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This Is What You Should Do if a Duck Bites You

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Ducks are adorable and very easy to take care of which is why they tend to make good pets. Ducks have also adjusted well to humans as a result of long periods of domestication.

However, like many other birds, ducks tend to bite. It is important to understand why and when ducks (and ducklings) bite so that you can getting injured and find ways to correct the behavior.

Tourist Woman feeding duck and sitting on boat

You should also learn how to take care of duck bites and how to ensure you do not get an infection.

What to Do if a Duck Bites You

If you or a loved one end up as the victim of a duck bite, you do not need to panic. This is what you should do if a duck bites you.

Check the Duck

Even though you (or your friend or loved one) have just been injured, make sure that the duck is not hurt. If the duck has bitten you for the first time or if it is behaving abnormally, it could be injured or ill.

Check the Wound

Now, evaluate how serious the wound is. If the bite did not break your skin, then all you need is a pain reliever to reduce the swelling and pain. However, if the wound is bleeding, you may need medical attention.

If the bite wound is deep, bleeds excessively, or does not stop bleeding on its own, you should seek urgent professional medical help.

Clean the Wound

If you are able to care for the wound without extra medical assistance, be sure to thoroughly clean it. If the bite area is bleeding or the skin has opened up, there is a high chance you can develop an infection. To avoid this, clean the wound gently but completely with soap and water.

Nurse dressing the patient's wound

Disinfect the Wound

To further reduce the risk of infection, disinfect the cleansed duck bite wound. Once you are done cleaning the wound with the disinfectant, pat it dry with sterilized gauze. The disinfectant may hurt, especially if the wound is open, but this step will help prevent infection.

Apply Antibiotic Ointment

After properly cleaning and disinfecting the bite wound, apply a coating of antibiotic ointment.

Doing this will help eliminate any remaining bacteria in the wound and create a protective barrier.

Applying antibiotic ointment will help the wound heal faster. This type of ointment is often found in first aid kits.

Protect the Wound

Make sure you cover the cleaned wound with a clean, sterile bandage. The bandage will help ensure that the medication stays in place and also prevent dirt or bacteria from getting on the wound.

It is advisable to use sterile adhesive bandages, or you could create your own wrap out of sterile gauze and rolled bandage tape.

It is important to keep the area of the injury clean and dry until it is completely healed. Try to redress the wound at least once a day to ensure that the wound remains clean.

See a Doctor

If you do not notice an improvement with the would or see that it is becoming worse over time, the wound may be infected.

In such cases, you should see a medical professional immediately since the wound may require additional special care.

Girl feeding geese and ducks with bread crumbs on the farm

Why Do Ducks Bite?

Ducks bite for various reasons, and not all bites are the same. When ducks bite, it can be very painful. Bites range from a slight pinch to a strong grab, and any of them could result in serious bruising or even bleeding.

Male ducks, or drakes, tend to bite more often than female ducks. Drakes often bite to protect their partner or territory.

Females will bite to protect their eggs from a predator. Ducks may also bite you when they become very familiar with you. If a duck has been with you for a long time, it may start to see you as a potential partner.

During breeding season, ducks usually initiate mating by biting their mates.

They do this to show their readiness. If a duck starts feeling familiar with you and sees you as a potential partner, it might bite you.

To stop a duck from biting, gently put the duck down and sit or crouch over it, being sure to keep both wing flaps immoveable for 5 minutes.

By doing this, you will assert your dominance over the duck. Do this repeatedly, as needed, and the duck will eventually learn to stop biting.

Why Do Ducklings Like to Nibble You?

One of the main reasons a duckling will nibble you is because it likes you. A duck will show that it admires you in various ways.

Ducks could stand before you and quack at the same time, then proceed to nibble on you as a way of showing admiration.

Another reason why a duckling will nibble on you is to get your attention. This usually happens when you have only one duckling.

Ducklings tend to seek the company of other ducklings. But if there are no other ducklings, they may seek your attention instead.

Ducklings may also nibble on you out of curiosity. They want to learn all about their environment through touch and taste, just like in human babies.

Mallard swimming in water with open mouth from soffit

Do Ducks Have Teeth?

Ducks do not have teeth. They do, however, have several adaptations and bill structures that allow them to eat easily. Some of these adaptations and structures include:

Spatulate Shape

The bill of a duck is elongated and flattened. This shape allows the duck to crush food similar to how teeth work.

But the lack of power in the bill prevents constant chewing. The bill’s unique shape also lets duck filter their food from mud or water.


Lamellae are thin comb-like structures on a duck’s bill. They are located inside the edges of the bill and usually look like serrated teeth.

The lamellae are usually not visible unless the bill is open, and they come in handy when the duck needs to filter food from water or mud.


The nail is located on the tip of the upper bill. Nail shapes and sizes vary in different duck species. It is used for digging through the mud and allows the ducks to uncover worm, roots, and other foods beneath the soil.

Grin Patch

The grin patch is the curve on the side of the duck’s bill that looks like a smile.

The grin patch is usually a different color from the bill, which makes it visible. It exposes the lamellae for easier feeding and is not present in all ducks.

Final Thoughts

Ducks bite for many different reasons, but the end result is usually the same: a painful bruise or wound that might require medical attention. For this reason, be cautious and wear protective clothing around ducks to keep them healthy and prevent serious injuries.

If you do get bitten, make sure to clean and care for the wound properly and always seek medical attention to avoid more serious injury or infection.


Destiny Mullis

Saturday 14th of August 2021

All four of my ducks bite me, well three of them, it's more like a friendly nibble, the other one it sometimes draws blood, so I don't know if it's his way of relating to me, and maybe he gets too excited.but yes it hurts. The others is more gentle, and if it starts to hurt I say "gentle" and they become more gentle. So thier smart enough to know better. But that other male, is the strongest, biggest of them all, he just doesn't stop. So I'll use my advice and I'll half to be more dominant than him.the female, when she bites, it's more like a greeting, like hay how are you?, Where have you been?. The two males a also gentle, except for that one moscovy male.