We all love parrots for their unique ability to talk, one of the coolest tricks an animal can do. But be careful what you say around them — parrots have a knack for picking up our words, even the naughty ones.
That’s the situation one British zoo is dealing with, as a group of foul-mouth parrots are scandalizing visitors. But now, they have a new plan to clean out their beaks.
The group of five African Grey parrots — Billy, Tyson, Eric, Jade and Elsie — live at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, and achieved viral notoriety in 2020 when staff and visitors noticed the birds had quite a colorful vocabulary.
“It just went ballistic, they were all swearing,” the zoo’s chief executive Steve Nichols told CNN Travel at the time. “We were a little concerned about the children.”
“I get called a fat t**t every time I walk past,” he added, noting that “f**k off” was another of the parrots’ favorite phrases.
The filthy-mouth parrots had all been donated from different owners, but developed a shared, naughty vocabulary while being kept together in quarantine. No doubt at least one of them picked up their language from their human owners.
The parrots were temporarily removed from display, as zoo staff were concerned about their language in front of children. But they later returned — this time with a cautionary disclaimer sign warning about their bad words — and the “infamous swearing parrots” became a favorite attraction among visitors.
Now, the zoo is attempting a risky strategy to reform the parrots’ bad language. The plan is to put the swearing parrots with a much larger group of polite, non-swearing parrots, hoping that they’ll adapt to the majority.
“We’ve put eight really, really offensive, swearing parrots with 92 non-swearing ones,” Nichols told CNN.
The other birds are more prone to imitating noises they hear, like the sound of a reversing truck, and staff hopes that assimilation into this larger flock will dilute the parrots’ bad language. But, there’s also a risk that the plan might backfire spectacularly, leaving them with a much bigger problem than before.
“We could end up with 100 swearing parrots on our hands,” Nichols told the BBC. “Only time will tell.”
Be careful what you say around parrots — you might just end up with one foul-mouthed bird! 🦜
What do you think of this idea? Do you think the parrots are going to clean up their act or is the zoo just going to end up with 100 cursing parrots? Share this story with your thoughts.