Thursday, June 17, 2010

Baby owl survives three days in lion’s cage

This is the moment a baby owl had a miracle escape after it fell from its nest into a zoo enclosure only to leave it face to face – with a lion.

The fluffy tawny owlet managed to survive for three days after it tumbled from a branch and landed inches from the killer lioness. Onlookers watched as the female Asiatic lion called ‘Indu’ eyed the surprise visitor – who weighed just a few grams.

The owl – who had not yet learned to fly – then spent three days in the enclosure near seven-year-old Indu and her mate. But amazingly she survived being eaten and after several clumsy efforts eventually managed to take off – and flew away to safety.

The incredible pictures were taken by retired teacher Sheila Hassanein, 64, who was visiting Paignton Zoo in Devon. Sheila said: ”Someone saw the chick fall out of a tree and it landed right in the lion enclosure. A big group of people quickly gathered round to watch.

”We were all very concerned about the owl as it looks completely helpless in there. It was so tiny compared to the lions. At one point one of the lions went over to it and I felt sure she was going to eat it, but she just didn’t seem bothered at all.

”The staff couldn’t go in there to remove the chick so it was in there for three days before it was able to fly off. It was very lucky to escape because I saw a pigeon land in there once and the lion ate it up straight away.”


annemarie said...

The Owl and the Pussycat

Arbroath said...

Heh heh!

Peach said...

Why couldn't the staff go in there? Can't they bring the lions into an inner enclosure? Don't they regularly clean the area? I don't understand?

Foreigner1 said...

Because lions get <span>very</span> possessive and thereby agressive when there's food or little owls in the enclosure...?

no said...

yay for lions - boo for deer

andiscandis said...

Cats are smart,  The lion knew the pigeon wasn't going to get any bigger, so she ate it.  That owl was eventually going to get quite fat and tasty, though, so she was waiting.  It's called farming.  ;)

tweet-tweet said...

nice one annemarie! very cute picture. tweety little bird.

Anonymous said...

Lioness was thinking she'd being pulling downy feathers out of the top of her mouth for weeks. Also chicklet was no doubt curious and quiet.

Where as the pidgeon (read 'rats with wings') was probably flapping about making a noise and a nuisance of itself.

By the way ... I can't see that Owl chick (all downy feathers) flying away into the sunset in three days - just looks too young. Makes for a happy ending to the story though.