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What can I do about a large horned owl that I suspect has eaten five of our cats, suggestions please

-- Bruce Burdge (comfreybruce@richmond.com), July 09, 2001


Several things on the problem with the great-horned owl:

>Keep the cats indoors at night, when the owl does the majority of its hunting.

>Do not attempt to kill it! They are a federally protected species.

>Are you certain it is the owl doing the damages? Quite often, coyotes will decimate the local cat population, too.

Hope that helps - one of the advantages of having a Great Horned Owl in the area is that they will rid the neighborhood of skunks, one of their favorite prey species.

-- Judi (ddecaro@snet.net), July 09, 2001.

Are you sure it is the owl? We have one here that I frequently see on the peak of our big barn and he/she has never bothered the cats ( and we have several barn cats). Now I can't say the same for some vultures and hawks we have around here.

-- beckie (sunshine_horses@yahoo.com), July 09, 2001.

Recently, I posted about "funny" bites on my cats. One cat died of the injury. The bite was a three or four puncture wounds, one being deeper than the rest, with the fur being pulled out in a round shape around the wound. One poster said it was owls trying to carry off the cats and I think I agree. We caught one owl trying to carry off a half grown cat and I hear them in the trees at night. I can't house these cats as they are wild. About the only thing I can come up with is to shoot into the air at night to perhaps scare the owls off. I really don't want to kill them off, just invite them to live somewhere else.

-- Ardie from WI (ardie54965@hotmail.com), July 09, 2001.

You could try asking the agricultural authorities if it's possible to control or relocate owls. I'd go that way first, because they're more likely to be sympathetic than someone whose job it is to look after owls, even though those may be the ones who'd end up doing any relocation.

However, you imply that what you have is wildlife preying on wildlife - you said the cats were wild. Now, I have no love at all for feral cats, and while I realise these ones may not be quite feral, many of their offspring would be. I'm not really comfortable with cats so out-of-control that they can't be handled, and desexed when necessary, and in this case locked up for the night when necessary. I mean, what's the use of a cat that doesn't stroke you? I realise these ones would be doing a job of hunting rodents, but they'd also be doing a job of hunting anything they can catch. Cats are very efficient predators of birds and small wildlife. The owl may well be doing the best thing possible for your local wildlife.

-- Don Armstrong (darmst@yahoo.com.au), July 09, 2001.

capture that raskal and send him to me im over run with cats last ime i counted them was 27 and i dont have a cat. Bob se.ks.

-- Bobco (bobco@hit.net), July 09, 2001.

I could sure use an owl like that as there are too many feral cats around here and we have bee losing chicks and baby ducks to them.

-- Dan (hoppingator321@yahoo.com), July 09, 2001.

All species of raptors are federally protected, and all will prey on smallish cats, they see them as no different than any other prey animal. Get a large dog to protect the cats, we have all types of raptors here, but I also have a hundred pound Geraman Shepard that has free rein of the farm that knows all too well his job of protecting the animals, all the animals, even the barn cats. Signs of his effectiveness include three dead raccoons, numerous possums, and a large redtail hawk, all since early spring! There are usually no recent repeat "offenders", even wildlife has a quick learning curve and learn to avoid this area patrolled by Shep of the Sharp Teeth!

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (annie@1st.net), July 10, 2001.

My cats were not wild cats but tame, since the last cat is gone I have seen more snakes then ever, killed two copperheads close to house this past week.

-- Bruce Burdge (comfreybruce@richmond.com), July 10, 2001.

1. keep the cats indoors at night, as someone suggested earlier.

2. Be glad that owls are very good at keeping the mouse/vole populations in check.

-- Chelsea (rmbehr@istar.ca), July 10, 2001.

Can you convince some black snakes to move in any outbuildings you have to keep the pit viper population in check naturally? Black snakes are Mother Nature's pit viper deterrents and predators, yes, copperheads have predators, a big one in black snakes! We have always encouraged ( by not messing with, or removing or killing) black snakes to take up residence on our farm, I have even had to gently relocate a few young black snakes back outside after they had wandered inside by accident several times.

Wherever there are black snakes, there are no copperheads or rattlesnakes for very long

See if you can contact a wildlife relocator and let him/her know that you would be willing to accept relocated black snakes on your place anytime they have some.

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (annie@1st.net), July 10, 2001.

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