WHAT ANIMALS EAT OWLS?

Written by: Akeem Eletu

Owls are one of the most ferocious animals that roam the skies. They eat various animals ranging from insects to rodents to other birds. These birds are hardly ever out in the open during the day. 

They are nocturnal, usually active at night but will spend the day in a quiet, unnoticeable spot. 

But some animals still deem these night birds as food. If you have ever wondered what animals eat owls, here is a list of animals that eat owls.

WHAT ANIMALS EAT OWLS

Although owls are on top of the food chain, some animals still prey on these savage predators. Check out this list of daring predators!

OWLS

Owls sometimes eat other owls, especially the barred owl species. Although many owl species do not eat carrion, this does not include the barred owls.  Owls prefer to feast on insects and small mammals, but some birds are included in their diet, especially their kinds. 

While the barred owl will eat the carrion of other owls, it is not uncommon to find them killing other barred owls for food. You will typically find them covering the carcass, as though they were injured. But they actually do this to prevent other birds from stealing their kill.

Since owls don’t have many predators, the overpopulation of owls in a given territory is a common reason for their cannibalistic tendencies. This would be the natural course to take since the overpopulation of these territorial apex hunter birds could result in food scarcity.

Therefore, owls solve this problem by killing off other owls. These cannibalistic habits are more common in the snowy and great horned owls. They prey on other species of owls to reduce their population, and most of the time, the unfortunate targets are owlets.

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FOXES

Yes, you read that right. Owls eat foxes. These birds attack foxes with their strong talons, striking fast and hard. Foxes and owls share the same territory in some areas, and they are both predators and prey to each other. 

Owls occasionally land unnoticed beside a fox and ambush the animal. But the hunt can be dangerous. If something goes wrong with the owl’s calculations, the hunter could become the hunted. You can be sure that these ferocious canines will typically turn on the owls and kill them. 

Foxes mainly trust in their superb sense of hearing to hunt animals. But this would not give them an advantage over owls, because these birds of prey are capable of flying without making noise. They also have sharp claws and talons, which they can use to attack the fox.

BEARS

Bears eat owls and other birds they can find within their reach, as they are opportunistic eaters.

Owls typically stay in their roosts all day, trying to be unnoticed. It is typical for bears to catch them and their owlets whenever they find a roost. Once the bear notices a potential meal, it would take hold of the opportunity to attack the owl for food.

While the mother owl may be swift enough to escape the bear’s clutches, her owlets would serve as a great lunch. In other instances, when she stays to fight and protect her owlets, she may discourage the bear with her piercing talons. 

But this is not always a safe bet, especially in extreme conditions when food is scarce. 

Bears have razor-sharp claws, which can land fatal blows on owls. Their teeth are also sharp enough to sink into the owls’ skin. It would, however, be hard for these adept hunters to ambush an adult owl because these birds of prey are skilled at attacking and evading. 

If the bear isn’t careful, it could be seriously harmed.

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SNAKES

Snakes are opportunistic hunters and will readily take advantage of owl nests that aren’t protected. These slippery reptiles will only feast on owlets or the owl’s eggs because they wouldn’t stand a chance against the adult owls. Adult owls actually regularly feast on snakes!  

Raiding an owl’s nest is pretty risky for the snake. A snake would rather avoid an owl completely than risk being hunted down by a violent mother owl who feels her owlets are being threatened. But snakes can’t be removed from the list because they are still regular predators of owls’ young.

BOBCATS

Bobcats can’t take on adult owls, so they go for owl eggs or owlets. The fight is usually between two stealthy predators. The bobcats typically utilize a lot of stealth for a successful raid. 

Owls guard their nests pretty well. For this reason, bobcats will typically wait for hours, hoping for the right opportunity to present itself. Eventually, the owl will have to go hunting, and that’s when these meticulous felines will attack the roost and seize their game.

HAWKS

Hawks eat owls, but they do not set out to hunt owls for food. Hawks are birds of prey equally as dangerous as owls. They barely hunt owls for food and mainly kill them due to territory disputes. However, both predators can prey on each other to eat if need be., and will do so in extreme situations.

Hawks and owls are two territorial birds. The existence of both apex predators in a certain area can cause elevated tension levels. It can also lead to decreased prey population for both birds. 

Fights between hawks and owls are common, and the goal is to limit the competition for food in the territory. Even though hawks don’t often eat owls, they most certainly kill them regularly.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Owls are a very special species of birds. They hardly fall prey to other animals because their habits make them discreet animals. 

Owls usually spend the day in their discreet roost in the most unsuspecting places. This is one reason these brutal hunter birds are rarely preyed upon. 

But since they are brutal killers themselves, predators must express extreme caution so that they do not become the owl’s prey. 

The best-matched predators of owls are other birds of prey like the hawk. However, most of their clashes are solely territorial.

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