What Animals Are a Snowy Owl's Enemies?

animals-snowy-owl-s-enemies Credit: Phil/CC-BY 2.0

The main predators of snowy owls are humans, arctic foxes, jaegers (or skuas), dogs and wolves. Snowy owls may also fight with other raptors such as golden eagles and peregrine falcons for food, and these battles occasionally prove fatal.

There is only one predator that hunts snowy owls at all times of the year: humans. Humans hunt snowy owls for food, trophies or to protect game.

Other animal predators tend to go after snowy owl nests and chicks. While they don't hunt live chicks, some gulls also specifically go after snowy owl eggs. To prevent attacks, a male owl stands guard near its nest while the female incubates the eggs. If the nest is attacked, both owls fend off predators, dive bombing them and using various tactics to draw them away from the nest.

Snowy owls normally win in a fight with other raptors over food, but they are occasionally wounded or killed. The peregrine falcon, for example, is much smaller than the snowy owl, but also much faster, and so may win a fight through maneuverability.

The snowy owl competes for prey against many other predators, including rough-legged hawks, gyrfalcons, glaucous gulls, short-eared owls, great horned owls, Eurasian eagle owls, ravens, foxes, ermine and wolves.