Do Crows and Ravens Make Good Pets?

Picture of a raven on a stick

When it comes to pets, some people prefer the unconventional. If your pet of choice is a pot-bellied pig, snake, or bearded dragon, you are in good company. Lots of Americans are choosing to bring unusual or exotic species into their homes. Birds have long had pride of place in gilded cages in the houses of many families. While most gravitate to the popular cockatiel or the colorful parrot, there are many different varieties of birds from which you can choose your next feathered companion. But are there some birds that are not suitable to a life of domestication? Do crows and ravens make good pets?

Facts about the Crow and the Raven

Could it be that the crow and the raven just get a bad rap? A favorite bird to feature prominently in horror films and most typically used to represent the advent of misfortune, crows and ravens would seem to be victims of bad publicity.

Did you know that both the crow and the raven are birds who possess exceptional levels of intelligence?

Many are surprised to discover that these dark bearers of bad news are incredibly smart and also have no penchant for the powers of darkness. They are, in fact, just birds.

However, this does not necessarily mean that the crow and the raven make good family pets.

Here are some facts to consider:

Picture of a crow at night

  • Both crows and ravens are wild animals.

Because crows and ravens are not domesticated animals, they will not behave like the family pets we have come to know and love such as dogs and cats. This brings with it the challenge of providing a crow or raven with proper care. Since these are wild birds, they will not trust you, making it very difficult to intervene if veterinary attention is required, and even something as simple as mealtimes will be quite difficult.

  • Both crows and ravens are considered corvids.

When it comes to how a crow and a raven act, they are typically one and the same bird. The difference between the two birds comes in the form of size. Ravens are the larger of the two. They possess a wingspan that can extend as far as four feet and are approximately 7” taller than crows at up to 25” in height.

Ravens also differ from the crow in appearance as well as in their preferred flight style.

  • Crows and ravens like a diverse diet.

Crows and ravens are omnivores, meaning they like to eat a little of everything nature has to offer. They enjoy meat, and they also like to feast on plant matter as it is available.

Many who would like to add a crow or raven to their home would offer these birds high quality dog food; however, this is not ideal for either bird to eat. Crows and ravens prefer freshly killed animal remains as they are able to break down the meat in a way that is natural and satisfying to them. To thrive, these birds need to eat foods that are the most similar to what they would normally eat in the wild.

Crows and ravens are not particular creatures. They will feast on what they can find including crabs, snails, fruit, bugs, and a plethora of different human foods as well. This ensures that the crow and the raven will never starve!

  • It is against the law to keep a crow or raven as a pet without a special license.

All states require special permits to keep a crow or a raven as a house pet. Since crows and ravens require specialized care, it is extremely difficult to obtain a license to keep one as a companion animal. Even to bring one into your home to care for it while it recovers from injury is illegal. Failure to abide by these laws is punishable by a fine and removal of the animal from your property.

  • Crows and ravens should not be caged.

As wild animals, putting a crow or a raven in a cage is sure to cramp the bird’s style. However, in order to truly thrive, the crow and the raven need opportunity to hop and take flight when the mood strikes. As a highly intelligent bird species, crows and ravens become easily bored if kept confined. This boredom leads to nuisance behaviors.

  • Crows and ravens enjoy excellent longevity.

Believe it or not, both types of birds are known to live to ripe old ages. In their natural habitat, the crow and raven can live between 10 to 15 years. However, when cared for in an aviary or zoo environment, many of them have lived as long as 30 years!

Can you keep a crow or a raven as a pet?

The answer to this is yes, you could, but a better question to ask yourself is this: should you? As an animal lacking in the skills for domestication and that thrives in the wild, it is best to let sleeping crows and ravens lie in their natural habitat. If you truly love these birds and enjoy watching their majestic ways, you can have your cake and eat it too by enjoying viewing them at your local aviary or zoo.



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