Endangered Animals: The Snowy Owl

Endangered Animals: The Snowy OwlThe snowy owl is the northernmost species of owl, living on the Arctic tundra. Although not considered an endangered species, the snowy owl population has ties to the number of lemmings present in its Arctic environment.

Geography

The snowy owl will sometimes stay in the Arctic year round but also will spend winters as far south as Oklahoma and northern portions of Texas.

 
 

Effects

This large white owl with brown spots eats small mammals, fish and other birds. The lemming is one of its favorite foods, but when lemming numbers become low, the snowy owl must migrate in search of a steady food supply.

Threats

Snowy owls have protection from the Migratory Bird Species Act, but they frequently meet their demise through collisions with cars, power lines and hunters who illegally sell their eyes and feet to overseas markets.

Size

The largest snowy owls have a length of 28 inches with a wingspan of nearly 5 feet. They possess a sharp beak and talons, which they will defend their nests with from predators.

Behavior

Adults can kill and consume as many five lemmings in a day. This species builds its nest on the ground, making a depression in the ground into which the female will lay as many as 11 white eggs.

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