Pet Toucan Bird | Can You Have A Toucan As A Pet?

Many individual hobbyists vouch for the toucan, not being a bird to be considered as a pet.

Intro Video - Backtobirds
Intro Video - Backtobirds

Many pet toucan owners have narrated their experiences as bad and strongly vouched for a parrot instead. Simultaneously, many are all for toucans as a pet.  

Petting Toucan | Can You Have a Toucan as a Pet? 

Toucans make excellent pets provided they are given their special care, diet, and living space.

Additionally, you might need a legal license in some states, as not all allow you to keep toucans as a pet. 

Toucans are different from what most other pet birds require, and it is this fact that makes toucans challenging as pets. It also has an additional layer of legal requirements you don’t have with other pet birds.  

Is it Legal to Have a Toucan as a Pet? 

It is not legal to have a toucan as a pet everywhere. Each state and country have its law and regulations regarding it.

Some states and countries have legalized toucans as pets, while many others have declared it illegal. The reasons for this legal precaution are: 

  • Toucan is an exotic bird and is highly vulnerable to the exotic pet trade. They are also categorized as ‘threatened’ species. 
  • Toucans can easily carry foreign pathogens like invasive parasites and avian diseases that can transmit and make humans and local species sick and diseased. Toucans need a special ambiance, diet, and care different from other pet birds.  

Let’s find out the legal facts about a few important places: 

Are Toucans Legal in the U.S? 

About 13 countries and states in the U.S have made it illegal to keep the toucan as a pet. It includes states like Hawaii, Maine, Ohio, Oregon, etc.  

In the rest of the U.S., you need a legal license or permit to own this exotic bird as a pet. Hence, it is imperative that you check with local laws before considering toucans as pets. 

Pet Toucan Canada / Legal Regulations 

In Canada, toucans are listed as endangered species. But despite it, you can own them as pets legally after fulfilling the required procedure and regulations dictated by its various states.  

Pet Toucan UK / Legal Regulations  

Depending on the state, you might or might not need a legal permit or permission in the UK to keep a pet toucan. Another stipulation you need to adhere to is not to release the toucans into the wild once they are fully grown.  

How Much Money is a Toucan? 

A toucan costs around $10,000 if you buy it from a breeder in the U.S.  

This high cost is due to the fact that toucans are exotic birds. Moreover, keeping toucans as pets is also expensive since its staple diet is fresh and exotic fruits.

Moreover, it also needs a specialized bird veterinarian monitoring continually.  

Another fact to consider is that many toucans mate for life. Hence, you might need to buy two toucans to keep their social life active and normal.  

The permit to keep a pet toucan also brings an appreciable cost. Hence, keeping a toucan as a pet is not a pocket-friendly option.  

Where Can I Buy a Toucan? 

You can buy a pet toucan from an exotic pet store or from breeders who breed pet toucans.  

How to Get a Pet Toucan? How to Own a Toucan?

If you want to own a toucan, you would foremost need to find the legality in your area and state. If legal, you must first procure a permit to keep it as a pet.  

Once the permit is obtained, you need to ensure that you have adequate space as toucans need a large enclosure. A small space or a cage would not cut it.

An outdoor space is best, but its rooms must be ‘bird-proof,’ if kept indoors. It implies that the room should not have ceiling fans, tables, toilets, etc., as they pose a threat to the bird.  

You must be fully prepared to bear the cost of owning a toucan. You would need a daily supply of fresh tropical fruits, buy toys for them, and have a special consultant veterinary oversee their behavior and diet regularly.  

Moreover, you cannot leave them alone at any point. If you are going away for weekends or on holidays, you would need people specialized in taking care of a toucan as your replacement. 

Once you have these things in place, you can follow the process and buy a toucan. 

What Varieties of Toucans Are Good for Pets? 

Toucans are grouped into five distinct genera and further divided into 40 different species. The classification is based on their different characteristics of size, color, and natural habitat.  

The size of the toucan is an important consideration while keeping them as pets. Here, we talk about small and large toucans that are extremely popular as pets.  

The Emerald Toucanet 

Its small size and quiet and affectionate nature make it a popular toucan pet. They have a cuddly nature, just like a cockatoo, and are extremely fast in learning tricks.

They also interact well with their owners and love to be hand-fed by them.  

The Toco Toucan  

It is the largest and perhaps, the most popular pet toucan. It has a striking plumage and is mesmerizingly beautiful to look at.  

