It is illegal to purchase or sell an owl in the United States. In countries where it is legal, owning an owl is a challenge that requires a great deal of research and commitment. Most sources, such as International Owl Center, do not condone owning owls as pets.
In most countries, including the United States, it is illegal to own an owl without the proper permits for two reasons: the first is the Migratory Bird Act, a U.S. law which prohibits "...the pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, or sell..." of birds on the migratory birds list. Secondly, they are considered birds of prey, meaning they hunt and eat other animals.
While there are over 200 species of owl, the most popular is the snowy owl due to its appearance in the Harry Potter series. The recent popularity of owning owls as pets has actually sparked an endangered owl crisis in India; many parents have been caught purchasing owls illegally to give to children as pets.
As nocturnal birds, owls are most active at night and can be extremely destructive, according to the International Owl Center. Because they are solitary birds, owls are not affectionate and do not like to be touched; they also cannot be caged like a parrot or cockatoo and must be flown regularly for exercise.
Owls are also extremely dangerous, as they have powerful beaks and claws that can seriously injure their handlers. Their diet can also be very difficult for some people to handle, as they are carnivorous and require dead animals, such as rats, gophers, rabbits and mice.