When it comes to the question, is keeping owls as pets a good idea? The answer is No. There are many unavoidable factual reasons from numerous sources supporting the fact that the owl is the worst pet choice.
The domestication of Owls boomed overnight after the Harry Potter films went viral in 2001 with the main character (Harry Potter) keeping an Owl as a pet. Factually this movie never did the word of aviculture any favors considering an Owl as the right pet. Because an owl is a typical wild animal and wild animals, keeping them in a home environment is an impossible move.
Can owls be kept as pets?
Owls have been popularized in movies and books to be incredibly intelligent, friendly, and affectionate animals that can be kept in a large cage in your house. It is disappointing to learn that it’s not the case for real-life when you know more about their requirements, especially in captivity.
It’s keynoting that based on their high demands and habits, the owls can be kept as pets by only the people who practice proper husbandry, willing to provide extra care, and above all, low the expectations of expecting the owls to be what they are not.
Is it legal to keep owls in the UK and the US?
According to several websites, it’s illegal to keep an owl as a pet. It’s keynoting that this is partially true for the UK and US since as opposed to the US, where you cannot own any owl, people can own various owls in the UK.
According to the US laws, those birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which bans holding even their feathers without a permit from the Wildlife Service and the U.S Fish.
How to get a license for owning an owl as a pet?
Laws of most countries across the globe dictate that it’s illegal to keep those owls without special permits. According to some of them, like the United States and The United Kingdom, they must have to go through a series of special training for an individual to keep an owl. However, those owls must still be rehabilitated by the foster parents of a rehabilitation facility just for educational purposes as part of a feeding program.
Even with all those terms and conditions, the licensed individual does not have sole ownership of the owl since the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service retains those birds’ stewardship. They can recall them at any given time if the licensed individual does not meet the permit conditions.
The following are the steps followed to get when searching for a permit.
The first step involves checking with your local state licensing office for the full information on the requirements of obtaining a permit, which includes in-depth literature on pertinent information and regulations.
With the information from the state, which includes information on ways of caring for those owls, reach out to a local falcon organization and discuss your plan with them while asking more questions about the bird’s rearing. With this information, weigh out if you’re seriously considering keeping it.
You’re required by the law to have a sponsor for at least the first two years for every new member. You will also be necessary to look for a general master in owl keeping whom you will be working with but as an apprentice. This master will also be required to take you for a hunting course and teach you all the ways and methods of rearing your owl.
To obtain a permit, you will be required to sit for an exam after the full course, of which you must have a score of more than 80 percent. The exam paper will test you on your knowledge of birds of prey, raptor biology, health care of birds, and the laws of your county on raptors.
The fifth step involves constructing a facility for your owl. Your facility must meet all the legal requirements of housing a raptor and must be inspected by an experienced person from your state’s wildlife agency.
After being inspected and approved by the individual of your state wildlife agency, you can now submit your application for approval from the license board before acquiring your new owl.
The types of owls that are legal to own in the United States.
Even though it’s illegal to own an owl in the United States, it’s perfectly legal to own a non-native raptor in some states that don’t prohibit them. The most common exotic owl that requires no permits is the Eurasian Owl (one of the largest owls) and the spectacled owl.
Reasons why keeping owls as pets it’s not the best idea
1. They require a special diet
Typically, owls are strict carnivores; thus, they require a whole animal’s diet to ensure that their diet is balanced. Its food, which is made up of rats, rabbits, and mice, is stored in the owl center’s chest freezer. Also, ensure that you get rid of the leftover after serving the owl with the day’s meal since the owls love hiding those leftovers for future use, which will rot and stink after some time.
2. They make a huge mess.
Owls are naturally wild animals with a killer instinct and very sharp nails that can be adequately applied to anything that can sufficiently be shredded, for example, a pillow, blanket, or stuffed animals. It means that if a person loses the guard’s least, the owl will instinctively shred anything in the house into pieces creating a huge mess.
3. The maintenance of owls is high.
According to numerous researches, many people think it’s fun owning an owl as a pet, but few know the right comprehension of caring for them. These birds, especially those that are humanly imprinted, require daily cleaning and feeding with absolute attention. They also need their caregivers to find a vet who is comfortable with working with or treating owls.
As a caregiver, you will also be forced to receive special education about the owl’s health, including ways of determining subtle behaviors in the owl that indicate a health problem and the owl’s poop’s distinctive look. Moreover, you will be forced to build large cages for those that are capable of flying to guarantee a space for flying around to get enough exercise.
4. If you decide about keeping it as a pet, forget about going on vacations and business trips.
More especially in the United States, every time you cross the border from one state to another, you’re required to produce your owl’s permit. Because owls (especially the human imprinted owls) become very aggressive whenever a different person comes to take care of them, it shows how relevant it is that a trained person is the only one allowed to take care of the owls.
