Home | General Bird Care | Diagnosis and Treatment of Ailments Afflicting Parrots, Canaries, Finches, Mynas and other Cage and Aviary Birds – Part 2

Diagnosis and Treatment of Ailments Afflicting Parrots, Canaries, Finches, Mynas and other Cage and Aviary Birds – Part 2

Click here to read the first part of this article.

Foot Ailments

Bumblefoot (swollen toe joints)

Bacterial infections (often Staphylococcus) take hold in small wounds on the feet (received from splinters, glass, frostbite, etc.) especially if droppings have been allowed to accumulate.

Prompt antibiotic treatment is necessary if surgery is to be avoided; if left untreated, gangrene will set in, resulting in loss of the foot.

Calluses (thick, hard pads on bottom of feet)

Can result from perching on perches that are too hard, or that do not vary in width.

Be sure main (roosting) perch is of a width that allows toes to extend ¾ of the way around. Other perches should be of varying widths and materials; including A & E Rope and Cable Perches and similar perches allow the bird to choose a soft surface on occasion. Concrete perches should not be used as main perch but rather only as accessory perches, i.e. near the food bowl (and not at all if calluses are present).

Feather Ailments

French Moult (damaged feathers, loss of flight and tail feathers, bleeding)

Caused by a viral infection (Polyomavirus), French moult usually afflicts young parrots. It is rarely fatal but bird may be unable to fly thereafter.

There is no known treatment; recovered birds may still harbor the virus and thus should not be bred.

Feather Cysts (small lumps on the feathers)

Most common in canaries, this condition is genetic and the result of inbreeding.

Incurable; care should be taken to avoid breeding related birds or related lined of birds to each other.

Respiratory Ailments

Tracheal Mites and Gape Worm (wheezing, difficulty breathing, gaping, coughing, voice change/loss)

The parasites responsible for these conditions may be spread by other birds (in the case of mites) or through foods, such as earthworms, that may harbor gape worms.

Ivermectin and other anti-parasite medications are effective treatments. Infected birds should be isolated from others.

Psittacosis (fluid dripping from nostrils, breathing difficulty, exhaustion, inflamed eyes, sometimes accompanied by diarrhea)

This bacterial (Clamydia) disease is readily transmittable to people and can be fatal.

Contact your family doctor and veterinarian immediately.

Digestive Ailments

Salmonella Infection (huddled posture, diarrhea, stained vent feathers, lethargy)

This bacterium can be spread by roaches, rodents, wild birds, infected pet birds and seed contaminated with rodent droppings, and is most common among birds kept in unclean and crowded situations.

Salmonella is readily transmitted to people, and may be fatal to very young, elderly or immune-compromised individuals. Veterinarian-administered antibiotic treatments are often effective.

Candidiasis (mouth open and tongue extended; white fungus may appear along inner surfaces of the bill)

This fungal disease usually occurs in the presence of Vitamin A deficiencies, and is most commonly seen in nectar feeding birds (lories, hummingbirds, sunbirds).

Antibiotics and Vitamin A supplements are usually effective.

Reproductive System Ailments

Egg Binding (swelling about vent, straining, labored breathing, sitting on floor, puffed feathers)

The inability of a female bird to pass an egg is usually the result of a calcium deficiency.

Although lubricants applied to the cloaca (vent) sometimes help, veterinary intervention is usually required. A well-balanced diet that includes the correct amounts of calcium and other minerals is particularly important for females of all species.

Cloacal Warts or Papillomas (small, hard growths on and about the cloaca, or vent)
Cloacal warts are most commonly seen in South American parrots, particularly Amazons and macaws. They may constrict the cloaca, causing constipation and preventing the bird from breeding.

Silver nitrate (bathing the affected area) cures the condition, but afflicted birds should not be allowed to breed until they have been wart-free for at least 1 year.

Information concerning commonly encountered ailments (parakeets and related species) is posted at:



  1. avatar

    I have a pet cockateil ,recently I noticed it has some kind of growth on its wing elbow .I was wondering what it might be ?, and what I can do to cure it?

