If you own an exotic pet like an Iguana, then naturally you are going to have some questions about their diet. More specifically, what is safe for them to eat. But what about bananas? Is this something in which you can or even should feed? Are there any benefits in doing so? I decided to do some research. I’d like to share with you what I have found below.
So, can Iguanas eat bananas? Yes Iguanas can eat bananas, and their skins, in moderation. Iguanas are mostly herbivores, thriving on a diet of plant and vegetable matter mostly dark green leafy vegetable. However, they do well with some fruits within the diet (10-20%). As bananas are fibrous and also contain many vitamins and minerals – they can be a good addition to the diet. However, due to the sugar content they should not become a staple nor be included on a meal/daily basis.
An inadequate diet is the leading cause of health problems in iguanas. So, as an owner you are going to want to get this right.
Let us now take a closer look at this fruit alongside some other dietary considerations to ensure that your iguanas can live a happy, healthy and long life!
Iguanas And Bananas
Iguanas enjoy variety in their diets and fruit is one such way in which you can provide a nutritious treat. While bananas are mostly a human food, iguanas do well with them and when they are fed in moderation. The peel, which is mostly fibrous, can also be consumed.
If you do decide to feed the peel/skins to your iguanas, then it is best to source organic bananas. This will ensure that the skins do not contain any harmful residues, pesticides or herbicides which could otherwise harm your pet.
Nonetheless, bananas are rich in:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
Along with some other vitamins and minerals which will support the health of your iguana.
However, this does not mean that bananas should become a staple in your iguanas diet, but they can be offered from time to time.
Some great ways to incorporate bananas into your iguanas diet include blending it up with other vegetable matter, or feeding it to them slice by slice.
Like with any food source for your pet, it is best to consult with your vet ahead of time. This will enable you to learn and understand what is and what is not acceptable, and the kind of serving sizes you should be offering at any one time.
Moderation Is Key
Like with any fruit, moderation is key for iguanas. Fruits, generally, should not make up any more than 10-20% of their diet.
Even then, it is not a good idea to fill that up with just one fruit, or exclusively of banana for that matter.
While bananas are fibrous, and this is very important for iguanas to get, they do contain a lot of naturally occuring sugar.
Sugar is perfectly safe for iguanas in small quantities, but too much can be harmful. Excess weight and fat gain is possible, and sugar consumption can be a contributor.
One banana contains around 14 grams of sugar. That’s quite a lot of sugar compared to other fruits and vegetables that your iguana can consume.
It’s important to remember that too much of a good thing can become bad. So despite all of the nutrients in a banana, the sugar begins to outweigh the benefits.
You should monitor your iguana and make sure that they are reacting well to any fruit consumed. Ensure they are not displaying symptoms of allergic reaction or sickness following consumption.
Bananas should never become a regular substitute for your iguanas regular food but rather a treat for special occasions. To keep from having too many problems with bananas as a treat, try alternating it with other healthy treats.
What Foods Are Best For Iguanas?
Iguanas are mostly herbivores – whom do best with a diet of plants. In fact, they are actually primarily folivores (feeding on leaves).
Wild iguanas obtain their food and nutrition from leaves, trees, vines, and a small amount of fruits and flowers.
As an owner, it is your responsibility to try and replicate their wild diet in captivity. But, as you can imagine, we do not always have the exact foods available to us to offer.
There is some difference in opinion among veterinarians regarding of what should be included in an iguana diet. Some will recommended that they should only consume plant matter and a small quantity of fruit, whereas others are more open to recommend that the diet can also include some commercial/pelleted reptile food (5-10%).
Ultimately, as an owner you will need to make a decision here. Discussing your iguanas diet with your vet is always a good idea.
When it comes to offering plant material, the majority should consist of dark green leafy vegetables (80% of the overall diet).
The best vegetables to include in your iguanas diet, and should be consumed regularly include:
- Collard greens,
- Beet greens,
- Mustard greens,
- Turnip greens,
- Bok choy,
- Swiss chard,
- Bell peppers,
- Green beans.
You can also look to include a small amount of other yellow, red and orange vegetables. Some of the best ones here are:
- Cooked Sweet Potato
You will want to mostly avoid high water, nutrient and vitamin deficient light green vegetables. These include: iceberg and other lettuces and celery.
You should look to feed your iguana daily, but your pet will soon let you know if it is not often enough or too much.
You can offer your iguana vegetables that are either cooked or raw. However, feeding them raw is more beneficial as it will provide more nutrients. Just make sure to wash them thoroughly before providing them.
Foods To Avoid for Iguanas
It is important to note that not all vegetables are safe for iguanas. In fact, some are particularly dangerous.
The main ones to watch out for, and why, are:
- Cabbage, kale and mustard greens – these all contain a compound known as goitrogens; which when eaten in excess can lead to thyroid problems. Therefore only feed these sparingly.
- Swiss chard, spinach and beet greens – all of which contain oxalates that can prevent your iguana from absorbing the calcium and other vitamins/minerals they need. Feeding these in excess can result in nutrient deficiencies.
What Fruit Can Iguanas Eat?
10-20% of your iguanas diet can consist of fruits; and this is a nice way to offer variety, supplement their diet with additional vitamins/minerals and a way to offer a treat.
The best fruits to provide your iguana, alongside banana in moderation are:
*Those in bold are best to offer as they contain higher calcium and/or lower sugar.
Iguanas can eat bananas, in fact there are many benefits in doing so. Iguanas enjoy variety and there are many vitamins and minerals included.
When feeding bananas, you can look to include the skin/peels – as it contains a lot of fiber which iguanas need to obtain in their diet. Just make sure that you only feed organic peel to your iguana however.
With all this being said, bananas (and other fruits) should only make up 10-20% of your overall iguanas diet. They should be fed little and often. Monitor how your iguana responds to consumption. Never force feed a food they do not appear to like or do not appear to be responding well to.
Instead, iguanas do best with a diet almost exclusively of vegetable matter – mostly from dark green leafy vegetables.