On the other hand, also owls have a particular routine when they strictly adhere to, and any disruption in the pattern becomes very stressful to them; hence it will be hard traveling with them for long distances.
5. The mating season involves a lot of noise at night.
Naturally, the owls are active during the night; thus, it’s keynoting that the owls will be hooting and calling for their mates during the mating season. The biggest problem arises when the owl is imprinted on humans; during this time, it will expect the person it perceives as its mate to hoot with them, and this may cause a lot of disturbance to the neighbors nearby.
6. Owls don’t have table manners.
Typically owls are sloppy eaters; hence you can’t expect your owl to daintily feed on a rat or mouse you’ve served it in a bowl. They leave body parts strewn around, which when not leaned will finally rot and produce an odor. According to experts, the owls do not digest all their food. The undigested food is eventually regurgitated to inform large amounts of mucus, which comes out in a liquid poop, which produces a nasty odor.
7. The owls don’t like to be cuddled and petted like most of the pets.
More especially captive owls who retain their natural wild instincts, traditional petting, and cuddling does not fit into its scheme of things; hence they may get very aggressive and even attack when a person tries to touch them.
8. Keeping an owl is a lifetime commitment.
Whenever things go well, the owls can stay in captivity for approximately 30-40 years for the big species and about ten years for the small species, meaning that taking an owl as a pet is a long-term commitment.
9. They easily succumb to diseases.
Besides looking for a doctor comfortable to work with your owl being a hectic job, its keynoting that without special care and absolute tidiness, the owls easily succumb to diseases. Some of the conditions that affect the owls include:
Aspergillosis is one of the most devastating and frequent mycotic diseases among raptors, especially the avian species.
2) Lead poisoning.
This disease is caused by the absorption of lead pellets in the digestion system, causing intoxication to your owl.
3) Bumblefoot or pod dermatitis.
Bumblefoot or pod dermatitis primarily refers to a problem common among captive raptors. This disease is caused by several factors, including improper shaping of the perches, poor sanitation, trauma, poor sanitation, and wounds usually caused by inflicted talons and nutrition deficiency.
4) Metabolic bone disease.
This disease is caused by inadequate Vitamin D, calcium, and an improper ratio of calcium and phosphorus.
5) West Nile Virus.
This disease typically affects juvenile raptors; thus, the most effective way of protecting your owl is to cover your outdoor facilities with a carbon dioxide mosquito trap that has been approved by USDA or a mosquito net.
What kind of cage do owls require?
Preferably birds of prey love dark enclosures, which makes them feel somehow safe; thus, they are essentially kept in a completely enclosed large cage known as a mew. The Mew is made of wood with two sides composed of slightly spaced slats to allow light and air. It’s vital noting that the spaces in between should not be too big to cause discomfort to the bird or be potentially accessible by other outdoor animals.
The owner should also ensure that the room’s windows where the animal has been kept are barred at all times to ensure that the bird doesn’t feel uncomfortable. You can also opt to attach a weathering yard to your mew.
Note: There are numerous different types of mews and weathering yards to choose from. Your selection should sorely depend on the design of the room you have chosen to keep your bird and ensure that your selected type is not too big to touch the wall as the wall would ruffle the bird’s tail, thus causing discomfort. It should also be easy to clean since those birds are known to produce a lot of waste.
The price of keeping an owl.
Owls are some of the few predators in the world. It’s expensive to keep one. Below is a breakdown of the finances of keeping an owl
• Considering that an owl consumes an average of 4ounces of food per day, you will be required to spend about $20-$80 in a single day.
• Since owls are known to be susceptible to diseases, you should look for a veterinarian; you will be visiting once a week. A single visit to an experienced veterinary is approximated to be $40-$60 per day. If it falls sick and you have an emergency visit, it may cost you about $250.
• The construction of a standard mew in the US is approximated to be around $300 to $1000.
The main advantage of keeping an owl.
Nevertheless, even though owls have numerous disadvantages, it also has a significant flip side of satisfying your desire to have a unique and exciting pet. In addition to that, the rearing and caring for the owl with the ability to see it daily gives you a lifetime experience that none will ever have in their lifetime.
By studying the above requirements of owning an owl, the process, the disadvantages of owls, their disease, and prices it’s certainly clear that owning an owl due to the influence of fictional movies or books is one of the worst moves; you will ever make in your life.
If you’re direly in need of one, you can make a cash donation to the nearest rehab center, whereby you will be allowed to visit your bird when it’s convenient, thus leaving the feeding and caring process to experts.