Animal Encounters

Fun Animal Encounters

From a hairy tarantula to a talking African gray parrot, you never know what you’ll bump into in Ranger Rick's Backyard Safari at the Tennessee Aquarium!


Eastern Screech Owl

Megascops asio formerly Otus asio

ON EXHIBIT:  River Journey - Ranger Rick's Backyard Safari gallery

Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern screech owls are cavity nesters and both parents are active in rearing their three to five chicks (average clutch size). They have a symbiotic relationship with blind snakes. Sometimes they catch the snakes but do not eat them.  Instead, the owls place the snakes in their nests where they survive by eating the insect larvae in the nest. According to some studies, this relationship creates a greater success rate for young owls to fledge. Left to its choice the Screech Owl is a good neighbor controlling the local mice population.

The IUCN listing for this species is Least Concern.

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About This Animal

SIZE  6-10 inches;  wingspan 18-24 inches

RANGE  East Montana to the Great Lakes and Ontario to the Gulf of Mexico, Northeast Mexico and Florida

HABITAT  Deciduous and mixed forest, riparian woodlands, rural agricultural areas and suburbs

DIET  Small mammals, small birds, reptiles, amphibians and a large variety of invertebrates