In what originally began as a medieval torture method, it has become the favourable method of producing a quirky smile on the faces of infants and animals alike.
That’s right, today we’re talking about the tickles.
More specifically, whether or not our feathery little friends can be tickled, and whether or not they enjoy it.
To answer your question, however… Yes! Parrots can be tickled. Not only can your pet parrot be tickled, but chances are they actually enjoy being tickled. Whilst many birds will tickle each other, being tickled by humans can provide a relieving and exciting experience for them. Many breeds of birds can be tickled, and fortunately for us, parrots are one of those species who can appreciate a little feather-ruffling from time to time!
Today, I’m going to give you an inclusive, comprehensive guide to tickling and pet parrots.
I’m going to answer all the queries that have been burning on your mind with regard to the following:
Why do birds like to be tickled?
Why does the parrot breed like tickling?
What can I expect when I tickle my parrot?
What if my parrot is not ticklish?
Are there any dangers with tickling my parrot?
Let’s get started!
Why do parrots like to be tickled?
In order to understand why birds and parrots, in particular, like to be tickled, it may be useful for us to understand why humans like to be tickled.
Tickling is a strange sensation.
Some animals like to be tickled, others hate it.
Some people you may know could be tickled until they cry, and others could well be tickled for hours without even showing the slightest sign of cracking a grin.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably wondered before why some animals can cope so well being tickled, and others… can’t.
The reason why humans enjoy to be tickled endures many schools of thought.
One common belief is that tickles evolved as a defense mechanism in order to allow a species to protect vulnerable (and important) areas of the body.
The light and panic-inducing tickling feeling that something is crawling up your leg is known as knismesis.
This served as a defense mechanism in order to help our ancestors know whether or not there were small parasites on their skin.
The other type of tickling, gargalesis, is the pleasant kind.
The one that makes you laugh and crack a smile.
This is believed to be an evolutionary trait, in order to help humans (and all animals, parrots included), to bond with one another, and form tighter relationships.
Now I don’t want to scare you off with any biology geekiness… but let me explain some interesting reasons exactly why certain animals like to be tickled.
When we tickle our parrots, it stimulates a region if their brain known as the hypothalamus.
The hypothalamus is responsible for emotional reactions within the brain.
It guards the activity of the fight/flight system within the brain of our feathery friends.
So when we tickle our parrots, they may not respond with cackling and smiles out of pleasure, but simply releasing an automatic, hard-wired emotional response.
In fact, studies of humans being tickled even show that the body language if a person who is being tickled will often mimic someone who is in servers pain.
How do I tickle my parrot?
Ticking your parrot is simple, to get the most effective results, the best solution is to place the bird on its back, and begin to gently tick the belly area with your thumb and index finger.
Gently apply light pressure to the sides of the belly, and perhaps move your fingers around a little bit until it starts to crack a smile.
If it does, keep doing what you were doing before, and perhaps feel free to gently raise the intensity of the pressure to make it laugh.
What happens when I tickle my parrot?
After indulging in an extensive description about the physiological responses your pet bird will undergo when you attempt to tickle it.
You’re probably wondering, what exactly will happen. I mean, what physical response are you going to see from your parrot.
Well, if that is the case then you could well be in for a treat.
In order to truly understand what exactly happens to a parrot externally, when they’re being tickled, a quick search on YouTube will probably give the best description, (and it will likely give you a couple of laughs too!)
Generally speaking, however something not too dissimilar from the following is likely to happen.
The parrot will begin to kick its legs as it is being tickled, and slowly crack a cute grin, from then, it’s breathing will pick up in pace a little bit, and it’s grin will begin to widen.
At this stage, your parrot may turn its neck away from you, this doesn’t mean, however, that it isn’t enjoying being tickled, its a natural response from the biological process I outlined above.
A little note on individual parrots.
Whenever you decide to begin tickling your parrot, you must keep in mind: No two parrots are the same.
What’s crucially important for all aspects of life with a pet, is that you understand your own pet’s individual cues and its own nature.
You likely already do this with your parrot anyway.
For example, you know particular noises it may make when hungry, or the kind of body language it displays when it’s uncomfortable.
Small things like this are just things we pick up on after spending time with our own feathery friend.
Being able to understand that the process of providing a pleasant ticking experience to your parrot is one that may involve a little trial and error is crucial.
Getting your parrot to allow you to tickle it is more about fine tuning your strategy to match the comfort levels & individual personality if your bird.
Like almost every other pet type, the proximity that you can consistently display with your parrot is highly correlated with how comfortable it is with you.
So if you have had your parrot for years, it is likely that you will be able to get comfortable with it.
Whereas if your parrot is relatively new, there is a possibility it may take a bit of time to “warm up” to the idea of getting so close to its owner.
Fortunately, however, parrots are known within the bird species to be more open to physical contact, both from other birds and from its owners.
Even within the parrot breed, there are many examples of individual personality differences which may affect results when you attempt to build a relationship of close proximity, which of course, as we have discussed, is crucial to being able to tickle your parrot.
So like I already stated, understanding your own pet is key.
Notice little small cues.
For example, of it forms a stiff posture when you approach it, it is highly unlikely that it would appreciate a little tickle.
Does it turn away? Try to bite?
These are examples of body language that would clearly suggest the bird is not comfortable with you at this moment.
Sometimes, on the other hand, the bird may expose its neck to you, which is a good sign.
It may even bow its head and close its eyes.
An obvious and strong sign that the bird is comfortable with you.
Practice Tickling Your Parrot
Another important lesson you can take away from this article is this: Practice, Practice all the time, if your bird shows some of the signs of discomfort I have outlined above, then all you need to do is take small steps to become closer to the parrot.
Even just holding the parrot in your hands is an excellent way to become more comfortable together.
If you do come to realize, however, that your bird is just not the cuddly type.
That’s just something that we have to accept.
Not all is bad however, it just means that you might have to stick to admiring your bird from afar, rather than within tight proximity.
I know it may be frustrating, but at the end of the day, it’s about making sure our parrot is comfortable.
In conclusion then, today I’ve outlined some of the fascinating reasons why tickling makes us laugh (or nervous!), the reactions that animals go through when they are tickled, and a guide as to how you can not just begin tickling your bird, but how you can build a deeper relationship of communication, and close proximity.
Thank you guys for reading, and I hope to see you again soon.