toucans as pets

TOUCANS AS PET: Discovering the Wonder of Their Ownership

Image 1
Image 2
Image 3
Image 4
Image 5


Discover the bright world of toucans as pets, which are passerine birds from the Neotropics with eye-poppingly colorful plumage and spectacularly large bills. They have over forty species spread across six families, ranging in size from the little Lettered Aracari to the imposing Toco Toucan.

Toucan Information

Ranges from 5.6 to 32 oz
Toucans: 16-18 in; Toucanets: 15-17 in; Aracari: 14-16 in
Life Span
15-25 years
  • They are thick-set, short animals with rounded tails and stunningly colorful beaks that can grow to be more than half their body length.
  • Toucans, toucanets, and aracaris are resilient beings, with lifespans averaging 20 years and remarkable adaptability.
  • Their playful demeanor, intelligence, and curiosity make them exceptional companions, delighting in interaction and cuddles.
  • Unlike parrots, they’re quiet, gentle creatures, incapable of destructive behavior.
  • Toucans excel in learning tricks, rivaling even parrots in their repertoire.
  • However, they should be housed with caution due to their occasional pugnacious tendencies.
  • Remarkably weather-tolerant, they thrive in various climates, but require shade and misters in scorching temperatures.
  • Fruits form the core of their diet, with papayas, bananas, grapes, and blueberries being preferred choices.
  • Care must be taken to avoid high-acid fruits, which could disrupt their digestion.
  • Supplementing their diet with low-iron protein sources ensures their well-being, as they’re prone to iron storage disease.
  • With proper care, including a balanced diet and fresh water, toucans bring boundless joy and companionship, enriching the lives of their human counterparts with their playful antics and vibrant presence.

Basic Biology of Toucans

ColorMature birds exhibit a variety of color combinations including black, blue, white, yellow, red, green, orange, and brown. Immature birds are less bright.
SexingThere are no reliable external sex differences; sex can be determined through a genetic test on a drop of blood.
DietConsult your veterinarian and refer to the handout “Toucans and Toucanets – Feeding” for dietary recommendations.
BreedingSome species are bred in captivity.
Brood SizeTypically 2-4 white eggs hatch in 20-25 days, and young leave the nest in 6-8 weeks.
CagesMinimum size of 3 ft tall x 4 ft wide x 4 ft long (90 cm x 120 cm x 120 cm); larger cages are preferred for better space.
toucans as pets

Toucans as pets

We strongly advise researching toucans before making a pet purchase if you’re interested. Given their unusual nature, toucans demand particular consideration when it comes to their home, food, and relationships with other animals.

To learn more about toucans and what it takes to be a successful toucan owner, please read this page.

10 Reasons Why Toucans Make Superb Pet

Toucans Have a Simple DietToucans eat mostly fruits, with low-iron protein sources added for extra nutrition to maintain their health.
They Are Quiet (for a Bird)Toucans are silent and don’t make much noise, in contrast to many other bird species like parrots.
Their Bites Are SuperficialToucans bite superficially and are unable to execute powerful bites because of the anatomy of their bills.
Their Lifespan Is 20–25 YearsWhen given appropriate care, toucans can live for up to 25 years in captivity.
Toucans Are AffectionateAs loving companions, toucans relish engagement and cuddling with their keepers.
They Have Less Bird DanderToucans are a cleaner pet choice because they generate less bird dander than certain other bird species.
They Aren’t DestructiveUnlike other birds, toucans do not have a tendency to chew on objects or furniture.
They Aren’t EndangeredAs a species, toucans are not considered endangered, though individual species may have dangers in their own environments.
Their Droppings Are Easy to CleanWhen compared to certain other bird species, toucan droppings are rather easy to clean.
Toucans Are UniqueThe distinctive characteristics of toucans include their vibrant feathers, large beak, and lively disposition.
toucans as pets

Tips For Purchasing Toucans and Toucanets

Acquiring Toucans and Toucanets:

  • Toucans and toucanets can be obtained from pet stores or reputable breeders.
  • It’s advisable to choose a young bird for easier taming and training.
  • Hand-raised babies are often preferred as they are already socialized with humans.
  • Young birds are more adaptable to new environments and situations.

