In the snaps, which have sent Twitter into hysterics, the owl is seen looking unimpressed with his feathers stuck to his body, before being restored to full glory after a blow dry. People found the difference between the two pictures hilarious, with some saying they’d never seen a wet owl before.
The owl is a type of small owl called a morepork. He is a patient of the Massey Wildbase Animal Hospital in New Zealand. He had a mild skin ɪɴꜰᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ that made him irritated. That’s why he needs a bath. Fortunately for the little owl, this ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇ is relatively easy to treat.
According to Pauline Nijman, a supervisor at Wildbase, most owls don’t seem to like getting wet, even when it’s raining. So when they gave this owl a bath with an antibacterial shampoo & blowdry, Nijman knew ahead of time that he probably wouldn’t see it as being pampered.
“It was a big deal for both of us,” Nijman said.
Photos taken during the process show an owl who’s less than thrilled. Turns out, much of an owl’s stately appearance actually comes from the puffiness of their plumage. Being soaked changes their look quite dramatically.
“He’s a smaller kid but in lovely condition,” Nijman said. “Though once all the fluff is wet, they look frightfully pathetic!”
The owl was washed with chlorhexidine to address the infection, and then rinsed clean. “He was NOT pleased,” Nijman wrote. Afterward, Nijman patted him down with a towel and placed him under an air blower to finish drying off.
The owl was later taken back to the hospital’s aviary, where it, along with several other birds, is being rehabilitated.
People were sʜᴏᴄᴋᴇᴅ to find that unlike other birds, owls are not waterproof and will sᴛʀᴜɢɢʟᴇ to fly under the rain. In 2016, Leigh Salvez, who wrote The Hidden lives of Owls, said: “They have given up the oil found in many feathers, which protects other birds form rain, for soft, silent feathers more valuable for stealthy ʜᴜɴᴛɪɴɢ.”