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Do Crows & Ravens Make Great Pets? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

June 25, 2021

Crows and ravens are both members of the corvid family of fascinating birds. They are incredibly intelligent and their social behaviors are well known by bird watchers worldwide. Crows and ravens are prominently featured in films and literature as portents of death or darkness. They are beautiful birds recognized for their ebony feathers and large size.

All of this may make a bird enthusiast crave one as a pet. However, crows and ravens do not make good pets for many reasons. Read on for full disclosure on the dangers of keeping crows or ravens as pets.

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Why Don’t Crows and Ravens Make Great Pets?

Unfortunately, it is not advisable nor is it legal to have a crow or raven as a pet. There are many reasons why and we have listed the most important ones here.

1. It is illegal to keep crows and ravens as pets in the United States without a special permit.

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Image Credit: connie_sf, Pixabay

The Migratory Bird Act of 1916 made it illegal for people to own any migratory bird native to the United States. The only exceptions are licensed wildlife rehabilitators. Both crows and ravens are protected under this act. The main goal of the Migratory Bird Act is to protect native species from human interference and destruction. If people were allowed to keep corvids as pets, it is feared that they would kidnap baby birds from their nests to sell in the pet trade.


2. They need a lot of space.

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Image Credit: Piqsels

Crows and ravens are wild birds that need to fly. They will not be happy if confined to a small cage. They like to survey their area from high places like telephone poles and trees. They also like to fly long distances. None of this can happen if they are confined.


3. They are very social creatures and need others of their species to thrive.

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Image Credit: Capri23auto, Pixabay

You may have heard the term “a murder of crows.” This animal certainly needs others of its kind to thrive. Crows form strong bonds with their families and look out for one another. They also communicate throughout the day and alert each other to danger or enemies. Ravens form smaller groups, but they also work together and need social interaction with other ravens. Without their social groups, both crows and ravens will become depressed and anxious.


4. They bite!

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Image Credit: ChiemSeherin, Pixabay

Crows and ravens are wild animals and if threatened, they will bite. They have strong, sharp beaks. While they don’t pose a threat to humans when they are in the wild, in captivity they may become frustrated and angry, causing them to lash out.


5. They are very noisy.

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Image Credit: Mabel Amber, Pixabay

Have you ever heard a group of crows when they are riled up about something? They are very noisy. They use a variety of sounds to communicate with their families, warn of danger, or frighten enemies away.


6. They are wild animals.

Raven_Piqsels
Image Credit: Piqsels

Perhaps the most important reason for not keeping crows and ravens as pets is that they are wild animals. Wild animals belong in their natural habitat with their families, not in a home or kept captive in a cage. Taking a wild animal out of its habitat is bad for the ecological balance of the area and for the animal itself.


7. They need sunlight.

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Image Credit: Mabel Amber, Pixabay

Corvids cannot be kept indoors for very long. They need to spend time in the sun to get enough vitamin D for maximum health and calcium absorption. Without it, their health will suffer.


8. They need special food and care.

crow bird_Mabel Amber_Pixabay
Image Credit: Mabel Amber, Pixabay

Crows and ravens in the wild will eat just about anything. However, the best foods for them are meat, fruits, and vegetables. They will eat other human foods, but those are not good for them. Crows and ravens need veterinary care from a vet who specializes in wild animals and birds in particular.


9. It is bad for their mental health.

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Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Both of these birds are known for being very intelligent. They like to figure out how to use different tools, work together, and hunt for food. Without mental stimulation, crows and ravens have been known to become depressed, erratic, and anxious.

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What Can You Do Instead?

Instead of owning them as pets, you can observe these magnificent creatures in the wild! Both are quite common and are fun to watch. If you leave out food for them around the same time each day, you might get regular visitors. Small pieces of meat or eggs are usually attractive snack choices for corvids.

They are also attracted to shiny objects. Having shiny balls or other items in your yard can attract crows and ravens. A fake crow or raven can also attract the real thing because they will be curious about it.

Finally, both crows and ravens like to hang out in trees. Spend some time in a local park or on a local trail and you will likely spot them in the branches above.

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Final Thoughts

Wild animals do not make great pets. Crows and ravens are not exceptions. Even though they are brilliant and interesting, they belong in their natural habitat. Instead of caging them, spend time outside observing their behaviors and listening to their chatter. You’ll be glad you did!


Featured Image Credit: Capri23auto, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.