  2. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    Unfortunately, it’s not possible to determine what is causing the growth based on a description. It could be something minor, such as an ingrown feather shaft, scab from an injury or a harmless cyst or a tumor or other more serious matter.

    I suggest you take the bird to a veterinarian…if a physical exam does not reveal the cause, there are a number of diagnostic tests that can be performed. The chances are that the problem will be easy to address, but it is best to have the bird examined as soon as possible.

    Good luck and best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  3. avatar

    I am attempting to resolve an ongoing problem with my amazon. He is quite old…at least 35, probably older as he was a lost and found and developed cataracts a few years ago. If I knew he was only 35 I would be more willing to invest in a veterinarian but if he is elderly, no so much.

    I have been searching the web for information on the use of Avelox/Moxifloxacin HCL for birds.
    I have confirmation that it is good for respiratory problems in humans.
    I have some of this drug.

    Is it safe to give a parrot??
    What dose?

    Here is some of his history and ailments…

    Months ago he was not looking well so we moved him to a warmer spot in the house and kept him more in his cage. He began to rub his beak and eyes a lot and gunk began to collect around his eyes and sometimes in his nostrils, sometimes so ‘snot bubbles’.
    He now has very few of the small feathers around his eyes, and occasionally still has a drippy nostrils and watery eyes. As per conversation with a vet I started him on a penicillin, which she said would not help but could not hurt. It seemed to help after 8days of meds, but his condition recurred. We gave him pet store anti biotics, again, some improvements, then relapse. We have him again on novamoxin in his cage with temps at 85-90’C, and humidity at 55%. He is holding his own, but decreased appetite, swollen, watery eyes, drippy nose, occasional sneezing, and a slight change in his personality as he is less friendly and seems confused. (we have no other birds)

    I have been searching the web for information on the use of Avelox/Moxifloxacin HCL for birds.
    I have confirmation that it is good for respiratory problems in humans.
    I have some of this drug. Is it safe to give a parrot.

  4. avatar

    Hello Elly, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    It would not be safe to give Moxifloxacin to your parrot.

    A bird that has been harboring an infection for as long as you describe is in need of veterinary care. I imagine that yours may not be very old (Amazons have, in some cases, lived into their 80’s) given the fact that it has been survived for several months with a respiratory infection…an elderly bird certainly would have succumbed by this point.

    Avian medicine has advanced greatly in recent years, and the condition you describe is treatable. However, the bird will not recover on its own or with over-the -counter meds, and recovery will be less likely if the bird goes without appropriate medication for much longer. Without veterinary intervention, the infection will certainly worsen and the bird will die.

    Please let me know if you need assistance in locating a veterinarian in your area

    Good luck, Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  5. avatar

    obviously I meant 85-90’F not C…ouch

  6. avatar

    Hello Frank,
    Thanks for your quick response.
    With that bit of encouragement concerning his age and resilience I will seek vets’ assistance…thanks.

    I thought his cataracts were a sign he was old???

    Yes, if you could recommend vets best for birds I would appreciate it.
    I know of one, but she charges double to see a bird than a cat?
    So any and all advice would be good and I’ll check around then for the best price…
    Windsor, Essex County area (Ontario, Canada, near Detroit, south of Toronto)

  7. avatar

    Thanks…yes, I assumed so.

    That is a good temperature range for an ailing bird, but please note that heat alone will not affect a cure. The bacteria or virus that is causing the problem must be identified, so that a medication to which it is sensitive can be prescribed.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  8. avatar

    Hello Elly, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your feedback, glad to hear your decision.

    Cataracts may or may not indicate old age, as they can arise from a variety of causes…a number of eye opacities other than cataracts are also known to occur in birds. Unless vision is such that the bird cannot move about and feed, afflicted birds usually get along quite well.

    The vet may not be well-experienced with birds if she is charging so much more just for an evaluation.

