This is going to be a short, quick post (compared to my usual at least). Today I’m going to briefly bring up the topic of a species of parrot I had the pleasure (if you call getting hit with messy, projectile poop and having little needle-point beaks break your skin “pleasure”) of working with for a few years: Lories/Lorikeets.
I go on and on about how birds shouldn’t be bred, raised or kept as pets in captivity. I think, the very nature of these birds, describes my viewpoint from a more practical perspective.
To start with, Lories are a species native to Indonesia and that general area. Some of their species are also endangered due to human impact. However, many people still find them to be some of the most beautiful parrots in the world and, naturally, want to keep them. Sure, that’s what people do… see something pretty in nature and put it in their house as an ornament, right?
There are several reasons, however, that Lories are one of the worst parrots in the world to keep as pets. I’m even going to leave politics and the whole Animal Rights thing out of the picture for this. For the purposes of this argument, this is simple, common sense; I don’t need to appeal to people’s sense of ethics or right or wrong.
We’ll start with diet:
Lories, much like your standard humming birds, live off a diet that consists of nectar when in the wild. How many people have bowls of nectar just lying around their house? Anyone? Anyone at all?
If you live with a Lory, it also means you’re committed to buying a very special blend of powder that you mix into a nectar yourself. “Very special” is also synonymous with “expensive”. In addition to that, they need a constant supply of fresh produce; you can’t “cheat” by using dry food and pellets like you can with other species!
Digestion: I really should just say “poop” for this part. A sweet, sticky, wet substance goes in one end and a smelly, sticky wet substance comes out the other. Wonderful thought, isn’t it? They also have the added talent of being able to direct this at whatever surface they feel like redecorating… even an unfortunate caregiver just trying to clean up the mess!
Behavior: Of course every bird has their own personality, but Lories are generally rather feisty. This can be realllllly cute when you see them, but those little beaks can leave one hell of a mark when they get too… um…. anxious! Picture a person dragging a sewing needle through the street, into a bowl of honey, then letting a nice layer of dirt crust over the whole thing right before they stab you with it!
It may just have been my bad luck, but Lory bites are instant bacteria-magnets. My normally brave attitude of just letting it “bleed out” when a parrot used to bite me, crumbled as I scrambled for the peroxide when I worked with these guys!
It already takes a certain level of insanity to share your home with a parrot, but it takes a masochist to invite a Lory into your, once clean, home!
With all that said, I would be a disgrace if I didn’t mention this somewhere in this post. Required reading for anyone looking to live with a parrot would be Monica Engebretson’s children book, “Lucky the Lorikeet“.