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Do Owls Eat Rabbits? All You Need To Know

Owl Eating Rabbit in wild forest

Do Owls Eat Rabbits? 

Owls occur in a variety of sizes, ranging from the tiniest tiny owl to the world’s largest owl, the eagle owl. As a result, owls have a diverse diet that includes a variety of foods, but do rabbits play a role in their diet?

Rabbits are a valuable source of food for almost all owl species. The majority of owls (including the screech and tiny owls) will consume little and young rabbits, whereas larger owls such as barn owls, barred owls, hawk owls, and great horned owls will hunt adult and larger rabbits.

Owls are opportunist hunters, which means they eat everything they can find, which regrettably includes wild rabbits as well as many other small rodents and large animals.

Owl Eating Rabbit in the wild

They’re also mainly nocturnal, which means they spend the majority of their time hunting at night. Owls are very successful predators because of their outstanding eyesight, hearing, speed, accuracy, and patience.

Because of the wide variation of sizes across owl species, each can carry a varied amount of weight. The great horned owl, for instance, can carry up to four times its own body weight.

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This means they can easily transport even the largest rabbits and hares. Wild rabbits weigh around 4 pounds (1.8 kg) on average, whereas hares weigh about 9 pounds (4 kg).

How Do Owls Hunt Rabbits?

When owls are out in the open eating grass, they will mostly hunt and catch rabbits. They usually sit on a branch and calmly wait. The owl will stealthily swoop down and strike the poor naive rabbit with powerful and sharp claws if the rabbit is not alerted.

Flying owl looking for pray

These talons are frequently employed to kill rabbits by crushing their heads and ripping them apart while they eat.

In general, owls will devour their prey on the spot unless they are hunting for their young, in which case they will take it back to the nest.

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Do Owls Eat Pet Rabbits?

When it comes to your pet rabbit, you don’t need to be concerned about owls in general. If you want to be extra cautious, place your rabbit in a hutch with a roof to keep predators at bay.

The predation of domestic rabbits by owls is exceedingly unusual, although it can happen in severe situations. Because owls and other birds of prey that eat rabbits are often afraid of humans, this is most likely to happen in rural areas—again, only under severe situations.

Barn Owl Eating Meat piece

 

Hutches are the greatest form of protection for your pet rabbit, but security lighting and noise may also be effective deterrents. For example, if an owl lands in your yard near your rabbit, creating noise will drive it away because owls are scared of people.

Do Owls Eat Hares?

Hares and rabbits are also eaten by owls in a similar manner. Smaller owls will pursue baby and smaller hares again, while bigger owls will hunt adult and larger hares.

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How Do Owls Digest Rabbit?

Owls cannot chew their food, like other birds. When they hunt for rabbit, they either swallow it whole or tear it into smaller pieces to swallow. Although they can swallow bones, teeth, fur, and feathers, that doesn’t mean they can digest them. These undigestible things come out in their pellets, which they regurgitate from their mouths. Some owl species partially pluck feathered prey.

Owl Eating small animal

Are Rabbits Afraid Of Owls?

Rabbits are prey animals. They have a natural dislike of predators like owls. This fear helps them survive, but it can also be mimicked to keep the animal away from your grass or plants.

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That said, rabbits do learn, so if you put up a scare owl, it may deter rabbits for a while, but they will eventually determine that the item is not a threat and they will return to eat your seedlings and lawn patch.

How To Keep Rabbit Safe From Owls?

If you are looking to protect your rabbits from predatory owls, your best bet is to provide them with cover. Domestic rabbits should be kept in a hutch or cage at night because these provide overhead protection. They can also provide a barrier against foxes and other wild animals that would consider your rabbit to be a tasty treat.

rabbits in cage

Do Owls Attack And Eat Rabbits?

Owls are highly skilled hunters, and they do enjoy eating small mammals and other small prey. Some species of owl are large enough to take down an adult rabbit and carry it away, and almost all are capable of killing a kitten rabbit.

What Do Owls Eat?

Owls eat other animals, from small insects such as moths or beetles, to large birds, even as large as an Osprey. A few species of owls mostly eat fish, such as Ketupa (fish-owl) and Scotopelia (fishing-owl) species, found in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, respectively.

