Q:

How do owls adapt to their environment?

A:

Quick Answer

Owls have many adaptations that allow them to survive in their chosen habitats. As nocturnal hunters, they are particularly well-adjusted to darkness and quiet environments so that they can find and capture prey. These adaptations are mainly physical, but there are also behavioral factors.

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Full Answer

One crucial adaptation of the owl that allows it to be a very successful hunter is its ability to fly silently. The shape of an owl's wing feathers is slightly fringed, which muffles the sound of air passing around the wings. This allows owls to sneak up quietly on their prey. Owls are also well-insulated by their feathers, allowing them to sit and wait for prey without moving for long periods of time.

The owl also is equipped with excellent hearing. This is crucial, because the owl is a nocturnal hunter. Being able to hear very well gives owls an advantage at night and in very dark conditions. Owls' eyesight is excellent as well, as they have a large number of special cells called rods that are extremely sensitive to low light. This helps them see their prey from a distance in minimal light conditions.

The owl's neck is extremely flexible; it has the ability to turn its neck nearly all the way around. This unique adaptation allows owls to locate sounds accurately from a great distance, which, added to its excellent eyesight and acute hearing, gives the owl the upper hand on even its sneakiest prey.

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Related Questions

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    What do owls symbolize?

    A:

    Owls have been used in various artistic, mythological and literary traditions to symbolize concepts such as wisdom, magic, nighttime, protection and awareness. For example, the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena, was often seen accompanied by owls.

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  • Q:

    In what countries can snowy owls be found?

    A:

    Snowy owls can normally be found in Canada, Russia, the northern parts of the United States, Greenland, Iceland, northern China, the United Kingdom and the Scandinavian countries. They breed in the Arctic circle and travel into the southern parts of their overall range during the winter.

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  • Q:

    How much do owls weigh?

    A:

    Owl weight varies among species but most adult owls weigh between 1.5 ounces and 9 pounds. Elf owls, the smallest owls in the world, reach a very short height and weigh much less than the largest owl breed, the Eurasian eagle owl. In the United States, common Barn owls range in weight from just 8 ounces to over 3 pounds, while larger snowy owls maintain adult weights of 3.5 to 6.5 pounds.

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  • Q:

    What eats owls?

    A:

    The main animals that eat owls include foxes, cats, birds of prey like eagles and sometimes other foraging animals such as raccoons. Owls tend to be at the top of the food chain, and the bigger ones especially tend to have few predators. Other owls sometimes kill owls, but usually over disputes for territory and not as food.

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