In this article, we are going to talk about runner beans and guinea pigs. What are runner beans exactly? The name sounds a bit confusing, but we will clarify this in detail. We all know what regular beans are – the delicious and nutritious seeds we use for cooking. But, runner beans are a bit different. Ok, let’s start with describing the runner beans – they are purple beans packed in an elongated green pod. ‘Packed’ the same way as the peas! We can say that runner beans are edible for us humans, but what about our cute guinea pigs, can they eat them too? Let’s find out!
Can guinea pigs eat runner beans? No, guinea pigs cannot eat runner beans because this veggie is poisonous for them. It has been well researched that guinea pigs cannot eat the leaves, stem, shells, and beans of the runner beans. There are many other veggies which are safe foods for the guinea pig, and runner beans should be kept out of the reach from our guinea pigs.
So, runner beans are not good at all for the guinea pigs. Still, this doesn’t stop some owners to ask the vets if the guinea pig can have raw or even cooked runner beans, but the answer is simple: no for both options. However, there is some confusion about the leaves of runner beans. Some owners claim the leaves are not toxic for guinea pigs, but the safest option is just to forget runner beans when it comes to guinea pigs. It’s better to not risk it at all.
If you want to know more about why runner beans are dangerous for guinea pigs or some fun facts about them then keep reading the following sections.
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Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Runner Beans
If guinea pigs could eat the runner beans, they would benefit in several ways. The runner beans are not very caloric, which means they won’t affect the weight or change it rapidly. Also, they offer a small amount of carbs, proteins, and fibers for energy and good digestion. They are low in fat, and also they have vitamin C, which the guinea pigs desperately need. However, this food is forbidden for our furry friends, so these benefits don’t apply here.
Nutrition Facts of Runner Beans
For 3 oz (100 g) of runner beans, here are the nutrients:
- Low in calories – 30 calories. Runner beans are not fattening food at all. This may be good for us humans who are on a diet, but it doesn’t matter much for the guinea pigs.
- Low in carbs and protein – runner beans have a low amount of carbs, 3.2 g and protein too, 1.6g. These amounts are not a lot, but they are enough considering this is a veggie. So, a good amount of energy is received from such a small amount of runner beans.
- Fiber – 3.2 g. Not surprising, beans of all kinds have good amounts of fiber. The fibers are always needed in the daily, balanced diet, in order to improve and regulate the bowel movements. Fibers also improve digestion. Diarrhea happens due to excess fibers, and constipation due to lack of fibers. So a balanced amount of this nutrient is beneficial for gut health.
- Sugar – 2.8 g. This amount of sugar is quite high. Sugars are not well digested by guinea pigs, especially if consumed in excess. The excess of sugars causes gas, bloating, flatulence, pains, and cramps in the stomach of guinea pigs. So, this is another reason why your guinea pig should not eat runner beans.
- Vitamin C – 30%. It is good to know that runner beans have so much vitamin C in them. The vitamin C keeps the guinea pigs alive and healthy because it fights off the dangerous and fatal disease called scurvy. Sadly, the guinea pigs cannot benefit a lot here, because they cannot consume the runner beans.
- Low in fat – 0.4 g. Runner beans are definitely a healthy food, but for us not for the guinea pigs! With such a small amount of fat, cardiovascular health is not in danger.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Runner Beans to Guinea Pigs
- Painful digestion – the sugar content in runner beans is not at extreme levels, but it is enough to cause problems for bowel movements. Your guinea pig could experience having loose stool, cramps during digestion and overall upset stomach.
- Toxicity – the runner beans have been proven to be toxic (poisonous) for the guinea pigs. We mentioned how the leaves, beans, shells, and stem cannot be given to the cavy. These beans contain the protein called ‘phytohaemagglutinin’ which is toxic. With long cooking hours, this protein can be eliminated, but for guinea pigs, even the cooked option is still dangerous.
Even if the guinea pig wants to try the runner beans, simply move them out of sight and reach and never feed them to the cavy. Taste of these beans is not worth the possible fatal toxicity for your pet!
Quick Facts On Runner Beans
- Runner beans grow mainly from April to July.
- They come in a dwarf and climbing form.
- Runner beans are easily planted and grown at home.
- The botanical name of runner beans is ‘Phaseolus coccineus’.
- Other names for runner beans are ‘multiflora bean’, ‘butter bean’ and ‘scarlet bean’.
- The runner beans are not grown as food only, they are also cultivated as ornamental plants (for decoration).
- Runner beans originate from Central America.
- Flowers of runner beans are mainly red, but there some white flowers as well.
- Runner beans were widely cultivated as ornaments in 1978 in the USA.
- Hummingbirds love the flower of runner beans!
- Runner beans and their flowers are extremely popular in households in the UK.
- In Germany, these beans are also consumed dried.
Before I let you go, one final thought on food. With food, you can’t ever be too careful which is why I get all guinea pig food from a reliable source such as Amazon. If you are not sure what to order but believe your little piggies deserve some great treats please check our Helpful Guide to the Best Guinea Pig Treats to get some ideas. We have also made a full list of foods that guinea pigs can and can’t eat (150+ Types of Foods). Be sure to also check our recommended products page for everything you will ever need to assure a happy life for your Guinea Pigs. Hope this information was helpful and you have found the answer you were looking for.
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