Harry Potter wannabes: Would you buy an owl as a pet?

The owls in India had better take the sky or at least a high tree. Apparently parents are trying to capture them for their children thanks to the Harry Potter stories.

From the HindustanTimes:

“Fascinated by Harry Potter’s ‘Hedwig’ owl from the famous movie and novel series, urban middle class parents are gifting their kids with the real bird, which is one of the main reasons for its dwindling population, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has said. “Following Harry Potter (film), there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls,” Ramesh said on Tuesday after releasing a report on the illegal trade of the bird prepared by Traffic, an NGO working to curb the illegal trade of the endangered species.”

“This encourages illegal wildlife trade as due to pressure from their kids, the parents approach illegal traders in wildlife products to buy owls, he said requesting the parents to abandon these practices that threaten the country’s wildlife.”

“In his report, he gave an instance when he was asked by a friend to procure a live white-coloured owl for her son’s Harry Potter-themed 10th birthday party.”

“This was probably one of the strangest demands made to me as an ornithologist, he said asking the parents to not resort to such demands as “real owls do not make good pets because they need room to fly and hunt for food.”

But thankfully the report found that Harry Potter isn’t entirely to blame for the decline in owl numbers

From the New York Daily News:

“The report found that in addition to being used for occult rituals, owls in India are often used by street performers, killed for meat or taxidermy or are slaughtered so their feathers and claws can be used on clothing.”

I can’t imagine giving my child an owl for a pet (sharp claws, sharp beak, likes to be awake at night, likes to fly and hunt) but people do give odd pets to their kids. I had a friend in elementary school with a rat and my brother’s family has a crazy lizard that his kids just love.

What do you make of this owl-pet trend? Can you see it picking up in America? Is poor Harry Potter to blame? What unusual pet does your family have?

30 comments Add your comment

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shaggy

November 4th, 2010
6:47 am

Give an owl to a child as a pet? You have to be kidding me. These beautiful creatures belong in the wild…only, exclusively, end of story.

There is not one wild animal that should be kept as a pet. Not One! I have issues with zoos for keeping as display, certain ranging animals, like big cats, elephants, etc… Instead of preserving habitat, we put them in an faux setting to gawk at???? Don’t even get me started about circuses that “showcase” wild animals, doing forced tricks for little Jimmy’s pleasure…certainly not the animal’s.
Yes, I hunt (for meat only – never trophy) and eat meat, but I would never keep a wild animal for my own selfish reasons, like a status symbol. However, i would rescue, rehabilitate, and release and animal if at all possible…done that many times, with a variety of animals.

DB

November 4th, 2010
7:11 am

An OWL? As a pet? Uh — no. Ewwww. They basically molt and poop all day long, they are very tempermental, and fairly destructive. Besides, it’s illegal in the United States. Even if you have a special permit (rehab, breeding, sometimes falconry) to care for an owl, all owls still “belong” to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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Name (required)

November 4th, 2010
7:20 am

No way…..it might attack the wolverine or fight with the tasmanian devil.

jg

November 4th, 2010
7:21 am

When we were growing up my grandfather had a stuffed owl in his sitting room – used to scare the you know what out of us!

madmommy

November 4th, 2010
7:35 am

This is just silly. Have a backbone and tell your children no every once in a while. I tell my daughter no all the time and even though we could “purchase” everything she wants, what is that going to teach her? Nothing. Take the kids to the zoo and have them explain why animals such as these need to be out in the wild and not in your home as a pet.

JJ

November 4th, 2010
8:01 am

Ummmmm NO!!!! stupid stupid stupid. I agree 100% with Shaggy.

Photius

November 4th, 2010
8:10 am

The topics are degenerating….. ZZZZZZZZZZZ

David S

November 4th, 2010
8:12 am

Wild animals, especially birds do not belong in cages of any kind. Teach your child to respect nature and not to imprison it (that goes for zoos either). A child that grows up with no respect for the sanctitiy of animal life will show no respect for human life either. We can see the results of that all around us.

TechMom

November 4th, 2010
8:52 am

Seriously? Just proves that some people should not be parents. And really, how many owls have been caught for kids?

We’ve had our fair share of ‘pets’ over the years: hamster, a myriad of fish, a couple of lizards and geckos and of course our 2 dogs. Nothing too unusual.

