feeding deer on dried bananas (which have an even higher sugar content). 

Also, bananas with peels left on them are not always great for deer to eat. While your average deer is unlikely to be picky about eating the peel, they may not be able to digest it efficiently. Deer digestive systems, for all they are, are not fickle and can be quite sensitive.

Banana peels can leave deer feeling full. Therefore, they may not be so willing to look for food elsewhere that actually contains the nutrition they need. Banana peels contain little that is useful for their diets – so it’s a good idea to peel them off completely if you want to prepare some for your wild visitors.

There’s a rife debate about how healthy banana peels are – but while they’re not toxic, they are still not great to feed deer on.

Should I feed bananas to deer?

There is certainly no harm in feeding deer bananas, however, as mentioned, it’s likely best served as an occasional treat. Bananas should be fed in moderation – and, where possible, you should only ever prepare 10-20% of the whole of the fruit for each serving. It’s also a good idea to mash up the bananas you serve, so that deer can easier eat and digest them over time.

Bananas don’t tend to be regular deer food as they aren’t found in their native forest habitats. Therefore, to avoid your local deer becoming dependent on your fruit, only leave this out as an occasional treat.

Instead, consider giving your local deer a more balanced diet. Healthy, plain nuts such as acorns, for example, are perfect if you’re considering attracting deer without baiting into your yard. There are likely to be local berries and weeds that deer in your area will happily chow down on if the mood takes them. However, keep in mind that it’s illegal to feed deer at all in some states, so read up on your local or federal laws before you set up a feeding station.

What fruits do deer like most? 

The deer’s favorite fruits are usually berries that they can find and forage close to ground level, or those that have fallen off nearby trees. They are also the most natural to their diets as they can be easily found in the wild. However, if you are growing your own berries, then it would be wise to cover them carefully so that local deer cannot get to them.

Consider growing deer-resistant plants such as ferns close to the edge of your yard or plants and trees that attract deer as far away from your berry crops and bushes as possible. This can work as a fantastic distraction technique, and it’s more humane than other deterrents available.

Other fruits that deer include citrus fruits, watermelons, apples, and – yes – deer eat oranges if you have them available, too. If a deer is hungry enough, it will rarely turn its snout up at some fresh, sweet fruit in its local habitat.

What wild animals eat bananas? 

If given much leeway, wild animals such as birds, raccoons, chipmunks, rabbits, and squirrels will all have a nibble at your banana plants. Therefore, it may be worthwhile giving your plants added protection instead of repelling all these potential visitors outright!

However, bananas also appeal to livestock – horses, in particular, have no trouble reaching into tall trees for fruit, and will happily get their fill before you’re able to move them away. Unfortunately, we can’t teach most animals not to eat specific crops – and that especially applies to hungry deer.

Deer are voracious beasts – but at the same time, there are a few things they will happily turn their noses up at. Bananas, however, are sugary snacks they are never likely to pass up.

About The Author
Robert has been an avid birdwatcher pretty much his entire life. Living in the suburbs he does his best to bring wild birds into his backyard. He currently has 13+ bird feeders in his yard and also raises and races homing pigeons. Robert writes part-time for Wild Yards, mostly about the subject he cares most about - birds.

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