Raven as a Pet? You heard it right! Crows have a mixed reputation, with some embracing their gothic and pagan associations and others fearing them as a result of horror literature and films presenting them as evil omens and sinister birds.
Regardless of your feelings towards ravens, you’ve probably wondered if you can genuinely get one as a pet.
Technically, you can keep them as a pet, but legally, you can’t in the United States without a permit. Because these birds are typically native and migrate to specific places in the United States, it is prohibited to acquire native raven breeds. You can keep a raven as a pet if it is brought from Europe, Africa, or Asia, as long as it does not move to the United States.
It is highly clever animals that rank with other well-known animals such as dolphins and chimps. Given their great intellect, you’d think they’d be simple to train and maintain as pets. That idea is only partially correct, and in this post, we’ll look at whether you can keep a raven as a pet and what you should think about when doing so.
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Is it Possible to Have a Raven as a Pet?
They are not a typical bird or possible pet; they are rarely domesticated and have such unique qualities and demands that they are sometimes compared to human babies rather than pet birds.
We’re emphasizing this aspect because getting a pet raven is a substantial commitment that will consume a significant amount of your time and energy, so it’s not a decision to be made lightly!
With that said, there is one first stumbling point to keeping a pet raven: it is unlawful to keep a raven as a pet in the United States without a proper permit. To maintain a pet raven, you must either obtain permission or purchase a raven from another country that is not native to the United States.
The latter usually comes at a large financial expense, and if you do decide to purchase a raven as a pet, there are a few things to consider:
1. Wild Animals
The fact that ravens are wild birds, not domesticated, is the first and perhaps most crucial. While they may resemble a parrot in appearance, they are vastly different in terms of personality, needs, and actions. They are scavengers, omnivores, gregarious creatures, and migrate, and all of these characteristics (with the exception of the omnivore portion, which can be remedied by feeding) make them tough to keep in a cage, or worse, and in isolation.
Trying to tame it as an adult is nearly impossible, and while rearing it from birth is the ideal option, it still comes with a slew of challenges (dietary requirements, space requirements, and care), which we’ll go over shortly.
2. Requirements for a Healthy Diet
The fact that ravens are scavengers and omnivores means that their nutritional requirements are simple. They’ll eat almost anything you put in front of them, including meat, veggies, fruits, seeds, and nuts.
This is possibly the finest thing about having it as a pet; despite the fact that they can be difficult to manage at times, you can always guarantee that they have a well-balanced meal without having to worry about any special dietary requirements, as you would with other bird breeds.
3. Aggression & Size
They are one of the largest birds, therefore keeping one as a pet will cause problems on several levels. To begin with, they require a substantial amount of space to spread their wings, and they dislike being confined to cages or small locations.
Most individuals who keep ravens as pets (or who feed local ravens to keep as companions without actually owning them) keep them in huge outdoor aviaries with lots of space for them to fly. Second, if you try to take adult ravens into custody later in life, they can be hostile and defensive. Many will have formed relationships with their own group by this time, and it’s unlikely that they’ll accept a human owner.
This means that it’s nearly always best to get it when it’s young and raise it so that they recognize you as its owner and become more gentle and at ease around you. They aren’t naturally aggressive, yet they are fiercely protective. When they feel threatened, they are known to bite humans, and because of their big overall size, their beak is proportional to that size, the bites aren’t small pecks!
As previously stated, you can only keep it as a pet if it is a non-native breed from outside the United States, and native breeds require a specific permit that is exclusively for rehabilitation.
These licenses are difficult to obtain because ravens are protected under the migratory bird act of 1916, so you’ll need a strong history in animal care and a compelling rationale for acquiring one.
While it’s not a very serious crime, and there are few cases of people being punished (whether because it’s not strictly policed or because few people actually keep ravens as pets), keeping a raven illegally is nonetheless a crime that could lead to punishment.
Another fascinating truth about ravens is that they can imitate noises and words. While their vocabulary isn’t as extensive as that of parrots, it’s still a remarkable feature that makes many people want one as a pet.
Teaching a raven a word to communicate with them is a great way to establish a link, but their high intelligence allows them to go much further: if you teach them the word for specific food types, they can even learn to ask for that food when they want it.
To be clear, it’s the ability to mimic a word is not the only noise they make; they are also prone to making harsh calls to other ravens, which may be very loud and often, and which your family and neighbors may not appreciate.
One of the most challenging aspects of keeping it as a pet is the raven’s high level of curiosity. Their intelligence is linked to their curiosity, and if they are left alone in a room, they will begin to explore immediately.
The problem is that their curiosity and exploration are frequently rather dirty; they have the ability to get into closed objects such as cupboards and drawers and will pry open anything and everything.
They are also known for enjoying shiny objects, which implies that jewelry, keys, ornaments, and any other precious object with a gleaming surface are likely to grab their eye.
As a result of their curiosity, they frequently make a lot of mess or damage when hunting around, and precious goods can easily go missing since they will hide them as a means of claiming them as their own.
We’ve saved this item for last since it’s possibly the most important: they are high-maintenance pets with unique requirements. They are quite bright, and some can even learn to mimic words or act in certain ways in order to obtain what they desire.
Ravens as pets demand a lot of attention; otherwise, they grow bored quickly, which can lead to destructive or violent behavior. They are also noisy, and when they don’t get their own way, they are known to throw tantrums.
We’ve already mentioned it, but keeping a pet is like having a kid, and their unique needs can test even the most experienced bird rehabilitators. Exercise, food, their own place, and exciting duties are just a few of the things that will keep you occupied with a pet raven on a regular basis.
Difference between Raven and Crow
- The size and sound of crows and ravens are the two biggest differences.
- Ravens have a wingspan of roughly 45 inches, making them the largest of the two.
- Crows have smaller wingspans and bodies that are similar in size to pigeons. Their beaks are also thicker than crows.
- Crows make a consistent caw, caw sound, while ravens make a deeper, throatier croaking sound.
- Raven also has bigger beaks with a more curved end than crows.
- Because the tail feathers of each crow are almost the same length, their tails will appear fan-shaped during flight. Ravens, on the other hand, have a variety of tail feather lengths, resulting in a wedge- or diamond-shaped tails.
Similarities between Crows and Ravens
- They’re called “opportunistic omnivores” since they eat everything from insects to carrion to scavenged human food and garbage.
- Both species are sociable birds with tight-knit family groups.
- They’re also two of the world’s smartest creatures.
It would be quite difficult to have a pet raven. Technically, you can keep a pet raven, but the legal implications of needing permission or paying a hefty fee for a non-native raven ($2,000–$6,000) make it tough.