Giant owl still on the loose after escape from Stockholm zoo 

TT/The Local
TT/The Local - [email protected]
Giant owl still on the loose after escape from Stockholm zoo 
A great grey owl spotted in a park in Malmö back in 2021. This is not one of the Skansen owls who escaped in November 2022. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

One of the two great grey owls which escaped from Stockholm’s Skansen Zoo on Monday night was still free on Wednesday morning, zoo officials said.


The owls are members of the world's largest owl species, which is sometimes known as "The Phantom of the North". They escaped on Monday night after the netting over their enclosure broke. 

"During the night our enclosure collapsed due to the weight of the snow which produced a huge hole. I can see why the owls escaped, there wasn't so much left of it," Linda Törngren from Skansen Zoo told TT.

Once darkness fell it was impossible to continue the search, with Törngren saying at the time that "it doesn't look good."

The escape comes less than a month after a king cobra, dubbed by Swedish media as Sir Väs, escaped from the next-door Skansen Akvariet. 

On Wednesday morning, the zoo reported that one of the owls, named Percy, was back again, while his son Barr remains on the loose.

Percy was caught after a zoo employee caught sight of him on the Skansen site, after which zookeepers managed to entice him back into his enclosure.

"The birds are so well-trained by keepers that it was possible to get him down using a signal they're used to hearing," Törngren said.

Percy is doing fine after the ordeal, she said.

"He's safe and sound and he's had some food."


Great grey owls are solitary animals, so it's possible that the other owl, Barr, escaped in a different direction when the enclosure broke.

"It was probably a bit of a shock when the enclosure broke, it was their home. They probably just escaped in whatever direction they could, sitting in the first tree they happened to end up in."

Skansen said on their website that the owls "bunch themselves up when they get scared and look like a small branch".

Great grey owls are originally from Norrland so they are used to the current snowy weather Stockholm is experiencing. They can survive without food for long periods and are expert hunters of small rodents.

“They are absolutely not dangerous unless you are a small rodent,” Törngren said. “They are extremely used to people and very friendly.” 


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