Is It Legal To Own An Owl?

Is it legal to own an owl? Many people are captivated by these majestic creatures and are curious about keeping them as pets. However, owning an owl is subject to various laws and regulations, which vary depending on the country and even the specific species of owl. While some countries allow private ownership of certain owl species, others strictly prohibit it due to conservation concerns and the well-being of these animals. Therefore, it is crucial to research and understand the laws in your region before considering owning an owl as a pet.

is it legal to own an owl

Permits and Licenses Required for Owning an Owl

For those who have a deep fascination with owls and wish to own one as a pet, it is important to understand that owning an owl comes with certain legal requirements. In this section, we will explore the permits and licenses that are necessary for owning an owl.

1. Wildlife Rehabilitation License

If you are interested in rescuing and rehabilitating injured or orphaned owls, you will need to obtain a wildlife rehabilitation license. This license is issued by the appropriate wildlife agency in your jurisdiction and ensures that you have the necessary knowledge and facilities to properly care for and rehabilitate owls.

When applying for a wildlife rehabilitation license, you may be required to undergo training and pass certain exams to demonstrate your understanding of owl care and rehabilitation techniques. It is essential to abide by the regulations and guidelines set forth by your local wildlife agency to ensure the well-being and conservation of owls.

2. Falconry License

If you have a specific interest in training and working with owls for falconry purposes, you will need to obtain a falconry license. Falconry is a regulated practice that involves training birds of prey, including owls, for hunting purposes. This license allows you to legally possess and train owls for falconry activities.

To obtain a falconry license, you will need to meet certain criteria, including completing an apprenticeship under an experienced falconer, passing written and practical exams, and ensuring you have appropriate facilities for housing and training owls.

3. Exotic Animal License

In some jurisdictions, owning an owl may fall under the category of owning an exotic animal. Therefore, it is crucial to check with your local authorities to determine if you need to obtain an exotic animal license.

Exotic animal licenses typically require you to demonstrate that you can provide a suitable environment for the owl, have the necessary knowledge and experience in caring for exotic animals, and can meet specific legal requirements. These licenses aim to ensure the welfare and protection of the owls and prevent illegal trade or ownership of endangered species.

4. Conservation and Education Permits

In certain cases, individuals may be granted permits for owning owls for conservation and educational purposes. These permits are typically issued to entities such as zoos, wildlife sanctuaries, or educational institutions.

If you are affiliated with an organization that promotes conservation efforts or provides educational programs related to owls, you may be eligible to apply for a conservation or education permit. These permits often come with strict regulations to ensure the well-being of the owls and their conservation in the wild.


Owning an owl requires acquiring the appropriate permits and licenses to ensure the legal and ethical ownership of these magnificent creatures. Depending on your intentions, you may need to obtain a wildlife rehabilitation license, falconry license, exotic animal license, or conservation and education permit. It is essential to research and comply with the regulations set forth by your local wildlife agencies to ensure the well-being and conservation of owls.

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Challenges of Owning an Owl as a Pet

Owning a pet can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but when it comes to unconventional pets like owls, there are unique challenges that come along with it. While owls may be fascinating creatures, it is important to fully understand the difficulties that come with owning them as pets. In this section, we will explore some of the challenges that arise when owning an owl as a pet.

1. Legal and Ethical Considerations

Before deciding to bring an owl into your home, it is crucial to research and understand the legal and ethical considerations involved. Owls are protected wildlife in many countries and owning them without the necessary permits or licenses can lead to serious consequences. Additionally, it is important to consider the ethical aspect of keeping a wild bird as a pet, as it may go against the principles of conservation and the natural order of wildlife.

2. Specialized Care and Needs

Owls have specific care requirements that must be met in order to ensure their well-being. They have unique dietary needs, often requiring a diet consisting primarily of fresh whole prey such as mice, rats, and other small mammals. This can be a challenge for owners who may be uncomfortable with the idea of handling live prey or have difficulty sourcing appropriate food. Owls also need spacious enclosures with proper ventilation and access to both perches and sheltered areas.

Furthermore, owls are nocturnal creatures, which means they are most active during the night. This can pose a challenge for owners who have a different sleep schedule or work during the night. Owls require mental stimulation and regular exercise to prevent boredom and ensure their overall well-being.

3. Veterinary Care

Finding a veterinarian who specializes in avian care, specifically owls, can be a challenge. Owls have unique physiological and anatomical features that require specialized veterinary knowledge. Regular check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive care are essential to ensure the health and longevity of your pet owl. It is important to consider the availability and affordability of specialized veterinary care before deciding to own an owl.

4. Long Lifespan

Owls have a long lifespan compared to many other pets. Depending on the species, they can live anywhere from 10 to 25 years or even longer in captivity. Owning an owl requires a long-term commitment and readiness to provide care throughout its entire lifespan. This includes financial responsibility for food, veterinary care, and any additional requirements that may arise over the years.

5. Behavioral Challenges

Owls are wild animals and may exhibit natural behaviors that can be challenging for owners to manage. They have strong instincts for hunting and territorial behavior, which can result in aggression or frustration when living in a domestic environment. Owls are solitary creatures and may not enjoy human interaction as much as traditional pets. This can make it difficult to form a bond or socialize with them in the same way as with dogs or cats.

In summary, owning an owl as a pet comes with a unique set of challenges. From legal and ethical considerations to providing specialized care and addressing behavioral challenges, it is important to weigh these factors carefully before deciding to bring an owl into your home. Owning an owl requires a commitment of time, resources, and knowledge to ensure the well-being of these magnificent creatures.

Ethical Considerations: Owning Owls in Captivity

When it comes to keeping owls as pets or in captivity, there are several ethical considerations that need to be taken into account. Owls are magnificent creatures known for their beauty, grace, and unique behaviors. However, it is important to carefully consider the welfare of these birds before deciding to own one as a pet or keep them in captivity.

