Habitat & Range
Snowy owls nest in the tundra of northern Alaska, Canada and Eurasia. They travel south during the winter to lower areas of Canada and prefer open areas that resemble tundra such as coastal dunes and prairies.
Male snowy owls are almost completely white, while females and young are interspersed with black plumage. Both sexes have bright yellow eyes and small, black beaks. As one of the largest species of owl, they measure between 20 and 28 inches long with a wingspan of approximately 4.5 feet. They can weigh anywhere between 3 and 7 pounds.
Snowy owls feed primarily on lemmings and small rodents during the breeding season. They are opportunistic hunters and, during the winter when food is scarce they rely on a variety of mammals and birds. Common prey includes muskrats, squirrels, deer mice, songbirds, pheasants and geese. On average, a single bird must capture 7 to 12 mice per day to meet its feeding requirements.
Reproduction & Lifespan
Snowy owl breeding season takes place in May. Depending on availability of food, females lay between 5 and 14 single eggs, averaging one egg every-other day over the course of a week. Eggs hatch approximately 5 weeks after they are laid, and both parents care for the young and defend the nest from predators.
A snowy owl living in the wild has an average lifespan of 9 years.
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