Snowy owls can normally be found in Canada, Russia, the northern parts of the United States, Greenland, Iceland, northern China, the United Kingdom and the Scandinavian countries. They breed in the Arctic circle and travel into the southern parts of their overall range during the winter.
Open tundra is the primary habitat of snowy owls, but they also hunt in freshwater meadows and salt grass meadows. During years when food is scarce, they may travel as far south as northern Alabama and central California. Snowy owls do not migrate every year, instead limiting migration to years when their normal Arctic habitat cannot support them. Lemmings are the main prey of snowy owls, and a single owl can eat three to five lemmings per day.
The breeding season for snowy owls is between May and September, and they spend this season in the northern parts of their range. Snowy owls are highly territorial, but the size of a breeding pair's territory depends on how much food is available in the area. The number of eggs a female snowy owl produces is also dependent on food availability, so a pair of owls may have as few as three eggs or as many as 11 eggs in a single breeding season.