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1. Preservation of Wild Populations:

Owls play a vital role in maintaining the balance of ecosystems. They are natural predators and help control rodent populations, which can become destructive if left unchecked. Owning owls in captivity may contribute to the depletion of wild populations, as capturing owls from their natural habitats for the pet trade can have detrimental effects on their numbers.

2. Specialized Care Requirements:

Owls have specific care needs that can be challenging to meet in a captive setting. They require spacious enclosures that mimic their natural habitats, with access to appropriate perches, hiding places, and sufficient flying space. Owls also have specific dietary requirements, which may include a variety of live prey such as rodents and birds.

3. Behavioral Challenges:

Owls are wild animals with unique behaviors and instincts. Captive owls may experience stress, frustration, and behavioral issues due to confinement and lack of stimulation. Owls are nocturnal creatures, and their natural instincts can be suppressed in captivity, leading to physical and psychological problems.

4. Legal Considerations:

The ownership of owls as pets is regulated in many jurisdictions. It is essential to research and understand the legal requirements and restrictions regarding owning owls in your area. Owning an owl without proper permits and licenses can lead to legal consequences and harm both the owl and the owner.

5. Conservation Efforts:

Owls are protected species in many regions, and their conservation is of utmost importance. Supporting conservation efforts, such as habitat preservation and education programs, can contribute to the well-being and preservation of owls in the wild. Owning owls in captivity should not replace the need for conservation and protection of their natural habitats.

6. Expertise and Commitment:

Owls require specialized knowledge, experience, and commitment to their care. They are not suitable pets for everyone. Owning an owl requires a significant investment of time, resources, and dedication to provide for their well-being. Inexperienced owners may unknowingly subject owls to harm or neglect due to a lack of understanding of their unique needs.


While owning an owl may seem enticing, it is crucial to consider the ethical implications and responsibilities that come with keeping them in captivity. Preserving the natural habitats and populations of owls should always be a priority, as they play a vital role in maintaining ecosystem balance. Owls have specific care needs and behavioral challenges that should be carefully addressed. It is essential to understand and comply with legal requirements regarding owl ownership. Supporting conservation efforts and promoting education about owls in their natural habitats can contribute to their well-being and long-term survival.

Alternatives to Owning an Owl: Supporting Owl Conservation

Owls are majestic creatures that have captivated humans for centuries with their beauty and mystery. While many people may dream of owning an owl as a pet, it is important to consider the welfare of these birds and the impact of their captivity on their population and natural habitats. In this section, we will explore alternative ways to appreciate and support owl conservation without owning one as a pet.

1. Volunteer at Owl Rehabilitation Centers

Owl rehabilitation centers play a crucial role in rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing injured or orphaned owls back into the wild. By volunteering at these centers, you can contribute to their efforts in providing medical care, feeding, and maintaining suitable habitats for the owls. This hands-on experience allows you to learn about owl conservation and make a direct impact on their well-being.

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2. Support Owl Conservation Organizations

There are numerous organizations dedicated to owl conservation worldwide. Donating to these organizations can help fund research projects, habitat conservation initiatives, and educational programs aimed at raising awareness about owls and their importance in ecosystems. Additionally, you can become a member or participate in fundraising events to further support their work.

3. Create Owl-friendly Habitats

Owls rely on suitable habitats for nesting, roosting, and hunting. By making your own backyard or local environment owl-friendly, you can indirectly contribute to owl conservation. Planting native trees and shrubs, providing adequate nest boxes, and avoiding the use of harmful pesticides or chemicals can create a safe and welcoming environment for owls and other wildlife.

4. Educate Others about Owls

Spreading awareness and knowledge about owls is crucial for their conservation. You can organize educational workshops, presentations, or nature walks to share information about owl behavior, habitat requirements, and the threats they face. By enlightening others, you can inspire them to take action in protecting owls and their habitats.

5. Participate in Citizen Science Projects

Citizen science projects allow individuals to contribute to scientific research by collecting data and observations. There are various projects that focus on owls, such as monitoring owl populations, tracking migration patterns, or studying their diet. By participating in these projects, you can provide valuable information to researchers and contribute to a better understanding of owl conservation.

6. Visit Owl Sanctuaries and Educational Centers

Supporting and visiting owl sanctuaries and educational centers can be a great way to learn about owls and support their conservation efforts. These facilities often house owls that cannot be released into the wild due to injuries or other factors. By visiting these places, you not only get a chance to observe and appreciate owls up close but also contribute financially to their care and conservation programs.


Owning an owl as a pet is not a responsible choice and can have negative consequences for these magnificent creatures. However, there are many alternatives to owning an owl that allow us to appreciate and support owl conservation. By volunteering at owl rehabilitation centers, supporting conservation organizations, creating owl-friendly habitats, educating others, participating in citizen science projects, and visiting owl sanctuaries, we can all make a positive impact on owl conservation and ensure a bright future for these captivating birds.


Is it legal to own an owl?

The legality of owning an owl varies depending on your location and the species of owl. In many countries, owning certain species of owls is restricted or requires special permits and licenses. It is important to check with your local wildlife authorities or government agencies to understand the regulations and requirements in your area.


In conclusion, owning an owl as a pet is a complex matter that varies from region to region and depends on several factors. While it may be legal in some places with the proper permits and licenses, it is important to consider the ethical implications and the welfare of the owl. Owls are wild animals that require specialized care and habitat. Additionally, owning an owl may not be suitable for everyone due to the commitment, time, and resources required to provide for their unique needs. It is crucial to consult with local authorities and wildlife experts before considering owning an owl as a pet.