Owls

Owls

Owls can be excellent and very mysterious birds. In many countries they represent wisdom, while for others, for a long time it was a symbol of bad omen. But today, they are very well appreciated birds.

Types of owls

Can you really keep an owl as a pet?

You have to be very careful here. Many species of owls are protected by animal protection laws and are not fit to live in captivity. Not to mention that 70% of the species of owls sold in stores have been caught for sale.

There are some species, such as the North American tawny owl, which if bred from birth for captivity, may adapt to their home. However, in the case of other species such as the snowy owl or the eagle owl, there is no possibility of adaptation to life in captivity.

Owls are also nocturnal birds, and at night it is not always pleasant to hear the sounds they make. On the other hand, there is their feeding, which is quite specific, which can become a problem for their caregiver.

Of course, there are many cases of people who have managed to tame an owl without problems and confess that they have never had a better pet. But, it should be remembered that this will always depend on the species.

And how do they live in freedom?

There are many species of owls scattered around the world, but they all share the same characteristics: they are nocturnal, rapacious and often live in tree cavities. Some, like the burrowing owl, live in a burrow, like a rabbit.

owl in the nature

They are as good hunters as eagles, so it’s not surprising that some can participate in hunting competitions. They are characterized by being cautious, patient and exploited birds. They can wait for hours until they see the opportunity to go for their prey and hunt it, then tear it apart with their claws and end their lives with their strong beaks.

Can you know the sex of an owl?

In some species it may be easy to recognize the sex of an owl, as it has sexual dimorphism. This is usually that the female is a bit larger than the male or that her colors are a bit duller or that she lacks any distinguishing sign of the male.

exotic bird in snow

However, most species of owls do not show sexual dimorphism, so the only way to determine their sex is through a DNA test or by feeling their genitals. The latter can only be done by experts, as it is not easy to identify the male and female with this method.

What is the life expectancy of an owl?

The life expectancy of an owl depends on the species to which it belongs. There are some species of owls that do not live more than 10 years, such as the snow owl.

exotic owl

But there are specimens that can live up to 50 years in captivity, such as the eagle owl, which is usually only allowed to be kept in captivity in the case of perpetuating the species or in zoos.

What do you have to have to take care of an owl?

The big problem with owls is that being a bird that in many countries is prohibited from being kept in captivity, there is little information.

The cage must always be outside, in a draught-free place where the owl has enough sunlight but never gets it directly, so that it does not disturb your sleep. On the other hand, it must be full of natural branches and a cavity inside a trunk where you can take shelter when you want to sleep. It would be good to have a canvas base on the base, so that it does not tear the surface on which the cage is placed when walking.

bird looking at you

In terms of size, it has to be very large, over 3 meters high and 2 meters wide, so that the animal can move freely within it. You don’t have to have toys or hangers if you’re going to have natural branches. In addition, they would not support their weight, as most owls are over one kilogram.

Your drinking fountain must be easily accessible, so that you do not have problems drinking water. And if the cage is big enough, you can put a large bowl or bowl with water for bathing.

Many people get to have owls living in their gardens and interact with them, giving them food. The truth is that it is the best way to live with these animals, since it is not a species accustomed to life in captivity.

Is it true that they are violent towards human beings?

There have been many cases of owls attacking humans. Many of the species are very dangerous, as their claws are very sharp and can easily tear the meat.

exotic bird flying

But, in most cases, these attacks are due to the fact that humans have entered their territory. Owls are very protective animals with their territory and do not accept anyone coming near them, including humans. If you are going to try to see an owl in the wild, it is better to know if there have been any attacks before entering its territory.

What do owls eat?

Like eagles, owls are birds of prey that attack and devour prey while alive. They have a strong urge to seek out their prey, because they are satisfied with the killing of their prey. In addition, they are birds with the best vision of the world, so it is not difficult for them to find prey.

Their diet is composed especially of small animals, such as mice. In some cities, owls were introduced to deal with mouse pests. But they also feed on invertebrate animals such as spiders, insects, snails, crabs and earthworms. Some individuals eat fish, reptiles, amphibians and, in rare cases, other types of birds. In fact, some large owls can attack and feed on other owl species.

owl exotic bird

Rabbits are another important part of owl feeding, and some other mammals also end up succumbing to their claws, such as squirrels. In the event that the owl sees that its prey has already been attacked or that it is wounded, it will ignore them, because they prefer to hunt one that is in perfect condition.

Some species of owls can eat for 12 hours straight and then spend another 12 hours without eating anything. Because of this special food, few try to keep them in captivity, as they do not like to see one animal devour another alive.

If I get a pet owl, can I keep it in a flat?

An owl is not like an agaporni or a canary. He needs the fresh air he’ll only get outdoors, so he can’t have it in a flat. Nor can you put it on a balcony or near a window.

natural owl

If you are thinking of having an owl as a pet, you should have a large garden in which you can put a large cage for freedom of movement. If you take care of it from an early age, you may even be able to keep it free and not have to worry about setting up a cage.

What diseases can an owl have?

