Snowy Owl

Latin Name Nyctea scandiaca
Class Aves
Order Strigiformes
Family Strigidae
IUCN status Least concern
Habitat Arctic tundra
Distribution Circumpolar regions above latitude 55degrees moving south in the winter even as far as Bermuda

General Information

This is a stunning large white owl with black markings and yellow eyes and is designed for a cold environment with fully feathered feet and feathered nasal area to keep it warm in the cold Arctic conditions.

The female is larger and more heavily marked than the male which gives her good camouflage when she lays her eggs in melting snow on ledges.

They feed on lemming, hares and birds up to duck size.

Fun Fact

Breeding is dependent on the food supply so in a “good lemming year” they have more young.

Snowy Owls can live up to 35 years and have very feathered feet for an owl as this keeps their feet warmer whilst walking in the snow!

Keeper Notes

The Snowy Owls are definitely a favourite on the Park. Herdi, the female, joined us in 2000 as a ex-pet found lost in the woods and handed in to the RSPCA. In 2003, she was joined by Orkney, a male, a local re-homed pet as he was ‘too noisy’ at night!

Herdi & Orkney are currently in the Aviary on the footpath toward the large Go Wild Play area, which was renovated over Summer 2016.