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Painted owl angers Utah wildlife officials

A Western Screech Owl has been rescued after it was injured and had its beak and talons painted bright red. (Photo Credit: Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah)

SALT LAKE CITY —  A painted owl has fired up the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah

To say the very least.

Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) says they received a call from a concerned citizen about an adult Western Screech-Owl.  As outlined in a statement provided by the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah (WRC), the caller said they believed this owl was being “held illegally.”  After a month of searching, it was found and confiscated by the DWR.

When animal officials finally found the owl they say it was emaciated, after being fed a mouse only every other day.

An examination revealed an old injury on the owl’s body, a fracture in the area of its collarbone. That means the owl will never be released into the wild and will never fly again.

Owl was painted red

But the lack of food and the injury to the owl are not what has the WRC up in arms.

Rather, it’s the glittering red nail polish someone painted on the owl’s beak and talons that has them seeing, well, red.

What the painted owl went through

Hoping to help us humans better understand the terror this little animal must have felt, the WRC of Northern Utah described the situation this way:

“Your heart is pounding out of your chest and racing to the point of near explosion; your adrenal glands have nothing more to give, but all you can do is close your eyes and pray ‘PLEASE DON’T EAT ME!”

And this is happening as a creature 400 times your size has pinned you down so that you cannot move.

And all of this, so that the creature 400 times your weight can paint nail polish on your mouth and feet.

The future of the painted owl

Because of the injury to the owl’s body, the WRC of Northern Utah will keep the owl and get her acclimated to life in captivity. She may eventually end up in an educational home.

And yes, they have named her Maybelline. Because, you know, makeup.