By Shannon Lane @shannonroselane
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Little Luna lacks the mottled brown feathers and striking yellow eyes of a normal eastern screech owl. Instead, this special owl is dazzling white in appearance, with pink feet and eyes.
Different from the beginning, Luna was found on the ground after he’d fallen out of his nest as a young fledgling. Luckily he was brought to Peace River Wildlife Center, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the care of orphaned and injured native Florida wildlife.
PRWC Executive Director, Robin Jenkins said: “Luna was found the third week of April 2013. He was two or three weeks old at the time, so we arbitrarily gave him a ‘birthday’ of April 1, making him Mother Nature’s April Fool’s joke.”
The eastern screech owl is notorious for its excellent camouflage, using its dark brown feathers to disguise itself against the bark of trees from predators.
However, Luna’s ghostly owl feathers and skin are stark white, and his beak and nails appear pink due to the visible blood vessels underneath.
Because of this, Peace River Wildlife Centre had to make the difficult decision of not releasing Luna back into the wild.
Robin Jenkins said: “With Luna we realised early on that he would not stand a chance in the wild. As a tiny raptor, the eastern screech owl depends on his camouflage to avoid predators like raccoons, hawks and larger owls.
“Since Luna is lacking this natural defense mechanism, he would picked off by a predator quite quickly. “
Luna was glove trained by the centre and is now used for educational purposes to visitors.
Robin said: “He loves being handled, going out in the public during outreach events and being on display here at the Center. PRWC is fortunate to have him as our unofficial mascot.”