Do Owls Eat Worms? (Are Earthworms Part of Their Diet?)

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The classification “Birds of Prey” includes owls. That implies they’ll have to pursue other animals for their survival because owls come in various kinds that live in multiple areas of the planet. As a result, owls’ nutrition is heavily influenced by their environment and circumstances.

So, do owls eat worms? Yes owls eat worms for their survival in the wild. But the list of their prey isn’t limited to just small earthworms; they need to eat a variety of other medium sized and larger animals to satisfy their appetite such as:

  • small mammals
  • fish
  • snails
  • crabs
  • amphibians
  • spiders
  • small birds
  • reptiles
  • other vertebrates
  • and many other small insects or animals that fill their food quota.

Its breed determines the food of an owl. Screech owls and scops owls, for example, are tiny owl types with a diet that includes small invertebrates.

Which Worms Do Owls Eat in The Wild?

Since owls are always on the hunt for survival, they must kill prey to fulfill their diet. And for that, owls will usually eat anything, and owls hunt prey as small as earthworms for their survival.

Since other worms are not readily available for owls to feast upon in the wild, apart from earthworms, they rarely miss with the few opportunities they get.

The owl species primarily determine the primary food source.

For instance, screech and scops owls consume insects mostly, but long eared owls and barn owls eat voles, shrews, and mice. (These owls feed on unsuspecting earthworms who venture into a barn too)

For the more giant owls like the eagle owl, their diet includes juvenile foxes, rabbits, game birds, and ducks are prey.

Several kinds of fish owl (Ketupa), such as African Fishing Owls and Asian Fish Owls (Scotopelia), concentrate on hunting fish (unsurprisingly!).

Even though some owl types have specific dietary specializations, many owls are predatory and eat whichever prey is accessible.

Do Owls in Captivity Eat Earthworms or Other Worms?

While the wild owl will feast on a variety of animals for their survival. The animals they hunt primarily depend on the type of owl you are referring to.

They might opt for larger prey such as rabbits, fishes, ducks, and they even eat birds!

But when the owl is in captivity, one prey that is most accessible to owls are earthworms, and they make for great owl food. The earthworms are full of protein that adds nutritional value to the owl’s diet.

Owls are carnivorous species that can eat entire rodents such as mice, tiny bunnies, guinea pigs, quail, and tiny chicks.

Food items for captive owls are generally farmed and are either fed to the owl alive to try and keep its wild instincts intact or some food like dead chicks are a refrigerator and defrosted before feeding to the owl.

One thing is for sure, captive owl owners must work hard to fulfill their complicated nutritional demands and keeping them as a “pet” is definitely not recommended.

Owls usually are only kept when there is no other choice, such as being rescued or injured.

As one would expect, seeing an owl brutally kill other animals, let alone participating in it many times per day, is not a pleasurable experience for most people when feeding an owl.

Because owls are opportunistic, like other animals, trying to clean up the mess following eating is yet another task that almost all people would find unpleasant.

Owls have a beak and talons developed particularly for cutting and shredding portions of meat as eaters.

They are likely to cause significant harm to their prey and even human owners when they are dissatisfied for whatever purpose.

They can be violent and may quickly shred apart everything in their confinement when unhappy.

What Do Owls Eat in the Wild?

Owls could only consume the foodstuff that they discover in their native environment in the wilderness.

They are aggressive predators who will try to eat whatever creature they encounter (within reason, of course), such as other species of owl and birds and small mammals like wood mice, wild rats, invertebrates, snakes, and other reptiles and amphibians.

Whenever they come across a fresh corpse, owls may also likewise try to consume it.

What Do Baby Owls Eat?

The young owls are known as owlets. Their parents, the larger owls will regurgitate meals or feed young ones small prey when they are young hatchlings.

These young ones will consume similar meals as their parents as they get older and larger, increasing their diet range to even include large mammals.

Young owls may consume entire prey, but, when nursing an abandoned owlet, it’s preferable to chop it down into smaller pieces.

How Do Owls Eat Their Prey?

Mandibles and jaws are not present in many animals; therefore, they cannot chew their prey. As a result, they must eat/swallow their meal completely. Smaller prey is consumed whole right away.

Owls, on the other extreme, while they also can’t chew, will shred their prey into smaller pieces and afterward ingest those chunks…Not a pretty sight.

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How Much Do Owls Eat?

Owls consume more in some months compared to in other months. In comparison to tiny owls, obviously the larger owls will eat more.

An owl can devour 25-30% of its body mass each day as a general rule of the thumb.

The elf owls, on the other hand, are an exception to the norm. These owls are birds that have a quicker metabolic rate and require up to a whopping 50% of their body mass in food each day!

Their large appetite which drives them to forage frequently to eat at regular intervals.

Each day, an adult barn owl may consume two small mammals and birds.

Snowflake owls living in confined areas are fed 200-400 grams of lemmings every day. At least once every day, owls must consume something.

An adult Snowy owl can actually eat lemmings at a rate of around 3 to 5 every day! That’s over 1,500 lemmings in a year. No wonder they like to walk off cliffs…beats being shredded to pieces by an owl.


So, yes owls eat worms. We are hopeful you know the answer to that by now. But earthworms are likely not to be the most substantial of prey items that an owl is known to eat. They simply need more.

It’s evident that owls are carnivores who feast on larger and smaller prey such as hares, baby foxes, squirrels, snakes, snails, vertebrates, and earthworms will be among the smallest creatures that owls hunt.

They are voracious bird species that must be fed once per day to stay sharp and active in their search for further survival.

Ever wondered which other animals/insects eat Worms? “Do snakes eat worms?or “Do lizards eat worms?or “Do ducks eat worms?” Find out all and more in our other articles.