My husband’s aunt has a pot-bellied pig. At first I pictured a cute little “Babe” type pig. NOPE. The thing is huge and grunts and whines. Ick. I can’t believe they keep that thing in their house.

TechMom

November 4th, 2010
8:53 am

In a bizarrely related story, a baby was attacked by a pair of raccoons and now police are investigating whether the people were keeping them inside as pets:
http://www.ajc.com/news/raccoons-attack-baby-in-716139.html

JATL

November 4th, 2010
8:56 am

Good grief! That’s one of the dumber things I’ve heard in awhile,and given the news everyday, that’s saying a lot! We LOVE owls at our house. My husband has always loved them and has wildlife photographs of them in his office. Keep one as a pet -NO! Why, in anyone’s mind, would it be okay to take a large, carnivorous, nocturnal bird that needs a large area to fly over and keep it in a cage as a pet? The only way this should ever be permissible anywhere is for certified wildlife rehab centers and people who know what they’re doing to take injured owls, let them heal and return them to the wild. If an owl cannot be returned to the wild, I have no problem with a wildlife specialist keeping it to use for educational purposes so idiots like these realize what a terrible idea it is to have one as a pet!

JATL

November 4th, 2010
9:03 am

The craziest pet I ever owned was a guinea pig. My mom was SO excited (read -horrified) when I won him at a school raffle! We took great care of him though, and he lived to be 8! Dogs and cats, people -maybe the occasional rabbit or rodent if you want, but owls? I also agree with Shaggy -these morons who keep large, wild animals and snakes for pets REALLY make me angry.

When I was about 7, we found a large owl just sitting in our driveway one morning. My Dad said not to touch it or bother it, and he went out to “inspect” the situation. The owl just sat there -in that same spot -the ENTIRE day! Of course I was fascinated and kept riding my Big Wheel around it. At the time I didn’t know this, but my Dad told my Mother that if the owl was still there after night fall, he would “take care of it” because it was obviously sick or injured, but when the sun started setting, it suddenly took off! So strange -it was really sunny that day, and I just remember it sitting, stock still, and watching me. We never could figure out what the deal was -why it sat in our driveway for an entire day -but it is a really cool memory from my childhood. Of course I wanted to keep it as a pet, and of course my parents weren’t igmos -so they said, “NO!”

FCM

November 4th, 2010
9:13 am

Slight spoiler alert:

Anyone who read the whole series will tell you that like most “technology” owls, like toads before them, are going out of style. Wands…and a certain Patronos Charm lead the way of communication….much like Muggle Cell Phones.

Although Hedwig makes for a beautiful owl—in the books and in the movies.

As to capturing these wild creatures….India should leave them alone and tend to the impoverished conditions illumanted in Slumdog Millionaire. Wild animals do NOT make pets.

As for me….I am on count down to Nov 19th and the latest installment of the movie opening.

bunch of yentas

November 4th, 2010
9:20 am

I knew a guy with a hunting falcon as a kid. The bird seemed really happy and well trained, but no, I would never trap a wild animal for my own personal pleasure.

bunch of yentas

November 4th, 2010
9:25 am

On a related note; I want to commend Fulton County Commissioner Pitts for trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to ban the use of Elephant Bullhooks in Fulton County.

Had the ban passed, it would have essentially rid the city of the Ringling Brother’s Traveling Animal Abuse Show.

Even in hard economic times, you have to have principles and allowing these people to trap and abuse Elephants, which are among the most intellegent creatures on Earth to entertain you is creepy.

Lori

November 4th, 2010
9:26 am

NO. I do not think it is right to have any kind of wild animal. I don’t personally like the “non-wild” exotic pets either. An owl is a raptor that needs to be wild, it needs to hunt. In addition, they are nocturnal, so it’s needs are not going to be met by any normal daily routine. Anyone who captures wild animals for pets should be arrested!!! You hear so many horror stories about bad things happening to people who own exotic pets. But in addition, the animals welfare needs to be considered too. Keeping something like that is selfish, since you can’t possible provide it the lifestyle in needs.

shaggy

November 4th, 2010
10:16 am

bunch of yentas,

Personally, i believe circuses and zoos should be forbidden to keep elephants. The only exception should be where enough suitable land has been set aside for a sanctuary, and that would be a large piece of real estate. I have heard on only one sanctuary like this in the US and none anywhere else outside of their original, and shrinking, habitat. Same goes for big cats, bears, migrating animals, and of course all birds, except domestic fowl.

