Do Owls Eat Squirrels? Everything You Want To Know

  • Reading time:10 mins read
  • Post last modified:April 25, 2022

Owl Eating Rabbit in wild forest

Do Owls Eat Squirrels?

Consider the following scenarios: you are a gardener attempting to deter squirrels from your garden, a pet owner seeking to adjust the live feed for your bird, or you are simply curious as to whether owls eat squirrels in general.

That is because owls are carnivores, and the easy answer is yes in this scenario. Their diet includes meat from other animals as well. Squirrels are rodents that are suitable for owls to consume because they are delicious meat sources.

Because owls are natural predators, they are frequently employed in rodent management. They prey on a variety of animals, including squirrels, rats, voles, and mice.

Do all owls, on the other hand, prey on squirrels? Let’s have a look and see.

What Kinds of Owls Prey on Squirrels?

What if I told you there are over 230 different species of owls in the world? These species are divided into two families: the Tytonidae (barn owls) and the Strigidae (true owls).

The most noticeable distinction is their appearance, since barn owls have clearly visible heart-shaped faces, as opposed to the circular faces found on true owls. When it comes to their food, though, there is no distinction between the two.

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All owls are considered to be birds of prey. They are nocturnal, which means that they spend the most of their time hunting at night. Small owls mostly prey on insects and other invertebrates such as moths, beetles, crickets, scorpions, mice, shrews, voles, and birds, but they can eat rodents and small mammals.

Large owls, on the other hand, are opportunistic predators who hunt on whatever they can get their hands on, even squirrels. These owls are among them:

  • Tawny Owl
  • Barn Owl
  • Great Horned Owl
  • Long-Eared Owl
  • Ural Owl
  • Barred Owls
  • Burrowing Owl
  • Great Gray Owls
  • Snowy Owl
  • Northern Pygmy-Owl
  • Northern White-faced Owl
  • Southern White-faced Owl

Any species of owl will hunt squirrels when food is low, as evidenced by the fact that the list above is not exhaustive. It is not uncommon to see little owls preying on baby squirrels in the wild.

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Boreal Owls and Northern Spotted Owls hunt Northern flying squirrels, whereas Northern Hawk Owls and Northern Pygmy owls hunt red squirrels. Barn Owls consume flying and ground squirrels as their primary prey. But how do owls go about hunting for squirrels? Here’s how 

What Owls Catch Squirrels?

Squirrels do not become an owl’s meal by chance. Opposite to this, owls are effective hunters and opportunistic predators with excellent vision and hearing, and they hunt at night. These nocturnal birds are capable of detecting prey at all hours of the day and night.

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Because of the serrated edges on their wing feathers, owls are able to fly silently without arousing the suspicion of their prey. Furthermore, these birds are capable of memorizing the sounds of various prey, and some are even capable of locating and capturing prey that is hidden beneath vegetation.

Owl Eating Rabbit in the wild

A squirrel is spied by an owl, who then descends in a quiet flight and pounces on the squirrel without being noticed. Using its keen talons, it grabs the squirrel and crushes it, while the hawk-like beak cuts the squirrel apart.

Do Baby Owls Eat Squirrels?

Yes, baby owls are capable of consuming squirrels. Owlets eat the same foods as their mothers and fathers. As a result of their young age, hatchlings can only consume regurgitated food from their mothers and fathers, or very small food items. As time goes on, the owlets become more capable of swallowing smaller bits of squirrels or other prey.

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What to Feed Owl in Captivity?

Owls are carnivorous and require meat in order to survive. Consequently, you must provide your owl with complete rodents such as mice, voles, squirrels, small rabbits, quail, guinea pigs, or dead chicks, rather than just pellets of food.

Owl captured rat in his claws

These animals should be commercially produced in order to suit the complex feeding requirements of the owl. Keep in mind, as an owl owner, that the bird is equipped with formidable talons and a hawk-like beak, which are used for tearing and ripping apart flesh.

Consequently, it is critical to maintain vigilance when engaging with the owl, especially during feeding periods. When the bird is upset, it may use its beak or talons to inflict harm on you.

What Not To Feed Owl?

Keep wild-caught rats out of your owl’s food bowl since they may have swallowed rat poison, and owls are particularly susceptible to poisons. Wild rats, on the other hand, are carriers of Weil’s illness.

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Also, avoid feeding pigeons because they might contain bird diseases that can be passed on to your owl. If at all feasible, always serve freshly prepared meat. It is possible to provide frozen meat, provided that it has been thoroughly thawed before feeding the animals.

Always defrost the appropriate amount of meat for each dish. The reason for this is that if you refreeze and defrost the meat several times, it is likely to become contaminated with bacteria, which can be deadly to your pet.

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Furthermore, do not include fruits, vegetables, seeds, or other plants in the mix because they are not a part of an owl’s natural food supply.

Take Away Message

Squirrels are obviously prey for owls. Squirrels are so scared of owls that even a simple owl decoy can scare them away. In the evenings, early in the morning, and during the night, owls search for squirrels with their sharp hearing, keen eye, silent flying, and powerful talons, among other talons.

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