Animal nutritionists at Paignton Zoo in Devon say that giving bananas to the primates is similar to humans eating too much cake and chocolate. To all the people monkeys and bananas go like soldier and rifle but it is a redundant cliché nowadays. Amy Plowman, head of conservation and advocacy, said: “People usually try to improve their diet by eating more fruit – but fruit cultivated for humans is much higher in sugar and much lower in protein and fibre than most wild fruit because we like our fruit to be so sweet and juicy.
“Giving this fruit to animals is equivalent to giving them cake and chocolate.”
“Compared to the food they would eat in the wild, bananas are much more energy-dense – they have lots of calories – and contain much more sugar that’s bad for their teeth and can lead to diabetes and similar condition”
“It can also cause gastrointestinal problems as their stomachs are mostly adapted to eating fibrous foods with very low digestibility.”
Smaller monkeys such as tamarins and marmosets are highly-strung animals and live in tight-knit social groups which can be quite aggressive at times. Reducing the sugar in their diets has calmed them down and made their groups more settled.