Are Succulents toxic to home birds?

If you have, or have ever had, pet birds then you know that most plants are not harmful to them. However, there are a number of succulents that are and should be avoided if you have or are planning to have birds. Below is a guide that will help you get a better idea on what to avoid and what do if you think your bird has ingested something it shouldn’t have. Don’t forget that if you have any concerns you can always consult your local veterinarian. Most good vets have an on-call option for emergency situations.

What is a Succulent?

In its most basic sense, a succulent is a plant that stores its water in either its leaves, the stem, or both locations. It makes the plant’s leaves appear thick, almost as if it is stuffed. They are easy to maintain, don’t require a whole lot of water, and are available in a wide variety of colors.


A large majority of succulents are not harmful to birds though some are. The level of toxicity varies depending on what type of plant was consumed, the size of the bird itself, and how much was eaten. Bird owners also need to consider if any of the succulents were exposed to or contain any mold, pesticides, or toxic fertilizer which can make a bird gravely ill if consumed. These added nuisances can be found on non-toxic succulents and can make your pet extremely ill.

The following list below is of dangerous succulents that are extremely toxic to birds:

Fiddle Leaf
Crown of Thorns
Pencil Cactus
Mother of Millions
Panda Plant
Jade Plant
Silver Jade Plant
String of Pearls
Mother of Thousands

The second list is a collection of the top nine succulents that are not harmful to birds:

Christmas Cactus
Burro’s Tail
Zebra Haworthia
Opuntia Angel Wing Cactus
Opuntia Monacantha (Joseph’s Coat Cactus)
Hen and Chicks
Aloe Vera


If you suspect your bird has ingested any sot of succulent and you are not sure what to do, then you should call your vet. Your vet has the knowledge to save your bird’s life. He or she will treat your pet based on the symptoms its displaying. The most common of symptoms is within your bird’s tummy. Usually there will be vomiting and diarrhea.

If for some reason your vet is unreachable, however, write down what types of symptoms your bird is displaying. Then try contacting a poison control center that’s geared for animals. They will be able to at least let you know if the succulent that your bird ate is poisonous or not. This will better help prepare you for the trip into the vet once you are able to make an appointment.

How to Best Protect Your Bird

If you must have succulents in your home, you can minimize your bird’s exposure by letting him or her out of their cages to stretch their wings in a room that is partitioned off from the area that houses the succulents. You can also grow your plants in a terrarium. For plants that must be out near birds and other pets, be sure to pick up any plant parts that may have fallen on the floor to decrease the chances of accidental ingestion.

Overall, if you own birds or would like to get some as pets, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have houseplants. It just means you may have to take a few extra precautions before introducing them to your home. This way your feathery friends stay safe and healthy everyday.