    I have one vet in Nepean, Ontario on my contact list – her name was supplied by a vet here in N Y some time ago, I believe, but I do not have any direct experience with her:
    Robin Roscoe

    A list of Canadian vets specializing in birds is maintained at http://www.parrotscanada.com.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  9. avatar

    Thank you for the advice Frank.
    I will check out the web site. Unfortunately, Nepean, Ontario is near Ottawa, about 8 hours NE of us.
    Again, thank you for being there, thanks for the information and the advice. You have been understanding and quick to respond!
    God Bless!

  10. avatar

    Hello Elly, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks so much for your kind words, much appreciated.

    You might try calling the vet in Nepean for a reference if the parrotscanada list does not prove useful…. Avian medicine is a relatively specialized practice; those involved often know of colleagues in other regions.

    I neglected to mention – the bird departments of many zoos keep a list of local specialists on hand. Also, wildlife rehabilitators always have connections with avian vets – you might be able to find one through a local or national association of wildlife rehabilitators.

    I hope all works out well, best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  11. avatar

    I have a 9 year old male canary . For 8 years he has been very fit and able . last year after his moult he seemed to develop a couple of malformed flight feathers , and they only grew about 15 mm long and stood out at right angles to his wing . He was disturbed by these and pulled them out . they returned to grow in the same malformed condition . now i notice his main flight feathers seem to be opening up and in poor condition as if he has been mauling them and they look in poor condition. he has been fed liquis vitamins during his moult this past year but there seems no improvement . Does he now have French Moult ? advice would be appreciated .

  12. avatar

    Hello Ted, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    French Molt is a tricky disease, and the term is sometimes applied to a number of different afflictions. The true, viral form is usually limited to budgerigars and, to a lesser extent, other parrots. It can occur in canaries, but does so almost exclusively in very young birds…some Veterinarians believe that it cannot be transmitted to adult birds.

    A number of factors can lead to the condition you describe…unfortunately, removing them (as your bird did) is really the only thing that you can try at home. Since they grew back poorly, you’ll need to have the bird seen by a veterinarian in order to determine the cause. Vitamins and a nutritious diet, as you mentioned, are important in encouraging a normal moult, but will not reverse the problem your bird is having.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  13. avatar

    Hi Frank, I have a gouldian hen with a chick a few days old and she seems to be drinking much more than usual and I don’t know if this is normal. Could this be a problem?

  14. avatar

    Hello Sharon, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. If she is otherwise behaving normally I wouldn’t worry – rearing a chick takes a great deal out of the hen, and they typically eat and sometimes drink more than at other times. Depending on where you’re located, weather and temperature could be a factor also. Here in s. NY it’s very hot and dry – even well-adapted native birds flock to the birdbath as soon as I fill it.

    Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  15. avatar

    Hi Frank, Sharon here.
    Just to let you know my thirsty hen is doing fine 🙂 she is back to normal now and her chick (or chicks) is nearly ready to jump out of the nest. I have a strange question nothing to do with my hen. Do birds see at night? My birds are getting scared and flying at night and I have to switch on the light quickly to calm them down (I;m a light sleeper and my aviary is next door to my bedroom). I have a mixed colony and usually the same bird is involved, he is a star finch and whereas all the other birds will be in a panic by the time I switch on the light, he just calmly hops onto a millet spray and starts eating. I can catch him and put him in a cage but I would like to understand what is going on. Any ideas please?

  16. avatar

    Hello Sharon, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog and the update.

    It’s fairly common for one bird to be especially sensitive to disturbances at night. Finches and other diurnal birds do not see well at night, and are vulnerable to predators at that time. In outdoor aviaries injuries and deaths sometimes occur when they fly blindly from their roosts. It may be in response to a noise, a cat or other predator near a window, car headlights, etc., but hard to say for sure; I’ve monitored outdoor zoo exhibits where injuries occurred, but of course on nights when I stayed up the birds usually slept soundly!

