April 12, 2006


Lock up your pets... eagle owl on the loose (CAROL-ANN MACKENZIE AND EBEN HARRELL, 4/12/06, The Scotsman)

PET owners were yesterday warned to keep their animals indoors, after one of the largest predatory owls in the world escaped from captivity.

A European eagle owl - which stands 3ft tall and has a 5ft wingspan and 4in talons - escaped from a garden near Linlithgow, West Lothian, on Monday night and has not been seen since.

The owl has not eaten for two days, and police have advised residents to keep cats and dogs indoors. They have warned that an attack on an infant is also a possibility.

The owl, named Fergus, has been known to target pets in the past and has attacked Staffordshire bull terriers while exercising, its owner said.

Eagle owls are capable of carrying away cats, dogs and other small pets. Earlier this year, an escaped eagle owl in Norfolk attacked five dogs over a fortnight before being captured.

They don't call owls wise for nothin.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 12, 2006 8:03 AM

Poor little city boy.

Posted by: Genecis at April 12, 2006 9:13 AM

I'm willing to bet the owl HAS eaten in those two days.

Posted by: Shelton at April 12, 2006 9:16 AM

Do owls eat gecko lizards? If so, I think maybe it's time for me to take my son's for a walk down the street.

Posted by: Peter B at April 12, 2006 9:30 AM

This story is a real hoot. Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Posted by: AllenS at April 12, 2006 10:00 AM

This story is a real hoot.

Oh, wise guy, eh? Whoooo do you think you are, anyway?

Posted by: Mike Morley at April 12, 2006 10:44 AM

I like the cat part.

Posted by: Bruno at April 12, 2006 10:52 AM

May the mice nest in your underwear drawer Bruno.

Posted by: Genecis at April 12, 2006 12:19 PM

Kind of interesting from the legal point of view.

Traditionally, keepers of wild animals are strictly liable for the harm their pets cause. If your owl eats a dog, you've bought the dog, whether or not the owl has eaten dogs in the past, and whether or not it was your fault that the owl got away.

Posted by: Lou Gots at April 12, 2006 12:25 PM


I'd vote for that.

Posted by: Ptah at April 12, 2006 1:23 PM


Quite right, but as I'm sure you know, an owner of a domesticated animal is only liable if the cuddly little critter has a prior aggressive history. Did I ever tell you about my well-domesticated European eagle owl?

Posted by: Peter B at April 12, 2006 1:49 PM

Bruno, Please say it ain't true that you like the part about cats being eaten by the rogue bird.

Cats are evolution's crowning glory.

Posted by: erp at April 12, 2006 2:34 PM

If you hold the cats over your head the raptors will actually swoop down and take them....

Posted by: oj at April 12, 2006 2:38 PM


You really do like to try and torture poor erp, don't you? C'mon, she is far too smart to fall for that. She knows anyone with your encylopedic knowlede of recipes would never waste a good cat like that?

Posted by: Peter B at April 12, 2006 2:49 PM

I hate seafood and love sunflower seeds, so substitute squirrel for cat in recipes.

Posted by: oj at April 12, 2006 2:54 PM

Here in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland, coyotes play the same role, cutting down the excess population and small dogs. Authorities seem to approve.

Posted by: Jim Miller at April 12, 2006 5:33 PM

Peter B: I do not concur. The wild animal--snake, wolf, owl, whatever--never loses its legal wildness, no matter how well trained.

A sensible rule, actually, recognizing the primacy of instinct in animal behavior.

Posted by: Lou Gots at April 12, 2006 7:54 PM

Notice the last line, which mentions the Malfoy family and Harry Potter as if they're real.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at April 12, 2006 10:06 PM