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Owls — Overview and Why They Make Bad Pet Birds

owls as pet birds

Although owls are often depicted as wise and regal creatures, they make terrible pets. Here’s why: they’re very messy, they require a lot of special care, and they can be dangerous to have around small children and animals.

If you’re thinking of getting an owl as a pet, think again – there are plenty of other animal companions that would make better choices.

In this post, we’ll walk you through all the reasons why an owl might not be the ideal companion for your home.

Owls: Why They Make Bad Pet Birds

While owls are often portrayed as wise and mystical creatures, they are not well suited to life as household pets.

Let’s take a closer look at why that is:

They’re Wild Animals

If you’re considering getting an owl as a pet, you might want to think again. While they may look cute and cuddly, owls are wild animals and are not well suited to life in captivity.

For one thing, they require a large amount of space to fly and hunt. In the wild, an owl might fly miles every night in search of food.

In contrast, a pet owl would be confined to a small cage, which would quickly become dreary and depressing.

Finally, owls are wild predators, and their sharp talons and beaks can pose a serious threat to both humans and other pets.

For these reasons, owls are not good candidates for domestication, and it’s best to leave them in the wild where they belong.

owls as independent birds

They Are Highly Independent

When most people think of owls, they picture the wise and regal creatures from Harry Potter or Romeo and Juliet.

While it’s true that owls are fascinating animals, they are not well suited to being pets. Owls are highly independent, and they require a large amount of space to roam.

In addition, they are nocturnal creatures, meaning they are active at night while their human companions are asleep.

As a result, owls can be difficult to care for, and they are not typically recommended as pets. If you’re looking for an animal companion, consider adopting other friendly pet bird options.

Owls Require a Lot of Space

If you’re considering getting an owl as a pet, there’s one important factor you need to take into consideration: owls require a lot of space.

A typical owl needs a territory of at least two acres in order to survive, and if you’re keeping more than one owl, you’ll need even more space. In the wild, owls use their large territories to hunt for food and to mate.

They also need plenty of space to fly and stretch their wings. When kept in captivity, owls often become frustrated and unhappy because they are unable to fulfill their natural instincts.

For this reason, it’s important to make sure that you have enough space before bringing an owl into your home.

owls are not pet birds

They Don’t Cuddle

Some people might think that owls make good pets because they are so cute. However, there are several reasons why owls are not good pets.

One is that owls do not like to be cuddled or handled, so they are not very affectionate family pets. For these reasons, it is best to admire owls from a distance rather than try to keep one as a pet.

Owls Have a Very Specific Diet

One of the most important things to consider is their diet. Owls are predators and primarily eat small mammals, such as mice, voles, and shrews.

In the wild, they also eat birds, reptiles, and amphibians. This diet is very different from what most people typically feed their pets.

So, you would need to be prepared to provide your owl with a steady supply of live prey. You would also need to be comfortable handling dead animals on a regular basis.

They Stay Up Late

Another important thing to keep in mind is that owls are nocturnal creatures. This means they sleep during the day and are active at night.

If you’re not a night person, you may want to think twice about getting an owl as a pet. They can be quite noisy when they’re awake, and their sleeping patterns can be disruptive to your household.

owl birds

They Are Noisy (Especially During Mating Season)

Owls are quite noisy, especially during mating season. The hooting and screeching can be incredibly loud and may even disturb your neighbors.

And of course, owls are nocturnal creatures, so be prepared for late nights if you decide to share your home with one of these feathered friends.

Owls are Messy and Destructive

Owls are very messy creatures. Their diet consists largely of small rodents, which they tear apart with their sharp beaks and claws.

As a result, an owl’s cage can quickly become covered in blood and feathers. In addition, owls are destructive animals.

They have a strong instinct to hunt, and they will often direct this impulse toward their human companions.

Owls have been known to attack people, and their powerful talons can cause serious injuries. For these reasons, it is best to admire owls from a distance rather than trying to keep them as pets.

You Can’t Travel With Them

Owls are very attached to their home territory and can become very stressed if they have moved to a new location. That said, owls are wild animals and require a lot of space to fly and hunt.

As a result, it is often difficult to provide the kind of environment they need in a typical home but especially when you’re traveling.


They Tend to Imprint On Their Owners

Owls tend to imprint on their owners, which means that they become attached to one person and view them as their parents. This can lead to problems when it comes time to release the owl back into the wild, as they may not be able to fend for themselves.

Owls Are High Maintenance

Owls are very high-maintenance creatures. They require a large cage, a diet of live prey, and constant supervision.

In addition, they are nocturnal creatures, which means they will be active when you’re trying to sleep. And finally, owls are wild animals, which means they can be unpredictable and dangerous.