Early Socialization and Exposure:

  • Early exposure to various stimuli like people, pets, and car trips helps in developing a calm, well-adjusted pet.
  • A lively, alert bird that isn’t easily frightened is typically a sign of good health.

Veterinary Examination:

  • After acquiring your bird, it’s essential to have it examined by an avian veterinarian familiar with these species.

Toucans as pets :Considerations

Cost: Keeping a Toucan requires a large financial investment

Toucans are not inexpensive to buy, but the expense quickly adds up. Fresh fruit is a daily requirement for toucans, and as many of you know, fruit is not inexpensive! It’s perishable and goes bad quickly. The amount of food that a toucan consumes in a day will depend on its size.

  • A toucan’s mouth or beak size determines its feeding size.
  • Toucans are diurnal, rising and setting with the sun, and are active throughout the day.
  • They consume more food during the summer compared to other seasons due to increased activity.
  • Consider this seasonal variation in feeding when obtaining a toucan.

Veterinary Fees

Firstly, you should definitely think about finding a reputable avian exotic veterinarian before you consider getting a toucan. Although not required, it is preferred that the veterinarian be Board Certified. There are excellent avian veterinarians who are not board certified in the field. But it’s essential to have access to a veterinarian for birds.

  • Annual veterinary visits are necessary for your toucan, typically including a physical exam, diet review, bloodwork, and fecal smears.
  • Nail trimming can also be performed during these visits upon request.
  • These visits entail yearly costs, but you should also anticipate expenses for accidents and illnesses.
  • Pet insurance is recommended to help cover potential veterinary costs.


Toucans require large open areas. You are, after all, bringing a bird that soars across the jungle to a residence! A toucan need more space the larger it gets. Enclosures can be expensive, as you would guess, particularly if they are custom-built or constructed of stainless steel.

  • When selecting a cage for your toucan, consider purchasing the largest size that fits your budget, taking into account the bird’s size.
  • If you’re getting a larger toucan, ensure the cage has more vertical space than horizontal space.
  • Avoid using large parrot cages for giant toucans, as they could potentially injure themselves or damage their beak in the wrong type of cage.
toucans as pets

Investing Time

You should think about how much time a toucan will need before acquiring one. Numerous smaller toucans exhibit high levels of social behavior, desiring to spend as much time as possible with their owners.

  • Most toucans are playful and enjoy flying around the house, seeking out interesting objects to play with.
  • Food preparation for toucans, particularly chopping, peeling, and slicing fresh fruit daily, requires a significant amount of time.
  • Cleaning the toucan’s cage is a necessary task, albeit not a favorite for many owners, and it’s essential for maintaining a healthy environment.
  • Cage cleaning time varies based on the cage size and layout, and it often involves cleaning surrounding furniture, flooring, and walls due to toucans’ messy nature.
  • Keeping the cage clean is crucial for preventing illnesses and maintaining the toucan’s health and well-being.

Conduct Research

Even while toucans have been kept as pets for many years, social media is helping to increase their popularity. I created this blog mostly because there is SO little information available regarding the requirements and upkeep of companion toucans.

  • Despite increased availability of information, studies and general knowledge on toucan care remain severely inadequate.
  • If you’re contemplating getting a toucan as a pet, here are a few excellent places to start:


Are you a travel enthusiast? In such case, you’ll need to think about who will look after your toucan while you’re gone. I’ve heard terrifying tales of owners who leave their toucan with an inexperienced pet sitter while they go on vacation and suffer from terrible outcomes, including death.

  • When planning for your child’s care in case of your absence, consider options such as a friend, family member, vet, or pet sitter.
  • Ensure that whoever you choose is someone you can rely on and trust.
  • If you frequently travel, it’s especially important to plan ahead for your child’s care in your absence.

Perhaps you would like to travel with your toucan. Considerations:

What airline?Many airlines do not allow birds in the cabin area.
Traveling by carConsider if your toucan can handle traveling in a crate.
Personal ExperienceAfter months of training, some toucans may still dislike car rides and crates, finding them stressful.
Variability Among ToucansToucans differ in their response to car travel – while some may love it, others may find it stressful. It’s unpredictable until they experience it firsthand.

