Kiwis as Pets: General Guidelines and Tips

By Janhvi Johorey, Psychologist specialized in animal therapy. May 14, 2017
Kiwis as Pets: General Guidelines and Tips

The Kiwi, a flightless bird native to New Zealand, is an avian species which is endangered and protected. Being a national symbol of the country, the Kiwi is New Zealand's “honorary mammal.” This AnimalWised article will study Kiwis as pets, in terms of general guidelines and tips. The crucial question which this article seeks to answer is whether Kiwis are home-birds or if they make good pets. Let's find out more about this bird and what makes it impossible to keep this animal as a pet in a modern, urban settings.

You may also be interested in: Possums as Pets: General Guidelines and Tips

The Flight of the Kiwi: Exodus of Endangered Birds

The Kiwi is a flightless bird native to the Land of the Long White Cloud, also known as New Zealand. Their name originates from the Maori language and replicates the male Kiwi's cry at the time of the mating season. With long beaks and small bodies, the Kiwi make for cute looking birds. But that does not make them the ideal candidate for a house pet

Amazing pet Kiwis belong to the Apterygidae family native to New Zealand. These birds lay eggs larger than their body size. This cute, endangered bird is friendly and there are give species namely:

  • The Little Spotted
  • The Greater Spotted
  • Okarito
  • North Island Brown Kiwis
  • Tokoeka Kiwis

If you are wondering about the guidelines and tips about keeping Kiwis as pets, the question you need to ask first is, can Kiwis be domesticated? According to expert estimates, the Kiwi is endangered due to habitat fragmentation and predators as well as unmitigated human development. Though sociable, these birds are nocturnal and largely wild. Keeping them in a cage is not right.

The Kiwi is an endangered animal, and conservation is the need of the hour, not imprisoning these bright birds in cages. Experts hold that the Kiwi is disappearing at the rate of 5.8% annually. This is alarming, as imported predators are the reason for this. Humans have ironically brought about the downfall of the Kiwi. Keeping endangered pets is not a wise idea, as the best place for them is a zoo, wildlife park or sanctuary.

Kiwis as Pets: General Guidelines and Tips - The Flight of the Kiwi: Exodus of Endangered Birds

Why Kiwis Do Not Make Good Pets

Unlike other pet birds, the Kiwi does not evince interest in human interaction. This isolated bird shies away from human contact. It does not talk or sing. Nor does it acquire tricks to entertain anyone. Kiwis are also an aggressive species when provoked and extremely territorial. They make for dangerous pets on account of their razor sharp claws and when they smell danger, they are likely to bite.

Another problem is that the Kiwi bird is nocturnal. It cannot be active during the daytime. Owners will, therefore, not be able to spend a lot of time with them. The Kiwi is a territorial bird that protects its area by chasing, kicking and biting intruders. The Kiwi also requires reversed lighting in its area of habitation on account of its nighttime habits.

Domestic Chickens? Not Quite!

Although the size of a domestic chicken, they are the smallest existing ratites. They weigh between 3 to 9 pounds. They can lie up to 20 years. With coarse, bristle-haired feathers, and a wing that is 2 inches long, this semi-nocturnal and secretive bird has a well developed smelling sense. Don't think the Kiwi makes for a peaceful pet. When provoked, it can attach its feet, kicking and slashing an enemy or predator.

Kiwis as Pets: General Guidelines and Tips - Domestic Chickens? Not Quite!

Kiwi habitat and conservation

Kiwi are rare and found in the forests of New Zealand. They are curious birds, though they cannot be trained by humans. Another critical factor influencing their survival is their habitat. They reside in native and scrub grasslands and live in native forests. They cannot survive in an urban jungle. Not so social with humans, these shy birds are extremely possessive about where they reside.

For more information on the subject, we advise you to take a look at our article: Where do Kiwis live? Habitat and distribution.

What to do if you find an injured Kiwi

Although your first impulse if you find an injured Kiwi may be to take it home and nurse it back to health, this is not the most wise decision. Make sure you follow these simple steps:

  1. Find the phone number for the area's Department of Conservation office to notify them of the sate of the Kiwi so it can receive proper treatment.
  2. If you need to handle the Kiwi, make sure you hold it with extreme care by handling its legs and lower body. As it will try to kick (and they do kick hard), get a tight grip on the area, but be careful! Even the slightest squeeze in the upper area of the body could kill a kiwi.
  3. Make sure the kiwi is in a quiet place, keep it in a dark area or big enough box, make sure it's warm enough until you can reach professional help.

If you want to read similar articles to Kiwis as Pets: General Guidelines and Tips, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

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1 comment
Strange article, considering it is illegal to keep a kiwi as a pet here in New Zealand, or even be in possession of one - dead or alive. You would never find one outside of NZ either, other than in a select few zoos.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi AJ,

This article is written because people have shown interest in keeping Kiwi as pets. In it we explain why it is a bad idea as well as what you should do if you end up coming across one in the wild (i.e. nothing, unless it is injured).

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