Because it is a bird of prey, it shares many diseases with other species, such as eagles. The most common in this type of bird are:

bird

  • Stroke: The animal will experience jerking and muscle contractions. They are usually typical of birds that have been caught in the wild.
  • Aspergillosis: The well-known asper’s disease is caused by a fungal infection and can be lethal. If you treat it quickly, you don’t have to worry about the bird’s health because it will recover.
  • Blockage: Although it is not a disease, it can be mistaken for one. Basically, it is a blockage in your throat when you try to swallow a piece larger than it can pass through such a narrow cavity.
  • Nails: This disease occurs in the lower legs because of bacteria. Usually caused by not having proper hangers in your cage or because your cage is not clean.
  • Capillary: It is also called nematodes and is caused by worms called amulata capillaria that are embedded in the lining of the esophagus, crop or small intestine.
  • Chlamydia: It is very common in parrots, which is why it is called parrot fever. But it can also affect birds of prey. It is caused by a bacteria called osittaci chlamydophilia. Your eyes and nasal membranes will become inflamed and you will have trouble breathing.
  • Coccidiosis: A disease of the digestive system caused by a parasite called protozoa. In many cases it requires an operation to remove the parasite.
  • Cramps: If the bird is given frozen food, such as chicken or rabbit meat, it is normal for them to get cramps. It is best to give them fresh food or live animals to prevent them from suffering from it.
  • Depression: Since owls are animals that are used to living in freedom, if you have moved from an open world to a cage, it is not uncommon for you to feel depressed. You may also suffer from depression if you are a very loving and ignored animal.
  • Dehydration: The cage should always be located in a place where it has a good amount of shade and is not too hot, or the animal may become dehydrated. To avoid this you must always have fresh water at your side.
  • Escherichia coli: If the owl’s cage is not cleaned properly, it can become contaminated by faecal matter. It’ll change the bird’s mood and it’ll look more despondent.
  • Trematodes: These are flat parasites that get into your bird’s digestive system. It’s not very difficult to eliminate.
  • French moult: All birds moult their feathers at least once a year. But in case you notice he’s pulling out his feathers or moving them out early, you’ll need to take him to the vet for a look.
  • Avian trichomoniasis: It is better known as Frounce, a highly contagious fungal infection of the digestive tract. It can be treated, but in some cases the bird must be slaughtered to prevent others from becoming infected.
  • Gapeworms: A worm that attaches itself to the inner wall of the trachea and causes the animal to suffocate. In some cases it can be treated if detected early, but is usually fatal.
  • Gout: Caused by kidney problems. It is usually due to a lack of nutrition or poorly hydrated bird.
  • Haemorproteus: A blood infection by flat flies. It is usually an infection that affects pigeons, but can also occur in birds of prey.
  • Herpes: Yes, birds can also suffer from herpes. It can be fatal if they are not treated quickly by an experienced person.
  • Impact: It is quite rare for this disease to occur in birds, but not impossible. It is caused because the bird eats many materials from the ground, and this makes them swallow wood or soil. Just give her enough water to digest them well.
  • Poisoning: Lead is deadly to birds, and it is found in many foods. That’s why you should never give her food like chocolate.
  • Nit: It is one of the biggest enemies of birds. It usually gets between the bird’s feathers and begins to peck at it. Before this, you have to spray the bird and pass it a towel to finish them off.
  • Malaria: Transmitted by mosquitoes. One of the symptoms is that the diarrhea is a light green color.
  • MBD: Metabolic bone diseases can be very serious for birds, but fortunately they are easy to prevent if the animal is properly fed.
  • Newcastle disease: A highly contagious disease which, as a general rule, the only solution is the slaughter of the bird or could spread to others. Even people.
  • Pox: Pox flu can be caused by another bird that is infected or that has poor hygiene in its cage.
  • Rickets: Usually occurs in the youngest specimens, which are still forming. For their bone mass to develop properly, they must be given vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus.
  • Ascaris: They are round worms that intrude into your digestive system. As a general rule, the bird will lose weight, have diarrhea and not have much appetite. It may require surgery.
  • Tapeworms: This is a parasitic infestation of the digestive system. You’ll have dirt, weight loss and general discomfort. Some parasites may be seen in their droppings. We need to give him the medication the vet says.
  • Torticollis: Torticollis is usually a symptom rather than a disease. But it is also possible that the bird may suffer from it and may not be able to place its head in a straight line.

How do owls reproduce?

Although isolated animal owls who like to live their lives alone, when it is mating time they get together with females to create offspring. Although there are some species of owls that are paired with a female for life, there are very few cases.

As a general rule, owls take advantage of the nests of other birds, by placing themselves in tree cavities, cracks or in nest boxes that have been laid by humans. Once mating has occurred, the female will lay three to seven eggs, with a day’s difference between them, and will incubate them for about a month or so. In some cases it can incubate for up to 50 days.

natural owl

When the chicks are hatched, it is the male who goes to look for food to take back to his family and the female feeds them. The chicks do not have feathers until they are one month old and stay with their mother until they are two or three months old, when they start to live their own lives.

Although for most of its life the owl may seem to be a very lonely bird, the truth is that there is no more protective bird with its young. Most attacks on humans have occurred because they have entered their territory and felt that their chicks were in danger.

Do I have to know anything before I have an owl?

If it’s the bird you have in mind as a pet, first of all you’re going to have to know some things about it, starting with:

  • The care of owls is very specific, so it cannot be done by an inexperienced person. It’s not an animal you can have for experience.
  • They don’t adapt well to changes, so they won’t like you moving their cage around or leaving it with someone else when you go on vacation. If you go somewhere for a long period of time, you’ll have to take it with you.
  • You need daily flying exercises, so you need to have enough space in your cage for this. Otherwise, he’ll have to be taken out of the cage so he can fly, but he’ll have to be trained first.
  • Since it feeds on animals, it is necessary to have a place in the house where they can be kept whole. In addition, owls do not like viscera, so they must be removed before they are given them.
  • You may be lucky enough to have an owl that is very affectionate, but it is usually an aggressive bird.
  • In mating season they make continuous night calls that can be very annoying and affect people living in and around the home.
  • If you live in an area where there are birds of prey, they may be targeted, so keep this in mind when hosting one.
Owls
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