What Do Owls Eat?


What Do Owls Eat?

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Owls are nocturnal animals. These stunning birds can be recognized by their enormous eyes, pointed beaks, and lengthy talons. The 218 different species of owl that make up the order Strigiformes range greatly in size and appearance.

The Strigidae family, which contains 200 species of true or typical owls, and the Tytonidae family, which has 18 species of barn owls, are the two main divisions of these magnificent birds. Although there can be some differences in overall food preference because some owl species are smaller than others, both of these categories and the majority of owl species share a pretty similar diet.

What Do Owls Eat?

Hunters by nature, owls. Although they occasionally can be observed hunting in the dawn or dusk, they prefer to hunt at night. Rarely, they may also hunt throughout the day. They are excellent hunters thanks to their keen sight, 270-degree head rotation, rapid, silent flight, and sharp beaks and claws.

Because they are birds of prey, owls must hunt other creatures in order to survive. Despite adhering to a strict carnivorous diet, they can still eat a variety of foods. Here is a brief overview of some of the owls’ favorite foods.


Although owls can drink water, they typically acquire all the water they need from the animals they eat. However, owls will drink water to help them stay hydrated or to cool themselves in hard surroundings or in extremely hot weather. A pet owl should ideally have access to fresh water to ensure it gets the fluids it needs to keep healthy.


Owls are adaptable creatures. Any small animal or insect they spot moving will attract their attention and be eaten by them. However, some owl species, such as the Scope or Screech-owl, favor insects above other types of prey. Snails, earthworms, spiders, crickets, moths, grasshoppers, cicadas, beetles, pillbugs, millipedes, centipedes, spiders, and leaches are just a few of the many insect species that owls can consume.

Fish and other aquatic animals

Although not all owl species can hunt and capture fish, occasionally owls will do so. Since it is difficult to distinguish between fish species when foraging above the water, they often are not very particular about the species of fish they discover. Sunfish, silversides, catfish, shad, minnows, and crabs are the most typical fish species that owls happen to catch.


Reptiles are hunted and eaten by almost all owl species. Owls frequently concentrate on ground snakes, garter snakes, and other smaller or non-poisonous blind snakes.

They also enjoy eating other species of lizards, including swifts, geckos, anoles, and skinks. In general, owls will snag and consume any kind of reptile they can locate.

Owls will occasionally attempt to consume turtles. They mostly concentrate on smaller turtles since they are simpler to catch and transport to the nest.


A good source of food for owls is amphibians. A variety of amphibian species, including treefrogs, toads, mole salamanders, frogs, lungless salamanders, and newts, will be caught and eaten by them.

Owls will take amphibians directly from the water or they may take them when they are moving onto land.


Due to their superior vision in low light or their capacity to detect other birds in the dark, owls have an advantage over many other bird species. Owls will pursue and consume a wide range of different bird species. Warblers, mockingbirds, doves, swallows, creepers, thrushes, jays, sparrows, flycatchers, finches, tits, starlings, waxwings, shorebirds, woodpeckers, falcons, pigeons, game birds, and even cuckoos are among the many species they like hunting and catching.

Owls are not cannibals, despite the fact that they consume other birds. They might consume smaller owl species, but they generally stay away from other owls. They can quickly distinguish between different owl species thanks to their excellent vision. Occasionally, some owls do turn into cannibals, but it’s unclear whether this happens by accident or because they’re in despair.

Small mammals

All kinds of small animals are caught and eaten by owls. Animals including mice, rats, rabbits, hares, voles, squirrels, marmots, raccoons, skunks, chipmunks, shrews, bats, and ducks are among their favorite prey. The young of larger mammals, including foxes, porcupines, prairie dogs, cats, and a variety of others, may also be caught by owls, who often concentrate on small mammals.

Diet Variations

Owls occasionally consume things that are not typically a part of their diet. Cannibalism, in which owls accidentally or purposefully catch and consume other owls, is the major diet variation frequently observed in owls. But it’s not that common. Additionally, it is uncommon for owls to catch and consume relatively large creatures like adult cats, while it is not impossible.