    Good luck and please let me know if you figure it out,

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio

  17. avatar

    I have a 14 year old lesser sulphur crested cockatoo. She is very healthy and has a healthy appetite. In the past week or so I have noticed that one of her toes is slightly swollen. It does not look deformed, just larger than normal. It does not seem to bother her at all, she jumps and runs around like normal. When I touch it she does not seem to be in any pain. I was wondering what could be causing the swelling and if I should take her to the vet.

  18. avatar

    Hello Elanor, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. I would have a vet look at it even though pain does not seem present…the tendons there are well-developed and run right up the legs (help “lock” feet onto perches at night); if injured due to trauma it may not heal without attention as the toe is under constant pressure.

    A serious problem could also arise if perhaps something worked it’s way under the skin and is causing the swelling; an infection could set in and then quickly become dangerous; other possibilities as well so best to nip in the bud.

    Good luck and please keep me posted; it is very useful to hear back from folks after diagnosis treatment, thanks,

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  19. avatar

    My female parakeet allowed the male parakeet to pull out lots of feathers above her cere. The bare skin looks red there.

  20. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. Unfortunately aggression is not uncommon if both birds are not in sync, as to mating readiness; males may injure females that are too young to mate or are not in breeding condition. Small cages add to the problem.

    Best to separate the birds for a few weeks and try a slow re-introduction. If the males hormones subside or the female shows interest in mating, they will likely get along. Position the cages near one another and watch their reactions before allowing them into the same cage.

    Antibiotic cream can be used for broken skin/cuts, but best to ask your vet for advice before applying.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  21. avatar

    Can I give my bird penazilin

  22. avatar

    Hello Jorge, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest. There are a wide variety of factors that must be considered before medicating a bird – species, ailment, best medication, dosage and so on. Only an experienced veterinarian can make such decisions. Please let me know if you need assistance in locating an avian veterinarian.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  23. avatar

    Hello Frank,

    I have a pair of cockatiels and they seem to be fine healthwise but they don’t seem to like each other very much. The female is a little terror, takes over the snacks, toys, mirrors etc and only after she finishes with them does she “allow” the poor male to access them. He has a few semi-bald spots at the back of his head and I don’t know if she has pecked him or if it is something else. She doesn’t attack him or anything, but if he stands in her way she will chase him away. Their cage is large and every day I open it up so that they can get out and exercise their wings, but only the female gets out (even perches on my shoulder) while he rarely gets out and then stays put on the top of the cage. Am I doing something wrong?
    Kind regards,
    Jean (from Athens, Greece)

  24. avatar

    Hello Jean, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest. Cockatiels can be very choosy…in the wild, they select mates from among a great many flock members, and there are definite individual preferences. Pairs often get along in captivity as they are social animals and need company, but those that bond to people, as with your female, may reject others of their kind.

    An older bird of any sex may also dominate the other…this may change as the male matures. Hormonal surges can also be a factor…i.e. if one is ready to breed ad the other is not.

    Sometimes removing the dominant animal to another cage for a few weeks allows the other to establish the main cage as its territory, and changes the situation…however this is not certain.

    The situation may change in time if age/hormones are involved. Keep an eye on the male to be sure he is eating and all, and is not being attacked. If the bald spots worsen, you may need to consider splitting them up – broken skin can become infected. Feather loss can be due to stress as well, but most likely you’re seeing the results of an occasional fight.