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Owls spend much of their active time hunting for food. The Snowy Owl, for example, may have to try quite a few times, but can catch three to five lemmings a day.

snowy Owl Eating animals

List of Foods That Owls Eat

  • Screech Owl: Insects, rodents, snails, slugs, amphibians, fish
  • Golden-masked Owl: Insects, rodents, rabbits, and birds
  • Snowy Owl: Lemmings, voles, and fish
  • Great Horned Owl: Scorpions, snakes, and other reptiles
  • Barn Owl: Birds, fish, rodents, and other small mammals
  • Tawny Owl: Insects, mice, voles
  • Little Owl: Earthworms, beetles, and other invertebrates, small birds, and small mammals
  • Barred Owl: Insects and other invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, other birds, mice, rabbits, and other mammals
  • Long-eared Owl: Reptiles, small birds, and rodents
  • Short-eared Owl: Field voles and other small mammals, birds
  • Eagle Owl: Birds, hares, and foxes
  • Long-eared Owl: Field voles, wood mice, bank voles, birds
  • Burrowing Owl: Small insects, small vertebrates, small mammals

Do Owls Eat Rats?

It is common knowledge among owl experts that many species are opportunistic and will feast on any kind of meat they can get their talons on. One species notorious for eating carrion (rotting meat) is the great horned owl (Bubo virginianus). However, given an opportunity, it will happily eat fresh meat. The barn owl (Tyto alba) has even been known to attack small dogs if it smells blood.

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Do Owls Eat Mice?

Small rodents make up a large part of a barn owl’s diet. They are also easy to hunt and can fit in a barn owl’s mouth easily. The common rodents, including ground mice, have a fat content that makes them ideal for an owl looking to pack on some extra pounds. A wide variety of mice can be found on a barn owl’s menu.

Brown owl eating mice

Do Owls Eat Birds?

There are many birds in a range of sizes that make for fine owl snacks. Some common species include chickadees, sparrows, and robins. Owls also enjoy woodpeckers, larks, crows, blackbirds and pigeons. Wood ducks and turkeys can also be tasty morsels for your local owl population.

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Do Owls Eat Insects?

From grasshoppers to large locusts, there’s a huge range of insects that make up an owl’s diet. In fact, many species depend on insects for survival. Owls may even eat more insects than mammals in some parts of the world! Because they don’t have teeth, an owl must swallow its prey whole or tear it into small pieces and then swallow them. An owl regurgitates any indigestible parts like bones or fur in pellets.

Do Owls Eat Snakes?

You’d think that with a name like snake-eater, snakes would be at top of owl diet charts. And, indeed, many owls do devour these limbless reptiles. But not all snakes are created equal.

Do Owls Eat Turtles?

When it comes to hunting, an owl’s strongest asset is its eyesight. Its wide field of vision allows it to spot a variety of small prey as they move through their environment. From there, it can swoop down and carry them away with ease—even catching creatures on land using its talons. Owls are also effective underwater hunters, and can sometimes even catch fish.

Owl eating rat

Do Owls Eat Lizards?

Some owl species live on small insects and spiders, but many rely heavily on lizards as a primary food source. While most large owls are powerful enough to kill their own prey, they’ll readily dine on any lizard they can snatch up. In fact, an owl’s talons are so strong and so precise they’re able to grab even darting lizards out of trees.

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Do Owls Eat Frogs?

Frogs are common prey for many types of owl. Many frogs, especially smaller species and tadpoles, can make up a large part of an owl’s diet. Owls have even been known to feed on larger frog species including bullfrogs, goliath frogs and cane toads. Frogs are generally nocturnal, so they aren’t often hunted by diurnal (daytime) birds like few owls species.

Owl captured rat in his claws

Do Owls Eat Geckos?

Owls have a variety of prey in their diet, but one animal they’re known to feast on is geckos. If you see one peeking around your windows at night, don’t be alarmed—just make sure you keep your doors closed! In general, geckos are harmless creatures and won’t cause any problems for you. However, there are some types that carry salmonella.

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Do Owls Eat Skinks?

Skinks are an often overlooked type of lizard. However, they’re one of the main foods eaten by owls in places like New Zealand and Australia. The patterned skink is especially good to have around if you have a pet owl, since it’s one of their favorite foods.

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1 thought on “Do Owls Eat Rabbits? All You Need To Know”

  1. I found the back half of a large rabbit carcass
    It was turned inside out
    No meat left on it legs and top half missing
    What would have done this as I see coyote scat and there is always fur in it
    Like they eat the whole body

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