We recently wrote about pet ownership in Japan. Historically uncommon, households have been adopting furrier family members en masse in recent years. The country has been experiencing something of a boom since 2003 as dogs and cats have outnumbered children in this graying society.

However, issues remain. Animal abuse cases are experiencing an uptrend, and recently 238 cats were found living in abysmal conditions in a single house. Similar headlines and a low animal welfare rating are leading animal rights groups to call for reform, especially in the case of more exotic pets like owls.

Owl owners in Japan would likely beg to differ. Currently, welfare laws do not prohibit ownership of owls allowing for retailers to offer the exotic bird. Owl cafes, cafes with several owls on display for patrons, are also permitted.

On the other hand, detractors are quick to—well—detract. According to thesprucepets.com, owls do not make good pets. They are messy eaters who are naturally carnivorous, they can be difficult to treat, need a lot of space, are nocturnal, and host of other reasons.

Nevertheless, avian enthusiasts are undiscouraged. Owners like YouTuber GEN3 (read “Gensan”) OWL CHANNEL clearly adore their feathery friends. It’s hard to imagine them turning their backs on the bird even if they make for a challenging pet.

Meet GEN3 and Garu

In this video, YouTuber GEN3 takes a moment to introduce himself as well as his rock eagle-owl, Garu. Rock eagle -owls, AKA Indian eagle-owls, are large horned and native to the Indian subcontinent. They are brown and grey, usually seen in pairs, and subsist off a diet of rodents and small birds.

GEN3 explains a lot of this as he clears up the confusion surrounding Garu's taxonomy. Yet, Garu seems unimpressed or even bored. He spends most of the video looking around, much more interested in what's going on in the room than what's being filmed. Nevertheless, his owner explains that he has raised his owl for three—albeit now four—years and is open to viewers' questions.

Garu Loves His Owner

If you do some research online, it seems owls are considered unaffectionate. "Territorial and aloof," humans seem to have a hard time discerning owl behavior, sometimes confusing mating actions or affection. Owls bond with mates, and characteristically lean together; however, they require little other social interaction.

Still, you'd be forgiven for thinking GEN3 and Garu act a bit friendly. Here they spend some quiet time together relaxing at home:

Garu looks up to his owner with his big owl eyes, and it's hard not to think he looks like a cat. GEN3 pets him like a feline, too, and doesn't seem to mind Garu pecking at him with his razor-sharp beak. After a bit, Garu perches up a bit higher, resting on his owner's lap. GEN3 doesn't seem to notice, but, personally, I'd be wary of where those talons are stepping.

A Day at Home

On another lazy day, the two spend more time together. As you can see, they appear to be inseparable.

This video opens with Garu inspecting the camera in what appears to be a sunroom. Sunbathing, he spreads his impressive wings, and we get a glimpse of the hidden magnificence of rock eagle-owls—the bird has a wingspan of about a meter and a half.

Since the sun is shining, GEN3 decides its a good time for a bath. He takes out a spray bottle and douses the owl. Although Garu seems more petite wet, in the next scene, he shows off his impressive voice. And at the end of the day, the two take a moment to play in the living room. Garu takes hold of a hand puppet as he flies around the room.

A Sneezing Owl and a Trip to the Vet

I didn't know this, but, apparently, owls can get the sniffles.

Garu seems to be congested and in sad shape. He closes his eyes and sneezes a few times. While it may look adorable, he, unfortunately, has a bit of a bacterial infection in his nasal cavity. Although it may be nothing, precaution dictates a trip to the vet.

At this point, Garu has already started an antibiotics regime. He is going with GEN3 for a checkup to make sure his meds are taking. Before heading out, GEN3 takes a moment to explain why he puts Garu in a carrying case during the trip: the owl has a habit of flying around the cab while in transit.

The vet administers a cotton swab and a stethoscope at the clinic, neither of which Garu seems pleased about. Regardless, he's gotten a clean bill of health. The bacteria appear to be gone, and his nasal passages are clear. The medicine worked, and the two can go back to chillaxing at home.

By - Luke Mahoney.