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Your banana trees are bearing fruit hanging from stalks in bundles of cheerful yellowness. It’s okay to feel generous if you have a deer living near your home. Deer are browsers, meaning they eat various fruits, but do deer eat bananas? 

Deer eat bananas if they’re readily available and if the deer are particularly hungry. Bananas aren’t a deer’s first choice of fruit, but they will eat them if necessary. Also, deer have a big sweet tooth and are thus attracted to the sweetness of bananas and the high sugar content.

A banana is a rich source of fiber and potassium. Beyond that, the fruit lacks any nutrition that a deer would need. However, bananas are a portion of easy food for them to snack on because deer lack the upper incisor teeth that other animals use to eat more chewy foods.

Do Deer Eat Bananas?

Do deer eat these gorgeous, tasty bananas?
Do deer eat these gorgeous, tasty bananas?

Although bananas are not a natural part of a deer’s diet, they will still eat them because they are opportunistic feeders. Bananas are a perfect source of energy for deer, and they will often eat them when they are available or when other food sources are scarce.

Since bananas are a fruit that only grows on trees, deer cannot typically find them in the wild. Banana trees flourish in South and Central America and are often a great snack for the local deer population.

According to this notion, deer randomly coming across a banana tree or plantation may eat the fruit as a convenient food source. In other words, strictly speaking, sure, deer could eat bananas under specific conditions, but considering their typical dietary habits in the wild, it’s rare.

Deer are browsers, so when kept as pets, they should eat various leaves, nuts, and vegetation, but they may occasionally be fed bananas as a good treat. 

Are Bananas Good For Deer?

Scissor-tailed hummingbirds love feeding on the nectar of banana flowers!
Scissor-tailed hummingbirds love feeding on the nectar of banana flowers!

Bananas are incredibly nutrient-dense since they are rich in potassium and fiber, which your local deer require for a healthy diet. In Australia, overripe bananas, or bananas not suitable for retail sale, were sold to deer farmers as deer feed.

It’s interesting to note that deer potassium requirements change with the season. In the summer, deer need more potassium to help them shed their antlers. In the winter, they need potassium to help prevent frostbite on their hooves. 

Deer also need more fiber in their diet during the winter months because they cannot find as much fresh vegetation to provide their bodies’ fiber needs.

Deer should eat bananas in moderation as part of a well-rounded diet. Bananas are high in sugar, especially the overripe ones, and too much sugar can lead to health problems for deer. 

Deer don’t always enjoy eating bananas with the skin still on them. Even though the typical deer are unlikely to be picky about what they eat, it might be hard for them to digest the peel properly, irritating their intestines. 

Deer may feel satiated after eating banana peels. As a result, they’ll not be as eager to search for food elsewhere that genuinely offers the nutrition they require. 

If you want to prepare some bananas for your wild guests, removing the banana peels is a good idea as the peels don’t contain any useful nutrients for the deer. 

Do Deer Eat Banana Trees?

Do deer eat bananas? Yes, Deer enjoy eating banana flowers, as well as juicy leaves.
Deer enjoy eating banana flowers, as well as juicy leaves.

Banana trees are not deer-resistant but appear to be fairly deer-tolerant. Deer-tolerant plants are usually either too tough or too bitter for deer to enjoy. And banana trees tend to fall into the ‘tough’ category. It means deer will eat them if they are hungry but will not go looking for them. 

Deer will eat the leaves (they may leave the tougher center rib and eat the outer leaf only, as my sheep do!) and the bark on the banana tree. They will most likely prefer the fruit because of its sweetness. They will also eat the tree’s flowers. 

Can You Leave Bananas Out for Deer to Eat? 

You can leave bananas out for deer to eat, but it has a few drawbacks. Let’s explore some of them.

  • Bananas are not regular deer food. As we have established, bananas are not a natural part of a deer’s diet as their stomachs may not be able to digest them properly. 
  • They’ll depend more on humans. Deer are wild animals and should naturally source their food. If you start feeding them regularly, they will stop relying on the environment and begin to recognise humans as a source of food, which is not safe for the deer or humans.
  • Feeding wild deer could lead to unnaturally high densities of deer. Deer populations should be kept in check by predators and food availability. If you start feeding them, it can lead to higher densities of deer, which can cause diseases to spread quickly among animals, pets, or humans. 
  • Feeding deer could attract other predators. Feeding deer frequently could attract predators such as coyotes, mountain lions, or bears. These animals might then pose a threat to humans or pets that live nearby.

If the deer in your region are already reliant on human food, provide them with food items they would consume naturally (for instance, leaving leaves and nuts out for deer after a snowstorm covers the forest floor with snow and ice). 

Still, an occasional banana would not hurt them (and the deer would love it).

Do Banana Plants Grow Back If a Deer Eats Them?

Banana tree with a lovely bunch of fruit
Banana tree with a lovely bunch of fruit

Deer will eat the entire plant if they’re hungry enough. They will dig and root around, killing your plants. Deer rub their antlers on tree trunks, rubbing off all the bark and damaging the healthy trunk structure (seriously!) 

Deer will not discriminate – if it’s edible, they will most likely eat it. So, it’s unlikely that your banana plant will grow back if a deer completely destroys it. However, banana plants are incredibly resilient. They will produce new shoots from the base of the plant and will most likely continue to do so, even if the mother plant sustained significant damage.

If a deer only eats some leaves and flowers, your banana tree will be fine. Significant trunk damage, however, is a different matter. Still, new shoots will most likely pop up if the original plant was well-established.

Deer can bring about a lot of harm to your plants, so it’s essential to take steps to keep them away.

How to Stop Deer From Eating Your Banana Trees

Deer repellent hanging in a tree
Deer repellent hanging in a tree

If deer are eating your banana trees, there are a few things that you can do to try and stop them.

  • Fencing. One way to keep deer away from your banana trees is to build a fence around the area. Deer are good jumpers, so the fence must be at least eight feet tall.
  • Deer Repellents. You can also try using deer repellents to keep them away from your trees. You can make your own deer repellent or buy one like Hinder or Deer Stopper from a store. Some folks make deer repellents with eggs, garlic, or hot peppers.
  • Hazing. This is when you scare deer away by making loud noises or shining bright lights at them. Deer can be skittish, so a scarecrow, wind chime, bright lights, and a sprinkler can scare them away. Anything that moves or merely seems strange falls under this category as well.

Verdict: Are Bananas Deer Resistant?

Bananas are not deer resistant, but they are fairly deer tolerant. Deer will eat them, but only if they are hungry; they will not actively seek them out. 

Deer are herbivore animals – but at the same time, there are some things they will gladly turn their noses up at if available. Bananas are a sweet treat deer are never likely to pass up. 

So you can go ahead and give one (or a few) to the deer in your neighborhood, be sure not to overfeed them! 

Keep reading!

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