When most Americans think of Toucans, they think of the lound-and-loudly-colored cartoon bid whose antics drive the narrative of the classic Fruit Loops commercials. Without Toucan Sam, it’s doubtful whether or not not people would pay much attention to these strange and interesting birds at all.
Native to Mexico and South and Central America, there are over forty different varieties of Toucan, all of which have colorful beaks and gentle personalities. However, they do not make great pets, as they’re also one of the most notoriously noisy birds in the jungle! Just like their animated counterparts, real-life Toucans are constantly hopping around (their wings are too short to make them adequate fliers) and make load sounds when they sleep that sound almost like a bullfrog’s croak.
Unfortunately, because Toucans can survive only in tropical or sub-tropical environments, many of these beautiful creatures are losing their homes, and their lives due to rainforest removal. Other Toucans are either killed for their beaks, which are sometimes sold as decorations, or enter into the illegal pet-trade, where they are highly valued due to their bright, attractive appearance.
What can you do to make sure Toucan Same and all of his friends don’t just become characters on a cereal box? Never get one for a pet — they aren’t well-suited to domestication — and make every effort to support rainforest conservation funds, especially in areas like Peru, where the Toucan’s natural habitat is in the most danger.
Sting’s Rainforest Foundation is a great organization, and provides plenty of information of why rainforests are important, both to the animals that live there and the people who care. By working towards keeping the earth’s rainforests intact, you can help ensure that Toucans, and hundreds of other unique tropical species, can continue to share the planet with humans, and their pets. Check out Eye Help Animals‘ campaign to save the Keel-Billed Toucan and do your part!