TAMPA, Florida. – A two-year-old African gray parrot from St. Petersburg has become quite the social media star on TikTok with over 756,000 followers and is attracting attention from academics for its accuracy when it comes to identifying colors and objects.
“He looks a lot like a very emotional kid,” said Dalton Mason, the bird’s co-owner.
Mason and Victoria Lacey found the parrot named Apollo at a pet store in St. Petersburg. Store employees told them that Apollo was returned when he was only eight months old.
The couple say that after about four or five months, Apollo started learning a lot of words and speaking.
“At first it was ‘hello’ and ‘fresh water,’ ‘cork’,” said Victoria Lacey.
Apollo is not even two and a half years old, but Mason says he can already identify several colors and objects.
“It was a cross between raising pets and raising children,” Lacey explained. “We would literally have baby toys that we would use with him to educate him about colors, numbers and shapes. We work on materials.”
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She adds, “It’s been a very Apollo-led training. He lets us know what he wants to learn. What interests him and we just progress down the path he set for us.”
Mason and Lacey uploaded videos of Apollo.
“For a long time, for months, there was nothing, even with a lot of messages and a lot of good videos and everything exploded with color video.”
In the video, Apollo correctly identifies the colors of various objects shown to him and it garnered 20 million views within a week.
“He has a huge following that keeps growing,” Mason explained.
Shortly after, the BBC asked if they could post about Apollo in an article they were doing on animal intelligence studies through internet videos.
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“He’s very socially aware. He’s aware. He knows what’s going on.” Lacey explained.
A professor from Eckerd College recently visited Apollo at his home and wants to do some testing with him.
“I bet whoever delivered him as a little eight-month-old must be feeling awfully stupid right now if he sees us and recognizes him in a story,” Lacey said.
“Apollo is going to be like the next Alex, the next big social media pet,” Lacey said.
LINK: Follow Apollo on TikTok on @apolloandfrens.