Parrot eating ants

Do Parrots Eat Ants? (How To Keep Them Out?)

Unlike other pets, parrots mostly stay indoors, so you never get to see their unselective nature when it comes to choosing food.

But in an odd situation, if an ant somehow makes its way to their cage, you will know that your parrot does not hesitate in gulping them down. 

If you’ve recently seen your parrot eat an ant, you may be worried and probably a little grossed out. But don’t worry, eating an ant does not cause any harm to your parrot.

Parrots will eat ants if they find them in their food. However, if there is a bunch of ants crawling around on their food, they will stay away from it.

In this article, we’ll discuss whether ants are harmful to parrots and the strategies to keep them out of your parrot’s cage.

Is It Safe For Parrots To Eat Ants?

Ants are not harmful to parrots if they choose to eat them. But of course, you wouldn’t want to let your pet bird eat a bunch of ants.

Normally, parrots wouldn’t go looking for ants in the house, but there is a high chance that their food bowl may attract some. 

If your parrot’s food bowl is surrounded by a swarm of ants, most likely they would not eat it, so you don’t need to worry about that.

However, if there are one or two ants that snuck into their food, your parrot may choose to eat them.

Being omnivores, parrots don’t mind having ants or other insects in their food as long as the food itself is fresh.

Does Eating Ants Have Any Nutritional Benefits For Parrots?

Most people would recoil at the thought of their pet parrot eating ants, and it is totally reasonable. We put too much effort into our parrot’s diet and hygiene, so it is right that they eat things that may possibly make them sick.

You might think that ants might not provide the right nutrients or may be harmful to them, but strangely enough, that is not the case here.

You need to realize that parrots are omnivores and eat a varied diet that includes much more than seeds and fruits. In the wild, they may eat anything that they find on the ground and the trees.

According to Healthline ants are high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are also good sources of minerals, such as zinc iron, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. You may also be surprised to know that ants are among the most commonly consumed insects around the world.

Are Ants Harmful To Parrots?

While ants might not be toxic to parrots, they may carry harmful bacteria which makes them unfit for eating.

According to Science Daily ants are quite often infected by parasites. They are used as hosts for parasites like tapeworms in their development stage. This not only makes ants disease carriers but also contributes to changes in their behavior.

This brings us to a more concerning issue with ants infestation in parrot cages. Ants commonly infest bird cages which can be problematic. Ants can get under the parrot’s feathers and bite on their skin causing itching and severe discomfort.

Certain species of ants such as fire ants can be especially dangerous. They are aggressive and venomous species of ants. Their stings can really hurt parrots and even cause blisters.

They can also infest nest boxes and kill young ones. Baby parrots are at high risk if you have an ant problem in your house. 

So, while eating ants may not hurt a parrot, an ant infestation in the cage can be a big issue, potentially threatening their safety and that of their offspring.

What Attracts Ants To Parrot Cages?

Ants are found virtually in every place, nook, and corner of the planet. And all of them unite for one reason – food. Food left out in your parrot’s cage is an open invitation to ants, particularly sugar. 

Nothing attracts ants quite like sugar. If you have been spoiling your bird with a little too many sugary snacks, chances are you have also summoned other creatures to the party.

Some people also say that nesting material in the cage or the smell of your parrot may also attract ants. But I have seen that most often it is the sugar that the ants are drawn to. So it is not a good idea to leave too much perishable food out for your parrot because most of the time, they themselves may not eat it.

Other parrot foods such as pellets, seeds, and grains do not attract ants. However, you should still clean their cage and not let any food items lying around.

How To Keep Ants Away From Your Bird’s Cage?

Ants infestation in homes is a real problem, especially in the summer. Ants are mostly inactive during winter and do not cause any problems. But as soon as the months get warmer, they start coming out to steal food from your parrot’s bowl.

Fortunately, there are many easy ways available to deter ants from getting to your parrot’s cage. And you don’t even need to spend a dime as these repellents can all be found in your homes. Let’s look at some of the ways you can keep ants away from your bird’s cage:

Use A Natural Ant Repeller

Ants usually crawl up to your parrot’s cage using the cage stands. If you block that entrance, there is no other entry point for them to get your parrot. There are a number of household items that you can use as ant repellers. I’ll list some of them here:

  • Peppermint
  • Black pepper
  • Essential oils
  • White vinegar
  • Cornstarch
  • Coffee grounds

All of the items I mentioned above are 100% safe for parrots, so you need not worry if your parrot accidentally ingests some of them.

You may use any type of natural ant repeller that I mentioned. Once you’ve got yours, make a circle around the cage or the four individual stands that the cage rests on. This way, even if the ants are lured by the smell, they have no actual way of getting to the food. You can also use it on specific areas of your house where the ant infestation is the largest.

Clean The Cage Regularly

Although you can keep ants away from the cage, maintaining their hygiene is still very important.  Ants are attracted to leftovers, so replacing your parrot’s dishes with clean ones every one or two days is good sense. This may be particularly important if you have an ant infestation in the house. 

Aside from discouraging ants, maintaining your parrot’s surroundings clean also keeps fungal and bacterial infections at bay. Parrots are susceptible to various types of bacteria and mites, which are often found in unclean households.

Dorson Joseph
Dorson Joseph

I'm Dorson, a bird enthusiast who's had a lifelong fascination for the avian world. I am a parent to my beloved Senegal parrot and budgie, which has deepened my love for avian creatures and taught me a lot over the years. I co-run a bird store and care center with my friends, where we work with experienced professionals to care for our flock. Now, I find great joy in sharing my knowledge with others, hoping to assist fellow bird keepers and enthusiasts in understanding birds and helping them live happy lives.

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