Gladys died shortly after the publishing of this article, therefore it has been updated. You might breathe a sigh of relief when you learn that an owl has escaped from your local zoo, but as Gladys the escaped Eurasian eagle-owl is proving, these birds are not too ignored. Gladys has been making the most of her time on the run after fleeing the Minnesota Zoo during a training session. She has already been caught grabbing what is supposed to be a bunny but looks suspiciously like a cat. Unfortunately, life outside of captivity can be harsh for zoo animals, and Gladys passed away after being found injured on the side of the road. Gladys, we hope you had a good time before you passed away.
Gladys’ escape started about a fortnight ago when she opted to skip a training session at the beginning of October. Gladys simply refused to return from the trees after letting out to get some exercise, so it was a rather passive escape. Zookeepers had tracked her earlier in the month, but after a few days of trying to entice her back with treats, she vanished. “Working in shifts, Zoo employees kept an eye on Gladys in various trees around campus, seeking to entice her back with food and enrichment objects that Gladys enjoys,” Zach Nugent, a Minnesota Zoo representative, told Gizmodo. “Last week, staff lost consistent sight.”
The Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo) is one of the most beautiful owls. Their wingspan can reach two meters, second only to Blakiston’s Fish Owl (Bubo blakistoni) as the world’s largest owl species (6.5 feet). Voles, lemmings, and rabbits, as well as other birds, make up their regular diet in the wild.
Gladys’ fate after her escape was the topic of much curiosity, especially after a disturbing photo appeared in the comments area of a recent Facebook post from the zoo. The image revealed what appeared to be a Eurasian eagle owl sitting smugly atop the body of a small mammal, the identity of which has prompted significant debate.
In response, the zoo said, “Thank you for your response.” “Our staff has determined that the owl in this shot shares many of Gladys’ characteristics, and we’ve launched an investigation into the region.” It’s thought that the other animal in this photo is a rabbit.”
While the feet poking out from behind Gladys seem long enough for a rabbit, some on Facebook worry that the presence of toe pads and what appears to be a tail between the animal’s legs shows it’s more likely a cat. Chris Bond, who snapped the initial shot, wrote, “We suspect it was a cat.” Gladys’ exploits, however, were cut short when she was discovered injured by a member of the public. A veterinary team was waiting to treat her injuries, according to a statement posted by the zoo on Twitter, but she had already passed away by the time she returned to the zoo.