You Shouldn’t Pet Them, Since It Damages Their Natural Waterproof Features

Owls rely on their natural waterproofing to keep them healthy. This waterproofing helps to keep their feathers clean and free of parasites.

When people pet owls, it can damage this waterproofing, leaving them vulnerable to infection. They also require a specific diet and environment in order to thrive.

If you’re unable to provide this for them, it’s best not to bring an owl into your home.

white owls

They Live a Long Time

While it is true that owls are fascinating creatures, they are also wild animals that are not meant to be kept as pets.

One of the main reasons why owls should not be kept as pets is because they have a very long lifespan. In the wild, owls can live for up to 20 years, but in captivity, they can live for even longer.

This means that if you get an owl as a pet, you could be responsible for its care for many years to come.

Not only do owls require a lot of time and attention, but they also need a special diet and a specific living environment. As such, owls are best left in the wild where they can live out their full lifespan.

They Can Be Aggressive

Again, while owls may appear to be gentle and majestic creatures, they are actually quite wild and can pose a serious danger to both humans and other animals. Owls are carnivores, and their natural diet consists of small mammals such as voles, mice, and shrews.

As a result, they have sharp claws and beaks that are designed for hunting. In captivity, owls may become aggressive if they feel threatened or if they are not getting enough to eat.

They have also been known to attack other pets, including dogs and cats. For these reasons, it is generally best to avoid keeping an owl as a pet.

Owls Are Almost Impossible to Train, Even for Falconry

While owls may look cute and cuddly, they are actually wild animals that are very difficult to train. Owls are apex predators, meaning they are at the top of the food chain.

As such, they have a natural instinct to hunt and kill other animals. This makes them unsuitable as pets, as they are likely to view small children or other pets as prey.

Owls require a large amount of space to fly and exercise, which most people cannot provide. For all these reasons, it is best not to try to raise an owl as a pet.

owls in the wild

You’ll Need a Special Vet

Before you get too attached to the idea of having an owl as a pet, there are a few things you should know. For starters, owls are wild animals, and they have very specific needs.

In order to keep an owl healthy, you’ll need to find a vet who specializes in avian medicine. This can be difficult and expensive, especially if you live in a rural area.

The Most Important Reason? Raising Owls is Illegal

It’s no secret that owls are some of the most popular animals in the world, thanks in part to their iconic role in the Harry Potter series.

However, what many people don’t realize is that it’s actually illegal to own an owl as a pet in many countries. The most important reason for this is that owls are wild animals, and they require a specific diet and environment in order to thrive.

In captivity, they often become stressed and sick, which can lead to a shortened lifespan.

What to Do If You Find an Owl

Owls are impressive predators, but they are also vulnerable to injury and sickness. If you find an owl that appears to be hurt or ill, there are a few things you can do to help.

First, try to keep the owl calm and still. Moving too much can make the owl’s condition worse.

Next, call a local wildlife rehabilitation center or animal hospital. They will be able to give you instructions on how to safely transport the owl.

Finally, if possible, take a photo of the owl and send it to a nearby raptor center. The staff there will be able to identify what species of owl it is and provide more specific care instructions.

By following these steps, you can give an injured or sick owl the best chance at recovery.

Consider These Pet Bird Species Instead

When it comes to choosing a pet bird, there are a wide variety of options to consider. While owls are often popular choices, they are not always the best option for everyone.

If you are looking for an alternative to an owl, here are a few pet birds to consider:

canary as pet birds


Canaries are a popular choice for pet birds, and for good reason. They are relatively easy to care for and their vibrant singing can brighten up any home.

In addition, canaries come in a wide variety of colors, so you can find one that matches your personality perfectly.

parakeet as pet birds


Another great option is a parakeet. These cheerful little birds are very social and make great companion pets.

They are also relatively easy to care for, although they do require a bit more attention than some other types of birds. However, their playful nature and vibrant plumage make them well worth the extra effort.

toucan as pet birds


If you are looking for a truly unique pet bird, why not consider a toucan? These beautiful creatures are native to the rainforests of Central and South America.

Their brightly colored beaks and feathers make them stand out from the crowd. Toucans can be somewhat challenging to care for, but they make wonderful additions to any home.

No matter what type of bird you choose, remember that all pets require time, energy, and commitment. Choose a bird that will fit into your lifestyle and be prepared to provide the care it needs to thrive.

Owls as Pet Birds: Final Thoughts

If you are thinking about adding an owl to your family, please reconsider. Owls may be beautiful creatures, but they make terrible pets.

Not only do they require a lot of space and specialized care, but they can also be dangerous to both humans and other animals.

So before you head out to the pet store to pick up your new feathered friend, take a moment to think about all of the things that go into owning an owl.

Maybe there’s a different animal that would be a better fit for your home and lifestyle.

READ NEXT: Top 10 Rarest Pet Birds – Meet The Most Exotic Avian Creatures

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