How to Feed Owls

How to Feed Owls

If you are feeding wild owls or a wounded wild owl, you must exercise extreme caution. Some animals have beaks that are so sharp they may seriously hurt your fingers.

Owls enjoy hunting, but they are equally content to consume meat that has been sliced or dead animals. Owls may normally be fed by just placing food inside their cage, and they will happily eat it.

What Do Owls Eat In the Wild?

Only the food found in their natural habitat can owls eat in the wild. They are opportunistic hunters and will take down whatever prey they come across, including small animals, insects, reptiles, and other birds. When they come across a fresh carcass, owls will likewise attempt to consume the carrion meat.

What Do Baby Owls Eat?

Owlets are the name for baby owls. When they are young hatchlings, their parents will either provide them little food items or regurgitate food for them. They will begin to consume the same meals as their parents as they get older. When feeding an orphaned owlet, it is advisable to chop the meal into smaller pieces. Small owls can consume small prey intact.

How Much Do Owls Eat?

Owls consume more at some seasons than others. Additionally, larger animals consume more food than smaller species.

An owl will typically eat between 25 and 30 percent of its body weight each day. Due to their rapid metabolism, they need to hunt frequently to eat frequently. However, the Elf owl is an exception to the rule. Due to its higher metabolism, this owl requires up to 50% of its daily caloric intake.

Two dead chicks can be consumed daily by an adult barn owl. Snowy owls kept in captivity are fed 200–400 grams of lemmings each day.

Owls must consume food at least once every day.

Do Owls Eat Snakes?

Owls do consume certain snakes, but they steer clear of deadly varieties. Not all owl species will attempt to catch and consume snakes, although they primarily devour species of blind snake.

Do Owls Eat Cats?

Owls will also hunt and consume cats at night. Although some larger owl species can and will consume fully grown adult cats, kittens are particularly vulnerable to owls. A cat will be caught and eaten by an owl if it is large enough to carry the animal while flying.

What Foods Are Toxic To Owls?

Fruits, vegetables, and seeds are not eaten by owls. The majority of meat-based meals are fine for owls to eat, and they can even digest flesh from carrion. However, owls are quite susceptible to poisons, such as rat poison that rodents may have consumed.

Additionally, fresh meat is preferable to frozen meat when giving an owl. These foods may become overly contaminated with bacteria as the meat taws, which can be lethal to owls.

Which Animals Eat Owls?

Which Animals Eat Owls?

Owls are majestic, gorgeous creatures who demand our attention and protection. They thrive in the wild when left alone, but if they are hurt or orphaned, they can be successfully maintained in captivity. Avoiding using poisons is the best thing you can do to protect the owl population. You can give wild owls residing in your barn extra food, such insects or mice, to help them survive the harsh environment.

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What attracts owls to your yard?

provide birdbaths. Like other birds, owls could be drawn to a sizable bird bath where they can drink and take a bath. Reduce the frequency of grass mowing to improve the hunting grounds for owls. Mice and other small rodents tend to graze on grassy areas that have been kept uncut for a little while longer.

What is the lifespan of an owl?

In the wild, owls typically live 5 to 12 years, although they can live even longer in captivity. Species differences in owl lifespans are significant; however, we’ll talk more about that later. The lifespans of owls in captivity and those in the wild clearly vary.

What food can I put out to attract owls?

Food: Owls won’t come to bird feeders, but it is possible to give them a consistent supply of food. Birders who have mice around are more likely to draw owls since owls eat mice, voles, gophers, and similar small rodents.

What can I feed a stray owl?

Food: Owls won’t come to bird feeders, but it is possible to give them a consistent supply of food. Birders who have mice around are more likely to draw owls since owls eat mice, voles, gophers, and similar small rodents.

What does it mean if an owl visits you?

Perhaps since the owl strives to reveal secrets, this is why some people view seeing an owl as a bad experience. But because he aids in releasing us from things that may otherwise hold us back, seeing an owl is frequently a sign of good fortune.


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author