A Kempton Park woman is convinced her parrot's "hello" - normally in a deep, man's voice - scared three intruders from her home, Beeld reported on Wednesday.
The woman, who did not want to be named, and her son woke up one morning last week in their Johannesburg home after three men had broken in through the sliding door in the lounge.
She and her son locked themselves in the bathroom.
"...Suddenly we just heard three gunshots and then there was silence," she said.
She and her son came out of the bathroom and called the police.
Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Cobus Halloway said: "There was a bullet in the wall, another in the ceiling and another in the opposite direction, through the curtain...
"The DVD player and TV were lying near the door. You could see that these men got out of there pretty fast."
The woman said only then did she realise what had probably happened.
"We throw a blanket over our parrot every evening. He sits near the sliding door where they had broken in.
"I suspect that when he heard the intruders, he greeted them in the dark with his usual 'hello'. He says it in this deep, heavy, man's voice.
"They must have thought this is the devil standing next to them, fired a few shots into the dark and then got out of the house very quickly."
Beeld published a picture of the parrot, Didie, peeking through the bars of his cage.