Do Owls Make Great Pets? What you need to know!

The owl is one of the most iconic and fascinating exotic birds in the world. Hedwig, the snowy owl from the Harry Potter franchise, inspires many pet keepers that these birds make great pets.

While that may be true, owls are wild creatures, and keeping them in a typical home environment is not a good choice. Still, it’s not impossible, especially since wild birds like parrots have been excellent pets for most households for centuries.

But practically, can owls also be that great? Keep reading and find out.


Can You Have Owls as Pets?

Long-eared owl_Kevinsphotos, Pixabay

You may have heard that owning an owl is illegal, which is partly not true. The US, like many countries, has put in place laws and regulations regarding the ownership of wild and exotic animals, categories that owls are suitable for.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is a federal act enacted by the US to protect exotic animals. This makes having a snowy owl or other native owl as a pet illegal in the country.

However, the law may allow you to keep a non-native owl only if you have a permit and that is for educational, falconry or rehabilitation purposes. The law also requires you to undergo training and obtain certification, or you risk a hefty fine or possible prison sentence.

So, instead of confining owls in your home, you might consider inviting them to nest in your backyard. But, of course, you can also build a house, especially if you live in a quiet neighborhood.

Owls that are Legal to Own in the US

Owl flying_ElvisCZ, Pixabay

Non-native owls are perfectly legal to own in certain states. The most common exotic owls available to keep as pets in the US without a permit include the Eurasian eagle owl. It is one of the largest owls in the world.

You can also keep a spotted owl, although it is a rare breed.

  • Related: Can You Keep a Penguin as a Pet? Is it Legal or Possible?
READ ALSO:   Why Are Dogs Afraid of Fireworks? 3 Reasons That Can Cause Anxiety

6 Reasons Why Owls Make Great Pets

1. They Have a Simple Diet

Eat owl_Alexas_fotos_Pixabay

Owls are carnivores, and their diet is quite easy; day old chickens, young mice, whole quail and sometimes mice. Plus, you can feed them once a day, either in the afternoon or at night.

Owls don’t need cooked food, vegetables, or bird-friendly foods like other birds. However, like other exotic animals, there is not much information about the exact nutritional needs of owls.

  • See Also: Do ​​Quail Make Good Pets?

2. Satisfying Adventure Desire

Great Horned Owl_Pixabay

One of the advantages of having this bird is that it can satisfy the desire to have an interesting and mysterious animal in the house. This benefits those who are adventurous at heart.

3. They are solitary

tawny-frogmouth owl_PollyDot_Pixabay

Most pet birds are companion animals. For example, pets such as parrots demand constant attention from their owners, who may not always be available on standby.

Some of these pet birds also require you to pair them with a partner for bonding because they form close relationships with other people in the wild. However, owls are solitary and do not depend on human affection. Therefore, you can leave them alone for days without worrying about potential separation anxiety.

Owls, being social by nature, can also adapt to a solitary life.

4. They Are Inactive

owl owner_dodo 71_Pixabay

Owls require little physical activity. Those in captivity are usually complacent and still thrive by sitting on a perch without being bothered expending energy through various activities. You can see this behavior even in the wild.

These birds also have minimal housing requirements, requiring only a few perches and a small window to allow them to see the outdoors.

5. They’re Attractive

northern white face owl_Anthony King Nature_Shutterstock

These birds are unique and fun to watch. This is because they can turn their heads up to 270 degrees to look in both directions without breaking their necks.

You can also find other “transforming” owls such as the Northern White-faced owl with very strange shapeshifting abilities.

READ ALSO:   Snapping Turtle vs. Box Turtle: What's the Difference? (With Pictures)

6. Lifetime

eurasian eagle owl_Kevinsphotos_Pixabay

Owls can be healthy enough to live a long life in captivity (depending on the species). For example, Eurasian owls can live for 20-50 years with adequate care and food, compared to 20 years in the wild.

The main cause of death of this bird is starvation.


7 Challenges You Will Face as a Mother Owl

1. Messy Owl

white owl_Alexas_fotos_Pixabay

First, owls eat raw, fresh meat and are also known to be messy eaters. They shred their prey to eat in small bites and leave a mess for you to clean up. Cleaning up after food scraps or blood spills is no fun.

You also won’t like keeping rats and chickens in your fridge, next to your family’s frozen treats.

Owls defecate, and they smell bad because they consist of digested meat. The stench can be unbearable for the owner, especially since you will need to clean the cage or cage regularly.

2. Need Constant Care

owl care_RitaE_Pixabay

Owls may be solitary and lead a sedentary lifestyle, but they can be very demanding. This happens if they know the same person too well because they will never allow anyone else to approach them.

This means you can’t call a pet sitter to help you if you’re busy or traveling for days. You take it with you on your travels or you don’t travel at all.

3. Owls are Nocturnal


Owls sleep during the day and remain active at night. Unfortunately, this routine goes against the schedule of ordinary people making it difficult for anyone to overcome. This is because the bird will cause trouble for you and your neighbors at night when you need to rest, with constant chirping.

4. They Need Space

owl cage_falco_Pixabay

Owls are relatively large, so an ordinary parrot cage is not enough. They need a large aviary to live in and exercise in.

READ ALSO:   Double Rex Rat: 10 Things You Should Know

These birds need a variety of perches to fly and spread their wings freely, requiring ample space.

5. They Can Damage

Snowy Owl_Pixabay

Owls are ferocious carnivorous predators in the wild, a trait they share even in the domestic environment. This bird will destroy your furniture and tear your clothes and pillows with its large beak and sharp claws.

It is difficult to resist this wild behavior because this bird is difficult to tame.

6. Limited vet

Great Gray Owl_christels, Pixabay

Finding a vet for exotic animals is not as easy as finding a vet for dogs and cats. Not many veterinarians know this bird. Plus, owls can become aggressive if strangers approach them.

7. Have a Special Diet


Owls cannot eat regular bird food from the store. Bird seeds, vegetables, small insects and pellets are not an option for them. Instead, they need fresh meat such as chicken, rats, and guinea pigs, foods that are not easy to find on a daily basis.



You can raise an owl if you’re pretty sure you can handle this challenge or still think you can handle it. However, owls are still wild birds of prey, and they belong to the wild, so keeping owls at home is not the best option.

Related Read: Do Crows & Crows Make Great Pets? What you need to know!

Featured Image Credit: Georg Wietschorke, Pixabay