Although many toucan owners have traveled without incident, it is something to think about if you’re considering purchasing one. If you like to travel, take action before you purchase one. Do your homework one again!

toucans as pets

Other Pets

Do you own any birds or other pets? It’s hardly a given that your toucan will get along with your other pets. “Plan for the worst and hope for the best,” a buddy of mine once advised me. Leaving your toucan outside in the presence of other animals or birds might not be possible.

  • There is a chance that toucans won’t get along with other animals in the house.
  • Success stories exist, but there’s no guarantee of compatibility, so it’s crucial to consider this before adding a toucan to your household.
  • Rehoming a toucan due to unsatisfactory interactions with other animals is undesirable, so it’s wise to have a plan in place.
  • Stay hopeful for positive outcomes, but be prepared with a strategy in case the toucan’s integration with other animals doesn’t go as planned.

Are Toucans Messy

What do you think? Toucans excrete. A great deal. They feed around every 15 minutes and have a very quick metabolism, therefore their frequency of bowel movements is similar. When they eat, they also toss their fruit into the air; part of it ends up in their mouths and some doesn’t.

  • Cleaning toucan cages, especially indoors, can be challenging due to poop and fruit mess.
  • Regardless of where your toucan lives, daily cleaning is essential to maintain hygiene.
  • Toucans’ favorite fruits like blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries can stain clothes and furniture, so precautions are necessary.

Is Tough To Train Toucans?

Given their higher level of hyperactivity compared to parrots, toucans are more challenging to train to focus. I speak from experience when I say that even with my high level of patience and interest in the fundamentals of animal training,

it takes me far longer than I anticipated to achieve the desired outcomes. Although toucans are highly bright and capable of learning, your progress will be hampered by their short attention span.

toucans as pets

They Are Not Domesticated Animals, Toucans Will Not Act Like Them

  • Dogs and cats have been domesticated for centuries, bred to enhance their behavioral characteristics for human companionship.
  • Toucans retain a very wild spirit, often only a generation or two removed from their native counterparts.
  • Toucan behavior can be mystifying, baffling, or even annoying to owners.
  • During spring, toucans exhibit hormonal mating behaviors that can be challenging to manage.
  • There’s no manual on toucan behavior; owners must approach each day with scientific curiosity and patience, understanding that toucans were not designed for domestic life.

In Your Absence Few People Will Be able to Take Care Of Your Toucan

As I have stated many times before, daily caring for toucans takes a great deal of patience and time. Even for a week, very few people possess the skills necessary to compete in a toucan tournament. Be aware that most people you might want to pet-sit your toucan will probably be too hesitant, uninterested,

unavailable, or untrustworthy in some other way. Providing your toucan with fresh kibble once a day is not enough; you need a specific kind of person who can handle all aspects of their care while you are away. It will be quite hard to locate someone who is willing to work and available when you need them, so be prepared for that. A toucan is generally not for you if you take long vacations away from home or travel frequently.

Lack of UnderstandingFriends may not grasp toucan care demands, comparing it to dog ownership, leading to social sacrifices and criticism.
Persistent GuiltOwners often feel guilty about their toucans’ captivity, unable to provide ideal freedom and habitat, despite efforts.
Worries with Limited ResourcesLimited information and veterinary support on toucans cause uncertainties in care, nutrition, and health issues like Hemochromatosis, leading to ongoing concerns about proper care.

Bathing of Toucans Pet

It is ideal to provide toucans with a shallow, wide, sturdy dish for bathing. I also use distilled water in their bath bowls because toucans like to consume their bath water.

Noise Level

Different toucan species have different vocalizations. Some toucans make a high-pitched call, purr, click, and growl.

Can Toucans make good Pets?

Depending on your lifestyle and tolerance for mess, keeping toucans indoors can be manageable with daily cage cleaning and weekly mopping. Large finch-type indoor aviaries, around 6′ tall, 6′ wide, and at least 3′ deep, provide suitable space for toucans to move and fly short distances.