Since little Jimmy would be bored by watching a circus without animals, and the parents surely are not going to tell him the truth, sadly, that ain’t going to happen.

The zoos make money, or they don’t exist. Don’t kid yourself about altruistic motives. They exist to make money by displaying animals and big animals pack em in. Funding animal research and habitat restoration are purely a side line.
Next time you go to a zoo or a circus, just look into the animals eyes. Remember that look, go and find a photo of the same animal, and see the difference.

shaggy

November 4th, 2010
10:19 am

“go and find a photo of the same animal”

I should ahve written: “go and find a photo of the same animal taken in the wild”

bunch of yentas

November 4th, 2010
10:37 am

I am with you shaggy. My family does not go to any circus with these animals.

I have heard that the Big Apple Circus doesn’t use any animals except for a couple of horses.

JJ

November 4th, 2010
10:48 am

May I hijack this blog?

I need some ideas. Every year I go on girlfriend weekend. Next year will be our 10th year, and I need some ideas for a theme. We have been princesses, pirates, we did a scavenger hunt, and last year we did olympics.

Does anyone have any ideas? There has to be some sort of competition, and there are 20 women involved. Please help me.

David S

November 4th, 2010
11:07 am

Glad to read all the comments against circuses and zoos. Maybe society is improving and becomming sensitive to the cruelty it inflicts on other species.

JATL

November 4th, 2010
11:12 am

@JJ -favorite literary characters or characters from movies or television shows usually motivate people to do a pretty good job with costumes and whatnot.

catlady

November 4th, 2010
11:44 am

No and no. Not fair to the creature, whom God created for the wild. Not fair to the child, especially if they get bitten (as I have) by the owl. The vet brought a young owl to our school from the rehabilitative wildlife refuge. I was putting it back in its cage when it decided it had had enough, and bit almost to the bone on my finger. Blood, possible infection, stitches…you want to chance that?

Also gives a child the idea that anything they want they can have, even that which was ordained by our Creator to be in the wild, and not for the amusement of people.

catlady

November 4th, 2010
11:45 am

Read the book “The Dragonling” with your child.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 4th, 2010
12:00 pm

Hey Photius and others — I am searching for my Fun Friday topic for tomorrow — If you guys have any bright ideas send them to me — ajcmomania@gmail.com — At this point I’m thinking about discussing sexy men off of People.com — they are getting ready to announce their sexiest man alive and they have bunches of galleries — So please feel free to give me a fun friday topic!!

deidre_NC

November 4th, 2010
1:23 pm

well said shaggy…this is ridiculous….my ex had an owl fly into his truck on the way home one night….he brought it inside to make sure it was ok…it was dazed and confused…but soon was fine..out the door he flew away…it was pretty cool…and i was really glad it was only stunned for a bit.

deidre_NC

November 4th, 2010
1:28 pm

i agree with shaggy…i hate to see animals in captivity…i do love to see them…they are beautiful…but i hate the fact that they are so contained. it goes totally against every free spirit feeling in me. as for circuses…they should be outlawed. i agree with wildlife sanctuarys where hurt animals can be fixed etc…

Jimmy Dean

November 8th, 2010
8:57 pm

Might I suggest children who have a love of owls spend a summer or school holiday assisting a licensed falconer or wildlife rehabilitator While not all falconers have owls, those that do fly and care for them daily, and have all the poop, mouse guts, and owl pellets to bring the reality of the animal to a child’s life (Such owls fly freely outdoors with the choice to fly away if they want. Very different from a caged “pet.”). Many licensed wildlife rehabilitators keep non-releasable foster parent owls for the rehabilitation of injured or orphaned owlets during the Spring and Summer. One of the highlights of my teen-hood was feeding, flying, and caring for owls that SOMEONE ELSE legitimately kept and humanely provided for. Rather than saying “no, never, it’s wrong to keep animals in captivity,” why not say “oh look, through this licensed person we can help keep baby owls so they go home to the woods” and create a meaningful experience for a youth instead of narrowing down what they can and can’t do to television and homework.