Whether your pet parrot is aggressive or not, chances are that at some point in time you are going to get bitten.
Because it’s natural bird behavior to bite.
Let me tell you – it hurts.
It especially hurts when it’s a sensitive spot like the toes or the feet and unfortunately for us, this is one of the parrot’s favorite spots to attack.
This makes me think why are parrots so attracted to our feet?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer for this question. The truth is, no one knows exactly why parrots are so preoccupied with our feet. Having said that, we can look at some common reasons as to why parrots bite in the first place to give us a better idea as to why they attack our toes.
In addition to attacking our feet, sometimes parrots will also attack their own feet.
In addition to learning about why parrots attack our feet, we’ll also discuss why they bite their own.
We’ll also learn exactly how strong a parrot’s bite can be, and what you can do to prevent or deter this type of behavior.
Let’s not waste another minute!
Table of Contents
Why do Parrots attack our feet?
As mentioned above, no one really has a definitive answer to this question.
We can, however, look at the different reasons as to why parrots bite to deduct some conclusions.
Why do parrots bite in the first place?
Because they are a baby
Like human babies, parrot babies love to explore the world and test new things.
How do human babies do this?
By putting everything and anything into their mouths.
Well, parrots are no different.
As babies, they are constantly exploring their new world and they use their beaks to do so.
If you have a baby parrot that is biting your feet, they might just be trying to figure out what they are – and if they are edible.
Because they are afraid
If your parrot hasn’t had a chance to explore their world as babies, they can sometimes become fearful of new things.
Because our feet look kind of weird, your parrot might not understand what they are.
If their response is a fearful one, they could end up attacking your feet.
Because they are playing
Parrots love to play, and like puppies, sometimes their play can end up with a little nip.
If your parrot thinks your feet look like a playtoy, you might find them suddenly attacking them.
In this case, it isn’t an act of aggression or fear – just playfulness.
If this is the case, it’s important to train your parrot that your feet are a part of you – they aren’t play toys.
Because they are overstimulated
Some species of parrot are much more active than others.
Amazons, Caiques, Cockatoos, and Conures are all considered very active species of parrots, and can become very excitable during playtime.
During their excitement, they can become overstimulated, which can lead them to think irrationally.
In return, they could end up biting you, or your feet.
If you have a parrot that loves to play and gets excited easily, they could just be nipping at your feet because they are overwhelmed with excitement for them.
Why do Parrots bite their own feet?
We now know some of the reasons why our parrot may be biting our feet, but is the same true when they are biting their own?
The answer is no.
If a parrot is biting at their own feet, it’s highly unlikely that it’s because they are excited or playful.
Rather, it may be due to an underlying medical or emotional condition.
More specifically, parrots may bite their feet if they have any type of bacterial, fungal, or viral infection.
Because these infections can cause inflammation, it can leave their feet feeling irritated, which in return can result in a biting behavior.
Other common medical reasons for feet biting include Avian Herpes Virus (a highly contagious bird disease that can lead to infection) and Bumblefoot.
Bumblefoot is a type of bacterial infection that can cause sores on the parrot’s feet.
Luckily, it’s not contagious, and it’s easily manageable through proper nutrition and sanitization.
Parrots may also bite their own feet if they have dermatitis, allergic reactions, or arthritis.
In terms of emotional causes, parrots are much like humans in the fact that they can suffer from psychological issues.
If your parrot gets stressed out, scared, depressed, or even bored, they may lash out by engaging in self destructive behaviors like feather plucking or feet chewing.
If your parrot is found biting their own feet on a regular basis, it’s important to see if there is anything that may be stressing them out.
Are they well stimulated?
Are they receiving all of the nutrition they need?
Is their environment sanitary?
If you can’t find any environmental stressors that could be causing the behavior, take them to the vet as soon as possible to diagnosis any underlying conditions that could be present.
How to Prevent Biting
If your parrot is attacking your feet, even if it is gently, it’s important that you curb the behavior as soon as possible.
Even if it is not a display of aggression, parrots can quickly develop behavioral patterns that can go from cute, to annoying, to “ouch that hurts” very quickly.
What can you do to prevent your parrot from biting?
Keep your feet out of sight
If biting isn’t a huge issue, and the only time your parrot attacks is when they see your feet, then it’s only logical that you should keep your feet out of your parrots line of vision.
If it’s your toes they like, wear socks if your parrot is on the floor.
If that doesn’t help, try a pair of slippers.
When guests are around, keep your parrot off the ground so that it isn’t tempted by their feet.
Move to a different location
While putting on a pair of slippers may help to prevent biting behaviors, it’s not actually training your parrot to stop biting.
If you want to train your parrot that his behavior is wrong, try moving to a different location anytime they bite.
Like dogs, parrots react to your emotional response.
If you take your attention away from them when they bite, they will quickly learn that if they want your attention, the biting will have to stop.
Introduce your parrot at a young age
If you have your parrot from the time it is a baby, you can prevent biting behaviors by introducing them to a variety of stimuli when they are young.
The more stimuli that they are exposed to, the less fearful they will be when they are older.
Let them explore (but not bite) your feet when your parrot is a baby, and it will grow to see them as feet, not play toys.
If you raise your voice in anger to your parrot, you are giving them a reaction.
In return, you are reinforcing their poor behavior.
Despite your temptation, don’t raise your voice.
Rather, just walk away.
How hard can a parrot bite?
Though parrots are small, they are also mighty.
If you have ever watched a parrot bite down on a Brazil nut, or break through a metal cage bar, then you already know that a parrot’s beak packs a lot of punch.
In fact, it’s estimated that the average Macaw can bite up to 500-700 pounds per square inch – that’s the same amount of power as a bite from a large dog.
Of course, not all parrots have the same strength as a Macaw, and bite power can depend on a variety of factors.
These can include the size of the bird, the beak structure, and the aggression level of the bird.
What should you do if you are bitten by a parrot?
If you are ever bitten or attacked by your parrot, there are certain things that you should do to lessen your risk of infection or complications:
Seek Medical attention
Though all parrot bites will be different, severe ones may need to be treated by a medical professional.
If your parrot didn’t break the skin, you probably won’t need to rush to a doctor.
If the bite has caused a severe amount of bleeding, professional attention may be required.
Cleanse and disinfect the wound
If your wound is small enough to deal with at home, you will want to make sure you cleanse and disinfect it well to minimize the risk of bacterial infection.
Clean your wound with soap and water first, and then follow up with a disinfectant like rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
Cover the wound
Once you have cleaned and disinfected your wound, cover it with a bandaid to block any bacteria from getting in.
Clean and redress your wound each day until it has healed.
If you notice that your parrot is attacking your feet, it could be for any numerous reasons.
This may be that they are afraid of your feet, or maybe they are excited by them.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to curb this behavior immediately as parrot bites can pack a lot of punch.
If you ever are bitten by your parrot, be sure to keep your wound clean, or head to a nearby hospital if it is serious.