Gladys, the 'Largest Owl You've Ever Seen,' Is on the Loose in Minnesota

Gladys, a huge owl, escaped from Minnesota Zoo earlier in the month. Zoo officials need your help to find her.


Gladys, a 5-year old Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo Bubo), is a predatory species. It can grow to 2.5 feet high and up to 10 lbs. They can span up to 6.5 feet in length and look like extra-large greathorned owls. They are the largest species of owl in the world.

Gladys made the decision to leave the zoo at the beginning of October. She opted to remain in the trees after a session of exercise and training. She vanished after spending several days wandering around the area.

Zoo staff worked in shifts and kept Gladys' sight in different trees on campus. They tried to encourage Gladys to return by using enrichment items and food that she enjoys. Staff lost consistent sight late last week.

Officials at the zoo believe the owl could be in another area of the 485-acre zoo, or in the larger Apple Valley, which is a suburb to Minneapolis. Yesterday, the zoo officials posted a tweet reminding people that Gladys is not a threat to their safety. According to The Peregrine Fund the owls have been known to eat small rodents and other birds, amphibians as well as fish and insects.

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Here's how Tony Fisher, director of animal collections at the zoo, described Gladys to KARE 11. He said that she would be easy to recognize if you met her. She will be the largest owl that you have ever seen, if you get to see her.


A Minnesota Zoo Facebook message asking for information on the missing owl received many responses. Residents reported sightings and Ring video footage that contained owl calls.

One person shared a photo of an owl on October 8, that looked a lot like Gladys, sitting on top of a roof clutching a white-bellied mammal. Some people commented that it looked like a cat. However, the zoo said the animal was most likely a rabbit and that they would be sending a team to investigate the area. (Whether or not you see a dark grey tail or an upturned, shingle between the white feet will determine whether you agree or disagree with the zoo's identification.


Gladys' recent adventures follow the capture and escape of Kodiak (a Stellers sea-eagle) at a Pittsburgh zoo. These birds of prey may be attracted to freedom by something in the air. You can contact the Minnesota Zoo at 952-431-9200 if you think you may have seen Gladys while you are in the area of the Minnesota Zoo.

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