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Q:

Did pirates really have parrots?

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The answer is, we don't know. There are not many first hand accounts of the animals on board ships other than the occasional comments of cats and or dogs being used to keep the vermin population down. It is safe to assume that some pirates kept pets or animals while in town and perhaps on occasion animals were taken on board ship. We know that horses and livestock were at times carried on board larger seafaring vessels when ground campaigns were to take place. We know that buccaneers got their name from roasting wild pigs. While some sources speculate that pets such as parrots were used as emergency food rations this is unlikely, especially when it comes to a parrot. There just isn't that much there to eat. Besides, for the most part, pirates tended not to travel far and when they did roam, they stuck to known trade routes. Parrots and other exotics were also "booty". I do not know of any historical accounts mentioning the pets of known pirates. However, there are many fictional ... more
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