Posted by: Murphy | 2004/10/03


I saw the thing last week about the parrot dying from insecticide and now I would like to know if those mosquito mat things you put on those plug-in heaters are really truly safe for parrots.

It says on the box that they are safe for pets but I am too scared to try them. They have a horrible sort of smell to me and I am sure they can't really be completely harmless.

I guess they are the same stuff as the mosquito coils you get, too?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Dear Murphy

I have no personal experience with these coils, but am always very wary of any volatile substances around parrots, as their respiratory systems are so sensitive. Personally I would never use them. Also as an aside - non stick coated cooking utensils and pans that overheat give off a gas (PTFE) that seems to be harmless to people, but kills parrots and other birds within a few hours, due to severe lung damage.

Yours truly
Dr Willemien van Wyk
Bird and exotic animal veterinarian

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Chill | 2004/10/10


I think you're being a bit over the top in saying that sunflower seed is 'poison' to birds. Of course they need a varied diet.

Also, give Murphy credit for some intelligence... he/she quite obviously figured out that it isn't wise to take risks, and that even things marked harmless may not be so.

Also, as a matter of interest... the canaries in mineshafts weren't 'sent down', they were carried around in cages, with the miners....

Finally, not all insecticides are poisons to humans and pets - one of the most common ones is entirely harmless to all but insexts.

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Lucia | 2004/10/05

Just want to explain about the mammals - I assume when they say pets they mean cats and dogs, etc and they do not specify birds.

Talking about false advertising - just to give you an idea of how bad it can be - I have come across a leading pet food manufacturer who distributes sunflower seeds (the plastic bag contains only sunflower seeds) and labels it
c o c k a t i e l food. Did you know that if you feed your bird only sunflower seeds you can kill it within a matter of weeks. The sunflower seeds contains such a hig amount of oil and their little livers cannot digest it. Many pet shops, etc do however warn you that you need to mix the sunflower seeds with other seeds but many just assume one knows what to do with the seed. Your local shop around the corner also does not realise that the sunflower seeds alone are poison for birds.

When it comes to birds - always ask a professional and never assume that because it is "claimed" to be save that it in actual fact is safe.

Reply to Lucia
Posted by: Lucia | 2004/10/05

Hi Murphy

First things first - they say pets and not birds - big differense between a mammal and a bird.

I don't think an absolutely safe pesticide exists (in whatever form). Mosquitos are killed by poison released via coils, matts, sprays, or whatever, they all contain very harmfull chemicals and should be used with extreme caution.

Birds are extremely vulnerable when it comes to air borne pesticides - if you really have to use them, remove the bird from the area totally (i.e the building - not just into another room).

Did you know that many years ago (when the mining industry took off) it was common practice to send a canary into a mine shaft to check for toxic gasses? It was quick and easy - they knew back then that birds were extremely sensitive to any toxic fumes and should the bird not return within minutes, the area was not safe to enter.

These poisons are bad for pets, humans and birds - the manufacturers may advertise "not harmful to pets" but explain to me then why are suppliers of exactly the same product in America not allowed to print this statement on their cans and packs - maybe because it is false advertising - maybe because it IS bad for pets and humans.

In any case, when it comes to birds - take no chances and use citronella if you have a really serious problem.

Reply to Lucia

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