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TikTok trend leads to increase in abandoned ducklings in Montreal

Click to play video: 'Pandemic pets, ducklings surfacing in animal shelters in wake of social media trend' Pandemic pets, ducklings surfacing in animal shelters in wake of social media trend
Animal shelters in and around Montreal are seeing a huge increase in unwanted pets this summer. Mostly cats and dogs left over from impulse buys during the lockdown while others were left behind after moving day. But as Elizabeth Zogalis reports, the SPCA is seeing an increase in unwanted ducklings and they're blaming a recent social media trend. – Jul 28, 2021

Animal shelters in and around Montreal are seeing a huge increase in unwanted pets this summer.

Mostly cats and dogs, many of these animals were impulse buys during the lockdown, while others were left behind after moving day.

But the SPCA says a trend on social media is causing the shelter to take on a lot more ducklings.

Ducklings are the rage on TikTok, the platform popular among teens.

There are more than 285 million videos documenting everything from giving ducklings a bath to feeding them to raising them — and it’s all for likes.

Read more: Animal sanctuary says surrenders on the rise during COVID-19 pandemic

But while it seems harmless, many ducklings are ending up in animal shelters.

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“This year from January 1st to today we have received 60 ducks,” says Anita Kapuscinska, a spokesperson for the SPCA. “Last year, we received six ducks.”

Animal sanctuaries are also seeing the same trend.

“We took in six, we placed four more and then we had to say no more,” says Catherine Gaigneux, director at SAFE, an animal sanctuary in L’Estrie.

Nobody is sure where the ducks are coming from but Gaigneux says children and teens are being targeted.

Read more: BC SPCA cuts adoption fees to make room for animals displaced by wildfires

“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 adds.

While ducklings seem really cute, Gaigneux says they have an active digestive system.

“One of the main problems that people don’t realize is that they poop — almost constantly,” she says.

The SPCA adds there are many other reasons why urban life isn’t suitable for ducks. They are illegal. Ducklings aren’t suitable for home life and it’s very difficult to find a veterinarian in the city who specializes in duck care.

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The SPCA saw a 20 per cent increase in unwanted animals this year. Kapuscinska attributes it to the worsening housing crisis in Montreal and the end of lockdown.

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