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Name: julia cassells
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
A Barred owl attacked me this evening. He attacked my >> head with his tallons. Do I need to be worried about any deseases? >> should I let the park service know or is this a ususal problem with owls?



Replies:
First of all, if you found that a wound occurred, please treat it and see a physician! Bacteria can be a issue with owl talons since they kill their prey with them. However, rabies should not be an issue for that occurs only in mammals.

I worked with Barred Owls for a number of years with a research endeavor. I have captured and handled them. I can say with great confidence that Barred Owls will not attack humans intentionally. There must have been a factor that fooled the owl as to your status.

Are you certain that it was not a Great Horned Owl? They too avoid human contact and it would be extremely unlikely that they would attack a human.

This incident is extremely unusually and I would not expect any Park official to act.

Steve Sample


Julia,

Any time you have an encounter with an animal where you think the skin might have been broken, you should call your physician for advice...this s especially true for wild animals. Although I would not want to create nxiety for you, you could imagine how perhaps a mouse could have been eld by those talons, and if any disease was present, this could be ransferred in this manner. If you describe the occurrence to your hysician, he or she could make the professional judgment if any care is eeded.

Thanks for using NEWTON

Richard R. Rupnik


Not a very usual thing at all - the only time I have heard of owls attacking people is when the person is VERY close to an active nest - like examining it or disturbing it. I assume you were not, and young owls would have long since fledged at this time of year. A naturalist in the area would probably like to hear about the incident. Any time skin is broken there is a danger of infection, wild animal bites and scratches frequently do become infected, but ordinary precautions - cleaning and antibiotic - are usually adequate.

J. Elliott



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