Are Owls Dangerous To Humans, Dogs, And Cats?

are owls dangerous

Owls are some of the most fascinating and mysterious birds in the world.

Some people say they see them as a symbol of wisdom and knowledge, while others say they are harbingers of bad luck. 

But, there is another group of people who think that because of their looks and the way they stare (glaring) at you, owls might be dangerous. 

Are these animals really as scary as we make them out to be? Let’s find out!

Does an Owl Attack Humans?

This is a tricky question to answer. 

In general, they are known to be very docile and shy, which means that you’ll see them slip away into the darkness as soon as they sense human presence. They might surprise you though if they spot their prey – mice, small birds, frogs – near your house. 

These animals are known to swoop down on unsuspecting rodents for dinner, but will never attack humans unless they feel threatened or provoked.

What happens if an owl feels threatened by humans?

In the case of smaller owl species, they are very scared of humans and therefore likely to fly away from any perceived danger. However, the larger bird species are seen to be more comfortable in close proximity with people so they might attack if provoked or threatened by someone who wants to hurt them.

However, it is very unlikely an owl will attack a grown adult who is not trying to hassle them, so most people are safe from their claws – even if they approach one with bad intentions.

In a worst-case scenario when an owl goes for an attack, it might scratch or peck you with its claws, but shouldn’t do any serious damage.

Are owls aggressive when protecting their nests, eggs, and young?

Yes, this is a definite yes! 

Owls are very attached to their eggs and young, so if they see any potential threat nearby, they will go for an attack. Usually it’s just a lot of flapping and loud noises to distract you from the nest but sometimes the larger bird species might swoop down upon you and scratch or peck you with their beak or claws.

It is advised that adults should never go near an owl’s nest, because some owl species are known to be very aggressive when they feel their young are being threatened.

Are owls mean to humans if cornered or trapped?


Owls have been known to attack people who corner them or try to capture them so if you see one land in your yard, don’t trap it or corner it. You can get rid of them by simply chasing them off with a broom, but don’t try to capture them because they might attack you in self-defense.

are owls dangerous

What to do if an owl attacks you?

In case an owl goes for an attack (scratching and pecking), you should be able to deter them by simply flapping your hands or waving a broom at them. It’s likely that they will leave you alone after this, but if not – try again!

Owls are very intelligent animals and usually know when someone is trying to fend off an attack. If they feel like you’re serious about protecting yourself, they’ll get the message and leave you alone.

How can you protect yourself from an attack?

The answer to this is pretty much the same as when you are asked how to stay safe around any wild animal. Keep your distance, don’t provoke them if you are in their territory and always look out for signs of nearby presence.

Are Owls Dangerous if raised in captivity?

It depends on the type of species involved. The smaller ones are likely to remain skittish around humans, but owls like barn owls and long-eared owls have been known to get more comfortable around people who keep them as pets. 

In fact, some species have been trained by people to hunt rodents on farms or perform in shows.

These are usually not dangerous unless they feel threatened, but the general rule of thumb is still to always keep your distance from them. Try not to corner them and move away if you see one land nearby.

Do Owls Attack Dogs and Cats?

Owls are known to hunt rodents like rats and mice, so if you have a cat or small dog nearby it is possible they will go for an attack.

It should be noted that owls only go for the kill if the animal they’re hunting is too slow to escape – i.e. something like a mouse or young rat.

It is unlikely that an adult cat or even a small dog would be killed by an owl, but it’s not impossible, so if you live in an area where owls are known to hang around – just be careful!

are owls dangerous

Are Owls Dangerous to Livestock?

An unfortunate truth about this issue is that owls have been involved in several livestock attacks. In rural areas where small farms lie, owls have been known to attack chickens and other poultry animals.

If you have a pen full of chickens in your backyard you might want to keep an eye on them, because if owls spot an opportunity – they will go for it.


Can an owl kill a human?

Owls have sharp claws and beaks which can certainly injure a human, but there is no truth to the popular internet rumor that owls are capable of killing people.

In fact, the only species of owls known to attack people are Snowy Owls, Eagle Owls and Great Horned Owls. None of these would even try to attack unless they felt threatened – so you really don’t have anything to worry about!

What if an owl attacks my pet?

It depends on the type of pet you have. If it’s a small rodent like a rat, mouse or hamster – they might be unlucky enough to get caught by an owl. This is why it’s important to always keep your distance from owls and avoid surprising them if possible.

In case an owl attacks your pet, you should be able to scare them off by flapping your hands or waving a broom at them. If they approach again, do the same thing and try not to corner them because it’s likely they will only come back if they feel threatened.

Do owls eat cats?

Owls are normally not aggressive towards pets but some species like Eagle Owls, Snowy Owls, and Great Horned Owls have been known to attack animals which get too close.

As far as cats go, it depends on the size of the owl in question. An eagle owl – which is known for attacking small livestock – might be able to kill a cat with one swoop of their claws, but it’s unlikely that any other species of owls will go after cats unless they are threatened or are hunting another animal nearby.

Are owls birds of prey?

Owls are predatory animals which means they eat other smaller animals. They are similar to eagles or hawks in that way, but they are not technically classified as birds of prey due to the fact that their claws aren’t sharp enough to rip meat off bones with ease.

Birds of prey are animals like eagles, falcons, and owls which use their sharp claws to hunt down prey. Birds of prey also have strong beaks which can tear the meat off bones with ease, so owls don’t quite fit the bill when it comes to this classification.

In Conclusion

Owls are not known to attack people or pets, but they will defend themselves if cornered. You should never touch an owl unless you have the proper training and equipment, so be careful on your next hike! 

And don’t forget to share this article with all of your friends who love owls as much as we do!