Every owl fan knows the sorcerer’s apprentice Harry Potter with his snowy owl, Hedwig. She is his girlfriend and brings him the mail. The many owls in the film are a feast for the eyes of every owl lover.
In England, where owls can be bought and kept privately in pet shops and from farms, this film has sparked a veritable run on pet shops. Since there are not enough snow owls, barn owls are now also being sold there.
But Harry Potter fans in Germany also want to keep such a cuddly owl as a tame pet. I have also received such inquiries. As a great owl lover, I can well understand this wish. I would love to hold an owl too. But I understand that I would be doing the “King of the Night” no favor if I lock him up in a cage. Owls belong in the great outdoors. Only there can they feel good and live out their fascinating behavior.
Even if owls look very cuddly, they are still not suitable as pets. With their sharp claws and pointed beak, they can even be dangerous. Snowy owls are wild animals that place high demands on their habitat. Their keeping in a small round cage in the apartment, as shown in the film, absolutely does not meet the needs of these birds.
In Germany, keeping owls is only possible in rare cases and is strictly regulated. All owl species found in Germany are under protection and may not be caught, sold, or kept. Only in rare cases are there exceptions with official requirements.
A holding permit is required for owls as specially protected animal species according to the Washington Convention on Endangered Species. For this purpose, personal and factual requirements are checked, e.g. knowledge of posture and care.
A large aviary is necessary to keep an owl. For this, you need a lot of space in the garden. Such a project can only be carried out in the country with loosely built-up areas, as owls are a nuisance for the neighbors due to the nocturnal noise. During courtship, you can often hear courtship calls throughout the night and the begging sounds of the young owls during the rearing of the young. Since adult snowy owls and some other owl species usually live with a partner permanently, they should also be kept as a pair if possible. You can have the aviary made for you. It’s costly. Do-it-yourself construction is also possible with appropriate wooden beams and boards, patio screws, and wire netting, but it is very time-consuming. Minimum size is also required for the aviary. For a snow owl, the owl enclosure must have a floor space of at least 18 square meters with a width of 3 m and a height of 2 m, for each additional animal 3 square meters more. In addition, adequate wind and rain protection, as well as sufficient cover as a hiding place for the birds, must be available. If the snowy owl is to be kept by a falconer and to be able to fly freely, it is necessary to acquire a falconer’s license.
The feeding of the owls is not that simple either. Since they are carnivores, they need mice or day-old chicks, sometimes a rabbit or a guinea pig. But they are not interested in meat from the butcher. For the disposal of the dead day-old chicks, an exemption from the veterinary office is often required for the Animal Carcass Disposal Act.
Getting an owl as tame as Harry Potter’s owl is very difficult. If owls are to be tame, they have to be raised by hand as early as possible as young birds. For years you have to deal with the animal every day. However, they rarely become as trusting as the owl in the film.
So, dear Harry Potter fans, you’d better buy a cuddly toy and watch owls in nature !!
Owls, often also snowy owls, can be found in many zoos and gardens. However, observing owls in nature is difficult. Due to their camouflage, they are difficult to find and can usually only be seen at dusk. There are some interesting films about or with owls. Occasional programs about owls are also broadcast on television.
Finally, a short note about the owl in the film. The owl Hedwig in the film is pure white and thus a snowy owl male …