KTSM Goes Wild: Great horned owls help keep rodent population down

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — When on high alert, the great horned owl will stick up its ears. Except those aren’t ears at all — those are feathers.

“Those little feathers, ear tuffs are what give them that name. A lot of people think those are their ears, but their ears are actually behind their eye sockets, so those are just little feathers that do stick up,” said Rivera. “You do see them up in their trees and if you have rodents in your area, if you have any pests-type animals, this is the solution for that. Having these birds of prey flying around and being about to catch some of those animals.”

The El Paso Zoo Education Center introduced KTSM 9 News to a great horned owl living on site. His name is Archimedes and he helps children and adults alike learn about his species by being an ambassador.

“He’s been at the zoo for about a year-and-a-half. He actually came to us through our rehab center, he did come to us with an injury. The doctors did discover that he does have almost complete vision loss,” said Heather Rivera, the Zoo’s education specialist.

These owls can see 8 to 10 times better than humans.

“A little game that we like to play with the kids when they come and visit is you put something out and maybe like a spool of thread and you walk away from it, Once you can’t see it anymore with your eyes, then you measure that. you multiply that times 8 or 10. You know that would be how far one of these birds can see. And they can see very well at night,” said Rivera.

You can find out more about these great horned owls at The El Paso Zoo Education Center by visiting their website.

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