People Are Abandoning Ducks After Buying Them in Bizarre TikTok Trend

Animal shelters are reporting rises in abandoned ducks, after the animals have gained popularity thanks to TikTok.

Ducks feature in constant cute videos on the app, including accounts dedicated to pet ducks with followers in the millions. Influencers on TikTok have also documented their experience becoming duck parents, often leaving out how difficult they can really be.

A spokesperson for the Montreal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) told Global News that they've seen a huge increase in the number of ducks they were receiving. "This year from January 1 to today, we have received 60 ducks. Last year, we received six ducks," they said.

Other organizations and animal sanctuaries are seeing similar effects too. Canadian animal sanctuary SAFE told Global News: "We took in six, we placed four more and then we had to say no more.

"I even had stories that they were coming to schools and offering them to the kids in the school. So the aim was to either sell the ducklings or sell food that came with the ducklings," she added, in regards to how people are purchasing the animals.

The main concern is that teens are buying the ducks as pets after seeing short videos online, presenting them only in a lighthearted way. In reality, the animals are messy, hard to look after and unfortunately "poop" everywhere and anywhere.

It's not just hard on the owners. In colder months, ducklings need the oils from their mothers' feathers to keep warm, and require a specific diet to survive.

In the U.S., different states have different regulations on owning ducks as pets, and some require that owners purchase a minimum of two ducks at once, or in some cases even six.

The duck abandonments aren't just a North American issue. In May, Irish organizations voiced concerns over similar trends, after one wildlife hospital was left caring for almost 100 ducklings. Reports found that ducklings were being sold for as little as $5 in Dublin, with the belief that wild ducks were being taken from canals to be sold.

The Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals publicly urged parents to stop their teenagers from buying the animals as pets at the time. "We are astonished by the completely unacceptable and reckless behaviour that went on in the last day or so, involving young vulnerable ducklings," a spokesperson said.

"We were taking them into the shelter throughout the day from parents who arrived with them in shoe boxes and plastic cartons not knowing how to care for them."

Accounts exist on TikTok completely dedicated to pet ducks, with one reaching over 2 million followers. In one video on the account, the owner even answers questions on how her followers can buy some themselves, suggesting Facebook—no disclaimer on whether or not they should really be buying them is given.

Things are different for TikToker @brendanxa, who has a duck among many other pets that star in his videos. Duck Jerry has become an internet personality himself, but owner Brendan has warned against others buying them off the back of his videos.

"Do not get a pet duck," he said in a The Verge interview. "I do not believe they are a good pet. Most of them will wander off. Most of them will fly away, and most of them don't want to deal with people."

@Tooturnttony is another huge influencer on the app with over 10 million followers, who features his own ducks in the videos. Although the videos take more of a comedic approach, and often show a crude reality, including the mess, they've no doubt gained attraction online. Videos show him holding and carrying his ducks, and taking them on trips out with him.

They might look cute and make for hilarious viral content, but there's more to looking after them than a 60-second video can show, so potential owners should think twice before taking the plunge.

two yellow ducklings
Stock image of ducklings. New pet owners have been abandoning their ducks after following a TikTok trend. Getty Images