Q:

What do owls symbolize?

A:

Quick Answer

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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Full Answer

Different cultural traditions have used owls to symbolize different things. According to Kansas State University, the Native American Pawnee people saw owls as a symbol of protection, and other Native groups believed that owls were associated with the ability to see and hear through deception. The Athenian owl, the constant companion of the goddess Athena, has represented the concept of wisdom for centuries with contemporary educational institutions such as Rice University adopting the owl as both its mascot for sports and symbol for more formal associations.

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Related Questions

  • 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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  • Q:

    How do owls communicate?

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    Owls communicate using a variety of sounds. The sound depends upon the species of owl, and most species have multiple calls. The call of a species differs depending on distance and intent.

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  • Q:

    How do owls digest their food?

    A:

    Because owls eat their prey whole, they require a special digestive system consisting of a two-chambered stomach: the glandular stomach and gizzard. When an owl eats its prey, the prey first passes into the glandular stomach, where acids and enzymes begin to break down its fat, muscles and internal organs.

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