Pet Toucan Care/ How to Take Care of a Toucan?

Toucans are high-maintenance birds. They require plenty of attention and care at every stage of their life. Let’s walk through its various aspects.  


Even the smallest toucan is a large bird. Moreover, they require a large space to lead a normal life. A room cage would never work for them.  

Toucans should be best placed in a large enclosure that is outdoor and gives them access to plenty of sunshine and fresh air.

If placed indoors, they should be in a room that is made bird-proof. It should preferably be large. If it is somewhat small, the toucans should be let out of their enclosure every day for a couple of hours.  

Since most toucans mate throughout their life, you must ideally have a pair of toucans cohabiting.

The minimum recommended size of the enclosure should be 13x13x10 feet. It should also have perches or crossing sticks as toucans love to fly around and perch on branches.  


Toucans are omnivorous creatures. Still, they are primarily vegetarian. Toucans live primarily on fresh fruits, especially hydrating ones like banana, papaya, seedless apples, mango, melon, pear, etc. 

These fruits must be cut into small pieces before being served to the toucans. They do not like canned or frozen fruits, which should never be served to them.

However, you can add occasional supplements like rice, potatoes, cucumber, carrots, etc., to make their diet more nutritious.  

Toucans also need a small amount of animal protein that constitutes their omnivorous diet. In the wild and even in their enclosures, toucans hunt and feed on small insects and pests that they hunt themselves.  

You, too, can feed them occasional soft meatballs or ground beef. However, it should be in limited quantity.  

Another point to note is that toucans have a small stomach and a high metabolic rate. Hence, you must feed them frequently at short intervals. 

Toucans need plenty of water, and that should be available to them plenty, at all times.  

The diet of toucans is crucial as any abnormality in it can cause problems like gout in them. For the same reason, toucans should be under the constant monitoring of a veterinarian.

If required, diet adjustments must be made.  


Toucans are messy birds. They not only poop a lot but are also sloppy eaters. Thye love to throw food in the air and catch it with their beaks. However, they are not always successful. It creates a very dirty enclosure.  

Because toucans are highly vulnerable to parasites and diseases, the aviary must be cleaned meticulously every day.

Moreover, the regular household cleaning products would not cut it as their harsh chemicals would be toxic to toucans.  

The toucan’s living area must be cleaned daily using a veterinary-approved cleaner. It is best to clean the area when you let the toucans out of the enclosure.

It becomes a straightforward job as you can just hose the space.  


For toucans, exercise is a must, even in captivity. Hence, it is imperative that you take them out of the enclosure every day and allow them to fly for a couple of hours in the open.  

Socializing and Training  

Toucans are social animals and cannot live in solitary for long. Hence, you cannot leave them alone for long. If you are away from home for long hours, you need to arrange for someone to take care of them in your absence. 

While toucans are smart and intelligent, they are not easy to train as they primarily are exotic but wild birds. They have a very short attention span. 

Conditioning and training a toucan is an experimental process. While training them, you must have plenty of patience and must come up with new and innovative ideas as required.  

You must also have a constant supply of toys for the toucans as they adore handling stuff with their beaks and talons.

But they also tend to get bored fast and display it by exhibiting behaviors that are not likable. Hence, you must replace the old toys with new ones every few weeks.  

What’s a Toucan Lifespan?

Toucans have a long life span of 20 to 25 years on average. It also means that you need to take care of a toucan for an extended time. In captivity, life can extend a bit as well to one to two years.   

Are Toucans Hard to Take Care of?

Yes, toucans are indeed hard to take care of as they need specific care, diet, and ambiance to live happily as pets.  

Foremost, they are expensive to buy and require a legal permit. Then, it is highly expensive, time-consuming, and arduous to maintain them.  

Since they have a high life span, it implies a long-time commitment.  

Toucans are also loud by nature and can cause disturbance over time.  

They also do not thrive well in households with plenty of people and other pets.  

Given that, you should not consider keeping toucans as pets unless you have the resources and are prepared to give all that is required to keep this exotic bird as a pet.  

Wrapping up  

Regardless of a large-sized or a small toucan, keeping them as pets means a sizeable expenditure, continuous monitoring, and at least three to four hours daily for the next 20 to 25 years.

Hence, this amazing exotic bird needs serious consideration before being kept as a pet.