    Sorry I could not provide a simple solution, but like all parrots they are quite complex creatures in terms of social behavior….adds to their interest, but also complicates their care at times.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  25. avatar

    Thank you very much, Frank, I’ll keep you posted.
    The second cage solution could be a problem though, because their current cage is like the Taj Mahal and my apartment is not that big to accommodate yet another bird-home (smile).
    We’ll see, one step at a time…


  26. avatar

    Hello Jean, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the feedback. A large cage is always best. It sometimes helps to make the space more “complex” – extra perches, ladders and, especially, things to occupy the birds. Fruit tree branches with bark, buds or leaves, taken from pesticide free areas, are very useful in helping to dissipate aggression, energy. These birds are constantly on the go in the wild, it takes a lot to keep them “entertained” in captivity.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  27. avatar

    Hi Frank.
    What you suggest about the branches I’ve already done with a natural branch from an olive tree, but it isn’t fresh. I actually put it in their cage to give them the different diameter of perch to rest their feet from perching on the same size perches day in day out. I also have pesticide free trees on my balcony but they are lemon and mandarin trees (citrus). Are they allowed to eat the bark and leaves from those? As for the multitude of toys, they had 2 mirrors in the cage, but the female wouldn’t let him use any one of them, so now they have 4 and she cannot police them all! But they are adorable…!

    Jean 🙂

  28. avatar

    Hello Jean, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Lemon, mandarin and other citrus branches are fine. They may strip bark, leaves etc., some will consume or at least destroy buds. Citrus trees in Greece is a nice image now …temperatures dropping here in NY…

    Very good to give them a variety of perch widths and also materials. Perch where they roost/spend most time should be of a width that allows foot to extend appx. ¾ of the way around.

    Your mirror idea is what I had in mind – give her too much to do! Just make sure that mirror is not stressful – some birds become “obsessed” or are even intimidated.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  29. avatar

    Good morning Frank.

    I’m sorry to be such a pest, but I never had birds as pets before and I really know next to nothing about them. I have visited many sites trying to learn more, but with you I get the answer to the specific problem and it’s really helped.
    The mirrors. She displays very strange (for me) behaviour in front of a mirror.
    1. Keeping her front foot steady she slides the other backwards as far as she can, so her belly is resting on the perch. Then she puts her head under the little bell that is dangling under the mirror and she starts making little noises like the ones you hear from small birds chattering in trees.
    2. She takes a few steps away from the mirror, bends her knees, then rushes forward with her wings a bit open and she stands tall in front of the mirror and then starts all over.
    3. She sort of sits on the perch and rubs her bottom on it for quite a while.

    Would that count as obsession? Is it harmful?


    It’s still beautiful here, and the sun is brilliant, but the temperatures are falling…

    Kind regards,

  30. avatar

    Hello Jean, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the kind words. That behavior might be a problem. She likely see the mirror as a threat – another female. Possibly views as a male, but not as likely as they are very visually oriented. She seems ready to breed – I’m guessing that the male is not sexually mature, or she is not “his type”.. (Cockatiels can breed year-round, unlike most birds).

    Try removing the mirror…however, you’ll need to watch closely and experiment, as she may then pay more attention to the male. He may change as well – her aggression towards the mirror can spill over to him…perhaps she will be more “approachable”. Lots of speculation, but it’s the only way – there behavior changes in captivity, so the usual rules do not always apply.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  31. avatar

    Thanks so much Frank, I’ll remove the mirror and I’ll keep observing her for a few days. I’ll let you know afterwards.


  32. avatar

    Hello Jean, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks..it will be useful to have your feedback as this is a common problem but there are no set solutions. I hope all goes well.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  33. avatar

    My little canary has very dry skin on her feet. This at time leads to redness and flaking skin, which she picks at. I have applied bacitraycin and it does help. Can you please help me to help her.

    Thank you

  34. avatar

    Hello Elizabeth,

    unfortunately, it’s not possible to diagnose based on those symptoms alone, as they can appear in response to a wide variety of problems, including mites , environmental conditions and many others. A vet visit should be arranged…please let me know if you need help in locating a local avian vet.

    best regards, Frank

  35. avatar

    My parakeet, female, has been chewing at her feet and seems like she is itching. She is with my male and he shows no signs of being in distress. She, however, has been sleeping a lot and not herself for about two weeks. I bought some lice and mite spray but am hesitant to administer if she is ill. Please help.