The wire spacing is crucial to prevent beak injuries, with 1″ x 1″ spacing being effective. Hand-raised toucans can be affectionate and loving pets, enjoying interactions such as perching on your arm, playing with grapes, and flying to you for attention.

toucans as pets

Toucan Species

Keel-billed ToucanColorful South American bird with large bill, found from Southern Mexico to Venezuela and Colombia. Lives in small flocks in lowland rainforests, mainly hopping. Measures 17-22 inches in length with a colorful, hollow bill, averaging 5-6 inches. Plumage is mainly black with a yellow neck and chest, blue feet, and red tail feathers.
Emerald ToucanetBreeds from Mexico to Peru, mainly green with blue eye patch. Adults are about 29 cm long, weighing 180 g, with distinctive bill pattern. Calls include loud rrip rrip rrip or a graval graval graval, possibly indicating gender differences. Popular as pets, affectionate and playful, requiring a large cage for hopping.
Toco ToucanLargest toucan species found in central and eastern South America. Mainly black plumage with white throat and chest, huge yellow-orange bill, measuring 55-65 cm in length, weighing 500-850 g. Known for deep, coarse croaking voice and distinctive bill.
Chestnut-mandibled ToucanBreeds from Honduras to Colombia, brightly marked with large bill. Males are 56 cm long, weighing 750 g, females smaller at 52 cm and 580 g. Appearance includes maroon hints, bright yellow face, and red lower abdomen. Playful and affectionate, easily trained, and live long lives with proper care.
Channel-billed ToucanBreeds in Trinidad and South America, marked with large bill and arboreal habits. Measures around 48 cm in length with a 9-14 cm bill. Feeds on fruits and small prey, call is a croaking cree-op cree-op.
White-throated ToucanFound throughout the Amazon in South America, similar to other toucans with huge bill. Measures 55-60 cm long, weighing 600 g, with distinctive call including a yelping eeoo, hue hue. Resembles Channel-billed Toucan but larger, with juveniles having duller plumage and shorter bills.


You intend to introduce a toucan into your life, then? A riot of color and a ton of personality are in store! A toucan in your house is like having a tropical paradise, thus they’re not your typical pets. The truth is, though: they require a lot of upkeep. Toucan ownership is not for the faint of heart, with their peculiar

diet (fresh fruit only, please!) and untidy habits. However, owning a toucan as a pet could be your ticket to a dynamic and unique friendship if you’re ready for an adventure and plenty of love and care. Just keep in mind that you’re in for a crazy trip, feathers and all.


  1. Are toucans good pets? The correct owners can have intriguing pets in toucans. They are brightly colored, lively, and perceptive birds, but they also need particular maintenance.
  2. What do toucans eat? Fresh fruits including papayas, bananas, grapes, and blueberries are the main foods consumed by toucans. To avoid iron storage disease, low-iron protein sources should be added to their diet.
  3. Are toucans noisy? Toucans are comparatively quieter than parrots. They have a range of vocalizations, such as rattles and croaks, however they are usually not as loud as certain kinds of parrots.
  4. Do toucans require a lot of space? To fit their busy lifestyle, toucans require large enclosures. To give them enough space to hop and fly, large indoor or outdoor aviaries are advised.
  5. Are toucans easy to train? Toucans are clever birds that can pick up tricks, but teaching them takes time and dedication. For toucans, positive reinforcement methods are most effective.
  6. Do toucans get along with other pets? Sometimes toucans and other pets don’t get along, especially if the introductions aren’t done correctly. It is imperative to closely monitor interactions between toucans and other species.
  7. How long do toucans live as pets? In captivity, toucans can live for 15 to 25 years if given the right environment, food, and care.
  8. Are toucans legal to own as pets? Depending on where you live, keeping a toucan as a pet may or may not be legal. Possession of exotic birds may be restricted in some places or require a permission.
  9. Do toucans require specialized veterinary care? Regular veterinarian examinations by experts in avian care are necessary for toucans. To be healthy, they might need to have certain blood tests and nutritional changes.
  10. What challenges should I expect when owning a toucan? The obstacles of owning a toucan include cleaning their cage on a daily basis, feeding them a healthy diet, and making sure they get adequate socialization and cerebral stimulation. Their messy eating habits and propensity for mischievous behavior should also be taken into account.

Similar Posts