Do Owls Eat Foxes? πŸ¦‰ vs 🦊

Large owls – such as Great Horned Owls and Eagle Owls – certainly will and do eat foxes. There are only a handful of species large enough to do this though.

Why Do Owls Eat Foxes?

Owls are classed as a Bird Of Prey – a carnivore – so by their nature they need to eat other animals to survive.

Owls often have their niche, and eat certain types of animals best suited to their habitat, size, or abundance. So the larger the owl – the larger the prey they can eat. Therefore, some of the largest owls in the world can easily catch and eat animals the size of a fox – and these include the Great Horned Owl from the U.S.. A species of owl know to eat virtually anything that moves – and which will also eat stuff that stays still (it sometimes eats carrion when hungry).

Needless to say – something that will catch and eat skunks, cottonmouth snakes, swans and even bobcats – will have no problem or worries about attacking a fox. Most Red Fox attacks are pups at the entrance to dens – but they will take adult Swift Foxes too.

Would A Fox Eat An Owl?

Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)

Yes, it will. The roles can be reversed where there are smaller owls – especially ground-dwelling species. Foxes are more likely to eat owl eggs than live owls, but if the opportunity arises – and/or the fox is very hungry or has pups to feed – then these things become more likely. Differing circumstances can turn the tables.

There have been stories of owl attacks on foxes backfiring and the fox fights back. It may not start out with the intention of making a meal of the owl – but if the circumstances are right – then the fox could well be going home to the family very happy indeed.

What Other Animals Do Owls Eat?

Eagle owl eating small chicken

Depending on the size of the owl, their habitat, and the season – owls eat a wide range of foods from insects to deer. Some owls have even specialized in fishing for a living and only catch from the water.

Small owls such as the Burrowing Owl and Elf Owl tend to eat insects, arthropods, and sometimes small rodents such as mice and voles – whereas Barn Owls and Saw-Whet Owls feed almost exclusively on these. Spotted Owls will take larger animals including squirrels, bats, amphibians and reptiles, and giants like the Great Grey Owl who prefer pocket gophers but will eat hares, weasels, jays and ducks too.

Barred Owls will eat a huge range of foods including snakes, terrapins, crayfish, actual fish and other owls – and the Great Horned Owl will do all the same, but you can add on a huge number of larger mammals including skunks, porcupines and young beavers.

Can Owls Attack Cats and Dogs?

Yes, Owls can attack cats and dogs. Being birds of prey – owls don’t mind what they catch and eat – as long as it is easy to catch.

Most dog attacks happen at night when the dog is unattended in a garden or park. Obviously, dogs and cats are often easier than wild mammals to catch as they don’t have a fear of open spaces – something that creates perfect conditions for a silent-flying aerial predator with a 3ft wingspan.

Owls will also attack dogs and cats in defense if they approach an active nest site too closely. Owls will attack anything that comes too close though – including bears and mustelids – so dogs and cats get the same reaction. They are only protecting their young – so you can’t blame them.

Would An Owl Attack A Human?

It has happened that owls attack humans – although it is a very rare occurrence to have an unprovoked owl attack. Usually, these stories are reported during the nesting season where proximity triggers a reaction. They instantly subside as soon as the young have fledged.

There are a few rare stories where a rogue owl in an urban area starts to exhibit a range of new behaviors which can include stealing hats, attacking joggers, and swooping down on people. Usually, these don’t result in serious injury but owls often attack the face of a human first – and with those giant talons – it doesn’t take much to cause a serious injury – especially to the eyes.

Be wary indeed around nests if you live in a high risk area!