So you want to get a parrot? Pet ownership is something no one should ever go into lightly, but when it comes to exotic animals and birds there are probably some things you want to educate yourself on before you commit to one. And make no mistake about it, adopting a parrot is a lifelong commitment. Here's what you need to know before adopting a parrot.

1. There are over 350 species of parrots. So before you get a parrot you'll want to know exactly what species it is and what it will require for its care. You'll also want to know what behavioral issues you might be getting yourself in for.

2. Parrots live a very long life. Some species can live for 60-80 years. That means a truly lifelong commitment. If you think your bird is going to outlive you, then you'll want to consider what might happen to your parrot after you're gone. This could mean putting the parrot in a will and leaving it to a family member or friend or possibly leaving it to a zoo.

3. These are highly intelligent birds. Some are even as smart as a 3 year old. Because of this they will require a lot of interaction and time outside of the cage. When you're not able to entertain your parrot you'll need to provide him with other ways to entertain himself. Whether it's with safe toys, television or radio, or another parrot they do require that stimulation.

4. They are messy birds. You'll need to be cleaning up around the cage, in the cage, whatever play area they have throughout the day.

5. You will need to be mindful of a parrot's diet. They require a strict diet of dry pellets, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. It will need to be prepared fresh for your parrot.

6. A parrot needs to stretch its wings. You don't want to keep him caged up. Part of his daily play should be in an open area in your home where he can take flight.

7. Owning a parrot can be very much like having a child in your home. Play time and back talk might be part of your day to day with a parrot much like a child, but you'll also have to give your parrot a safe environment to roam in. Parrot proofing is going to be important. You'll have to figure out what things in your home could be toxic to your parrot. Chlorine bleach and ammonia are some things that even just the fumes can be toxic to parrots so you won't want these things in your home. Even aerosol products can be dangerous to your parrot so you'll need to watch out for these things in your home.

8. A smoke-free home is a happy home with a parrot. Even just passive inhalation of common smoking devices can cause parrots to have eye problems, skin problems, and respiratory disease. And you absolutely do not want to smoke marijuana around a parrot because this will cause the bird to regurgitate and to suffer from severe depression.

9. Even though parrots come from a tropical climate, domesticated it's best to keep them at a temperature before 60 and 80 degrees. They are comfortable with that temperature, but they can handle temperatures up to 90 degrees and as low as 40 degrees. But be cautious, any drastic increase or decrease in temperature up to 15 degrees either way in a 24 hour period can be dangerous for your parrot.

10. Parrots are very vocal. You can help keep the noise down by providing plenty of stimulation and entertainment for it, but they have a loud squawk and will continue to use it especially if you don't give him enough attention.

So as you can see parrots require a lot of work. It really is like having a child. They live a long time, make messes and lots of noise, and need lots of attention. So you will have to ask yourself, can you provide the kind of environment that a parrot can thrive and be happy in?