Why You Wouldn't Want An Owl As A Pet

After gazing at the cute owlet all day, I was thinking, "Wouldn't it be fun to have a pet owl, like a pet parrot?" Now deep down I figured that was a horrible idea on a LOT of levels (and turns out, yeah, its a BAD idea). But I'm sure that with the huge popularity of the Harry Potter movies, quite a few people think that having a pet owl might be fun.


Think again!

Karla Kinstler, who lives with a Great Horned Owl as a "education owl" lists numerous and, frankly, quite disgusting reasons that no one should ever contemplate wanting a pet owl.

Like this:

Mating season involves a lot of all-night racket! Are you willing to put up with the all-night hooting or tooting of an owl during mating season? If it's a human-imprinted owl, all that noise will likely be directed at YOU. Alice the Great Horned Owl EXPECTS me to hoot with her every night during mating season. If I don't, I REALLY get hooted at!

or this:

Owls can't be litter trained, so they just poop wherever they happen to be. Even if you have a large amount of your house covered with floor protectors (like we do), there is still a heck of a lot of cleaning to be done on a very regular basis. Even if you clean it up every day you're still likely to step in some poop in the middle of the night when you get up to go to the bathroom. Whether you're wearing shoes, socks, or are barefoot, I can attest to the fact that it's gross no matter how you step in it! Then there's ceca. Owls have two dead-end sacs at the end of their intestines called ceca. They empty these sacs once per day, and it comes out as a hideously smelly, brown, tarry poop that stains terribly. I'm not exaggerating here.

But if her "Top Ten" list isn't enough to dissuade you, well you're still out of luck. Its illegal to have a pet owl in the US. Guess we'll just have to be content with pictures.


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Is a beautyfful owl!Hedwig is sooo cute!And yes I want a owl like Hedwig or Pig(Ron's owl)

Feeding them live or even frozen mice all the time doesn't sound that appealing either.

While you can't have an owl as a pet you can establish a nesting place to attract them. We have owls living in boxes on both ends of our barn. They have all the characteristic descibed in the post but they are still neat to have around.

By Eric Juve (not verified) on 23 Mar 2007 #permalink

Plus, it would probably try to eat your African grey.

But Pepper's got talons too.....oh who am I kidding. Pepper gets scared with an unusually large feather floats past his cage. :)


Breed domesticated owls. Like they did with the silver foxes ...

I'm inspired not by Harry Potter, but by Farley Mowat (Wol and Weeps) and Gerald Durrell (Ulysses), who really did keep owls, and wrote about it in some detail.

It's a challenge, but not THAT hard. Now, I've had to find sitters for black mambas and been a sitter for a dozen lions. And I know people who keep fully loaded skunks.

And you intend to frighten me with an animal that probably won't even put me in the hospital?

"Owls can't be litter trained, so they just poop wherever they happen to be."

You would too, if you could just whip your head around 180 degrees and watch. Well, the novelty might wear off, but not if you had a bird-brain.

When I lived in Florida I used to do workouts at night at this one fugly track and inevitably three or four small barn owls used to gather and sit on the same spot on the chain-link fence. Every time I'd come around there would be a different number, it seemed. I think they were playing some kind of betting game.

Plus - who would take care of your pet owl while you are in jail? In the United States, keeping a wild owl as a pet would be a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Up to 3 years in jail, up to 10k in fines. Illegal in Canada, too, but I don't know what the penalties are.

I can't imagine an owl would be very happy to be a pet. Beautiful free owls don't deserve to be forced into a cage. There's a difference if one is injured, or somehow otherwise unable to be put back into the wild, but generally they should be free.