How Much Does a Pet Owl Cost?

Written by: Staff

Owls are considered raptors or frankly known as birds of prey. \

Being a bird with a sharp beak and talons (sharp claws) that it uses to catch its food and eat it, owls, unlike other raptors, are mostly nocturnal, and as a result, owls can share a territory with other raptors and tend to not compete with one another.

Grand-duc d’Europe / Eurasian Eagle-Owl by Jean-Jacques Boujot, on Flickr
Grand-duc d’Europe / Eurasian Eagle-Owl” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Jean-Jacques Boujot

How much does a pet owl cost?

Certain species of owls are captive-bred, specifically the Eurasian Eagle Owl, and these owls typically sell for around $3,000 to $3,500.  Since it is illegal to own an owl without the proper licenses and/or permits, the average United States citizen will find it extremely hard to adopt one unless they have the right permits.  In the United Kingdom, however, the laws are different as some owls can cost $300 to $800 to adopt by anyone.  Even if you wanted to own an owl, they are known to make awful pets as they tend to avoid bonding, have very little brian power and are quite devoted to hunting.

For instance, on these classified ads, a snowy, barn or Bengal owl can cost $200 to $900, according to some of the listings at the time of this publishing.  The costs greatly depend on the age, quality and breeder.

What are the extra costs?

Owls, being strict carnivores, require a special diet such as rats, rabbits, quail and mice.  The International Owl Center, when they feed their owls, will remove the stomach, bladder and intestine before serving.  A quail alone can cost up to $3 each, with an owl eating one per day.  Experts recommend having at least 90 days worth of food inside of a freezer.

Most vets don’t have specialized training when dealing with owls, so with that being said, you will need a caregiver who is trained in your area.  Depending on where you live, this could be a problem, meaning you may not be able to own an owl, even if you’re legally able to do so or you may have to pay hundreds to have a vet visit your location for a simple vet exam.

Due to flying capabilities, an owl will need a very large cage in order to exercise, with access to both indoor and outdoor spaces.  Building this enclosure, also known as a mew, along with the perches and necessary housing units, can easily cost more than $1,000+

Owners will need telemetry equipment in order to track the bird while it’s hunting.  This equipment can cost upwards of $1,500.

Tips to know:

Owls, a group of birds of prey known for their distinct calls and silent flight, owls are nocturnal in nature, with a few exceptions. They are generally classified as being birds of the order Strigiformes. It is estimated that about 216 species of owls exist today, with 18 of these species belonging to Tytonidae (the Barn Owl family) and 198 belonging to Strigidae (the typical owl family).

Barn Owls typically exhibit a heart-shaped facial disc — the area which surrounds the face, eyes and the beak of the owl. They also lack ear tufts. Typical owls of the Strigidae family have a round-shaped facial disc and often have a shorter skull, beak, wings and legs compared to the Barn Owls. Both owl families exhibit monogamy in the choice of mates and are carnivorous.

Barn Owl distribution is primarily Australasia (also called Oceania that includes New Zealand, Malaysia, Tasmania and many others). Owing to its high number of species, distribution of the typical owl family is quite widespread, reaching all continents apart from Antarctica and the majority of species inhabit the tropics.

The average owl has a wingspan that can reach up to five feet.

The average owl can live up to 20 years.

The United States currently doesn’t allow private individuals to have native owls as pets. Keeping a pet owl is illegal in the United States as they are protected by Migratory Bird Treaty Act. They can only be owned by trained and licensed persons as either foster parents in a rehabilitation facility, as they are rehabilitated, for educational purposes, or in a breeding program. Some states allow certain species to be used in falconry, although owls rarely make ideal falconry birds. Even in such instances, the licensed individual to keep an owl does not essentially “own” the bird. The U.S. FWS retains “ownership” of the owls and they might recall them at any point of time if the permit conditions are not met.

A Great Horned Owl can live more than 30 years when in captivity, but smaller species can live up to 10 years.

An owl is known to make quite a mess as they always throw up their fur, bones, meat and feather all over.  Most owls will projectile their poop, often squirting it as far as they can.

These birds live and hunt independently, meaning, unlike other types of birds, do not live in flocks, making them very antisocial.

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Average Reported Cost: $120

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Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Barn owl (Lansing,  Kansas) paid $120 and said:

    Was it worth it? Yes

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