Let’s say that it’s a natural behavioral trait for parrots to bite, and it hurts, especially on the feet. Well, they mostly attack the feet because that’s their go-to target. Your parrot could bite out of aggression or just instinctively.
Parrots aren’t very biased because they tend to bite their own feet too occasionally.
While there is no conclusive answer to why parrots attack our feet, we can look at some reasons why they bite at all. Perhaps these reasons may lead us to know why they attack our feet.
1. Parrots Are Like Babies
Just as a baby would put anything and everything in their mouth out of curiosity, parrots do the same thing. Parrots explore by biting, and if they are your feet, they are biting; they are plain curious.
2. Defense Mechanism
Parrots are afraid and timid, especially if they haven’t had the opportunity to explore optimally.
To them, our feet look unusual and weird. While being confused, your parrot may bite them not out of aggression but fear.
3. Parrots Are Playful
Parrots are playful birds and take joy in playtimes. While they play with you, they make use of their beak to be playful.
Your parrot may attack your feet because they may see them as a toy or a plaything. The biting occurs not out of fear or aggression but sheer playfulness.
But, you mustn’t encourage the habit but train them to differentiate between toys and feet.
All parrots are different in how active they could be. Some of the hyperactive species include Caiques, Amazons, Conures, and Cockatoos. If you have any of these, you must have noticed they can get super-excited while playing.
In the course of excitement, they can turn to irrational behavior as a result of over-stimulation. And if your bird is biting your feet, that’s because of the overwhelming excitement and joy.
Why Makes Parrots Bite Their Own Feet?
Parrots could bite their own feet as a result of an underlying emotional or medical condition.
Well, we now know parrots bite our feet out of fear, playfulness, curiosity, or excitement. But these reasons are nowhere close to why they bite their own feet.
Parrots could bite their feet due to a medical reason or if they have some viral, fungal, or bacterial infection. The irritation and inflammation an infection causes can urge the parrot to use their beak for relief.
There could also be other medical issues behind this biting behavior, such as Bumblefoot and Avian Herpes Virus. The latter is a contagious disease among birds leading to severe infection.
On the other hand, Bumblefoot is a bacterial infection that leads to the parrot’s feet getting sores. It is not contagious, and you can treat it quickly with sterilization and a proper diet.
Parrots can also bite their feet if they have conditions related to allergy, dermatitis, or arthritis.
Your parrot could be biting their feet if they are under stress, depression, or anxiety in terms of mental condition. Or perhaps they are frustrated and bored with monotony. In such situations, they can either pluck their feathers or bite themselves.
If you see a prolonged behavior with your parrot biting themselves, you may want to identify the cause. Do make a note to observe its living conditions, stimulation, and diet. If none of these are the triggers, you may want to seek the vet’s help for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
How Can I Keep My Parrot From Biting?
If your parrot reaches out for your feet now and then, you must control this behavior for the betterment of the parrot and yourself. It may not be out of aggression, but this habit can go from cute to painful in no time. Follow these practices to keep your parrot from nipping your feet, or any part for that matter.
- Keep your feet out of the parrot’s sight. If your parrot goes to biting mode only when it sees your feet, your job just got easier. Try as much not to show your feet.
If you have to come in close contact with the bird for playtime, you can wear socks to hide those toes. And when you have guests over, you may want to put the bird somewhere off the ground.
- Hiding your feet is not entirely controlling the behavior. Try distancing yourself to another location whenever your parrot exhibits undesirable behavior. They will see that you disapprove of the behavior, as with dogs.
Taking your attention away when they misbehave will lead them to act otherwise to gauge your attention.
- If you are raising a parrot from its baby days, you can teach good habits as you go along. You can prevent undesirable behaviors from a young age by engaging your little birdie with various other stimulations.
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The more they interact with different stimuli, the less fearful and anxious they will become as they get older. Help them explore with toys and activities to keep their mind off exploring our feet. And one day, they will see your feet as part of you and not a toy.
- If you think yelling will make them stop from biting, you are only encouraging the parrot because you are ‘reacting’ to their action. Reaction acts as reinforcement, hence ignore as mentioned above. Walk away when your parrot bites as a sign of indifference.
Q. Can parrots bite hard?
A. Oh yes, they can. Please don’t go by your parrot’s modest size because that beak is unexpectedly strong depending on its species. According to a study, a Macaw’s bite force is up to 700 pounds every square inch. The Moluccan Cockatoo is also one of the strongest parrots on earth. Your parrot may not be as strong, but it will still be able to give you a hard bite.
The bite-power of your parrot will depend on certain factors, such as their size, aggression level, and their beak size.
Q. What to do if your parrot bites you?
A. If your parrot bites you and gives you a nip, here are the steps you should take.
- Seek a medical professional’s help if the gash causes severe bleeding.
- Clean with water and soap and disinfect the wound to avoid infection. You can treat yourself at home if the bite is not very severe.
- Cover the wound with a bandage or a band-aid.
Your parrot attacking your feet can be a result of several reasons, as stated above. Whatever the reason may be, it is only wise to curb the behavior right away as this habit can be initially cute but end up being painful and annoying.