  36. avatar

    Hi Sharon,

    You are correct in holding off on the spray until the condition has been diagnosed. As a number of problems can be indicated by these symptoms, your best course of action is a vet visit. please let me know if you need help in locating a local avian vet.

    I hope all goes well, pl keep me posted, Best, Frank

  37. avatar

    Some of the stool from my pair of parakeets seems to be more watery on occasion — I’ve wondered if this is due to the Romaine lettuce I provide and they do consume. I’ve offered other fresh foods but those are ignored. Can you tell me if occasional “wet” stool is normal?

  38. avatar

    Hello Annamay,

    Greens can cause loose stool, especially if large amounts are offered suddenly; a lab test of the stool is the only way to positively ID the problem, but if it happens only on occasion then it may be the romaine. Try withholding it for awhile and then offering very small amounts. Please let me know if you need help in locating an avian vet in your area. Please keep me posted, best, Frank

  39. avatar

    Hello Frank, I have a white male canary about 1 year old.
    He’s shy, timid, and have never sung a song ever since I adopted him a year ago.

    Sometimes I see him just staying in one spot, while breathing his chest and tail moves up and down slowly, but sometimes he doesn’t. I’ve figured out he does that mostly because I was near him.
    Its as if he’s petrified and uses the old animal instinct to lie still.
    Do you think this is just because he’s afraid of me or some kind of respiratory infection?

    Just in case it is a respiratory problem I gave him antibiotics, given orally to his mouth – which means I have to catch him and that must explain why he’s afraid of me… I also gave him medicine onto his veggie or eggfood, that can work right? thank you.

  40. avatar

    Hi Raymond,

    The instincts will always be there…canaries can get used to people, of course, but they are not domesticated in the sense that basic instincts have been modified.

    No way to diagnose by symptoms, but I suspect it is a fear reaction as you suggest. Antibiotics should not be given unless a specific ailment has been diagnosed…not all are effective against each type of bacteria, and bacteria may not be involved at all. The medication itself places a stress on the system (must be processed by the liver, excreted, etc. and usually kills off beneficial bacteria as well; as in people, risks and benefits must be weighed, I hope all goes well, Frank

  41. avatar

    Thank you for the reply, Frank.

    So since the problem is mostly fear / stress based, I’d better keep my distance with him… Poor fellow.

    But it still doesn’t explain him staying on one spot (this is when I observe him from afar), but he is molting, I saw some new feather heads (whatever they’re called) some other day… possible reason of his passiveness perhaps?

    If he’s still like this (hopefully not) then I concluded its air sac mite and I will proceed with ivermectin based medicine…

  42. avatar

    Hi Raymond,

    Very difficult to say…so many variables; a vet exam is the only sure way to diagnose; I would not use ivermectin without confirming the cause of the distress,

    Best, Frank

  43. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Hope all is well with you.

    I have had a water accident in my mixed colony aviary and the birds went for almost a day without water on a very hot day. The smaller birds, Star, Strawberry, Parrot finches didn’t seem troubled but the Gouldians have suffered.

    This happened a few days ago and I thought all was well as only 1 female that was moulting seemed to be badly off, but instead of having only the 1 gouldian looking poorly, they are now almost all poorly, am absolutely devastated.

    Is there anything you can suggest that I do for them, anything to help them, anything at all? Am so VERY sad, what a terrible thing to happen 🙁


  44. avatar

    Hi Sharon,

    Sorry to hear the news.

    I’ve not experienced anything similar with Gouldians, but other birds usually recover very quickly once re-hydrated. I’m wondering if the dehydration was severe enohg to deplete electrolytes, etc, in which case providing water might not be enough to turn them around. Also, perhaps, the possibility that the immune system became taxed and allowed an underlying medical condition, infection or parasite to take hold and become dangerous (have seen this often after environmental stress, cold stress etc); always the chance of a coincidence, and that another illness is being masked by fact that the accident occurred…either way, a vet visit would be your best option.

    Please keep me posted, hope all goes well, Frank

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About Frank Indiviglio

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I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
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