Can You Have A Pet Eagle? Everything You Need To Know

With their regal presence and powerful talons, eagles capture the imagination of animal lovers everywhere. But their size, strength and wild nature make them uncommon as pets. So can you actually have a pet eagle?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Owning an eagle is illegal in most countries without special permits that are difficult to obtain. Even experienced handlers struggle to properly care for an eagle’s complex needs in captivity.

Eagles Have Complex Needs

Having a pet eagle is a unique and fascinating endeavor, but it’s important to understand that these majestic birds have complex needs that must be met in order for them to thrive. Here are the key considerations:

Large flight cages and outdoor aviaries are required

Unlike other commonly kept pets, such as dogs or cats, eagles need ample space to spread their wings and fly. It is recommended to provide them with a large flight cage or an outdoor aviary that mimics their natural habitat.

This allows them to exercise and maintain their physical and mental well-being. Additionally, the enclosure should be constructed with sturdy materials to ensure the eagle’s safety and prevent any escape attempts.

A specialized carnivorous diet must be provided

Eagles are carnivorous birds and require a specialized diet that consists primarily of fresh meat, such as fish or rodents. It is essential to provide them with high-quality, nutritionally balanced food to meet their specific dietary needs.

The diet should be carefully planned in consultation with an avian veterinarian to ensure the eagle receives all the necessary nutrients it requires for optimal health.

Proper permitting and veterinary care is essential

Before considering keeping an eagle as a pet, it is crucial to research and understand the legal requirements and permits necessary to keep such a bird. Most countries have strict regulations regarding the ownership of eagles due to their protected status.

Additionally, regular veterinary care from an avian specialist is essential to monitor the eagle’s health, provide necessary vaccinations, and address any potential health issues.

Eagles Are Powerful and Dangerous

Eagles can seriously injure or kill with their talons and beak

Eagles possess incredible strength and sharp talons that can cause serious harm. Their talons are designed to grasp and puncture the flesh of their prey, allowing them to secure their catch while hunting.

With a gripping force that can exceed 400 pounds per square inch, an eagle’s talons can easily break bones, tear flesh, and cause severe injuries. Additionally, their hooked beaks are powerful enough to tear through tough hides and feathers.

It is important to recognize that eagles are wild animals and should be treated with caution and respect.

Only expert falconers should attempt to handle eagles

Handling an eagle requires expertise and experience in falconry. Falconers are individuals who have undergone extensive training in the art of handling and training birds of prey. They understand the behavior and needs of these majestic creatures, allowing them to establish a bond of trust with the bird.

Attempting to handle an eagle without proper knowledge and training can be extremely dangerous for both the individual and the bird. It is crucial to seek guidance from a qualified falconer if you are considering interacting with an eagle.

Eagles can never be fully tamed

While eagles can be trained to some extent, they can never be fully tamed. These birds have a strong instinct for freedom and are accustomed to living in the wild. Even with years of training, an eagle will always retain its wild nature.

It is important to understand that keeping an eagle as a pet is not only impractical but also unethical. Eagles belong in their natural habitat, where they can thrive and fulfill their ecological role as apex predators.

Owning an Eagle Is Illegal in Most Areas

When it comes to owning an eagle as a pet, it’s important to understand that in most areas, it is illegal. This is primarily because native eagle species are protected under law. The laws aim to preserve and conserve these majestic birds and prevent their exploitation.

Eagles play a crucial role in maintaining the ecosystem’s balance, and their populations need to be carefully managed to ensure their survival.

Native eagle species are protected under law

In many countries, including the United States, native eagle species are protected under various laws such as the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. These laws make it illegal to possess, sell, or transport live eagles, their parts, or their eggs without proper permits.

Violating these laws can result in hefty fines and even imprisonment.

These legal protections are in place because eagle populations have faced significant threats in the past, including habitat loss, hunting, and pollution. By safeguarding them through legislation, governments aim to give these birds a fighting chance at recovery and ensure their long-term survival.

International trade in eagles is regulated

Beyond national laws, the international trade in eagles is also heavily regulated. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement that regulates the trade of endangered and threatened species, including eagles.

This means that even if owning an eagle is legal in your country, importing or exporting them can be subject to strict regulations.

CITES prohibits the trade of certain species and requires permits for the legal trade of others. These measures are in place to prevent illegal trafficking and ensure that any trade involving eagles is sustainable and not detrimental to their populations.

Few exceptions exist for educational or falconry purposes

While owning an eagle as a pet is generally prohibited, there are a few exceptions in certain areas for educational or falconry purposes. For educational purposes, licensed wildlife centers, zoos, and educational institutions may obtain permits to house eagles and use them in educational programs to raise awareness about conservation.

Additionally, in some regions, licensed falconers may be allowed to own and train eagles for falconry. Falconry is a traditional practice that involves hunting with trained birds of prey. Falconers undergo rigorous training and adhere to strict regulations to ensure the welfare of the birds and the sustainability of wild populations.

It’s important to research and understand the specific laws and regulations in your area before considering owning an eagle. Respecting and protecting these magnificent creatures in their natural habitats should always be a top priority.

Eagles Have a Long Lifespan

Eagles are known for their impressive lifespan, often living over 30 years with proper care. These majestic birds have evolved to adapt to various environments and have developed exceptional survival skills.

With a lifespan that surpasses many other pet birds, owning an eagle is a long-term commitment that requires careful consideration.

Eagles can live over 30 years with proper care

Eagles are known to live for several decades if they receive the necessary care and attention. Providing a suitable and spacious environment that mimics their natural habitat is crucial for their overall well-being.

A balanced diet consisting of fresh meat, preferably from their natural prey, is essential for their health and longevity. Regular veterinary check-ups and vaccinations are also necessary to maintain their health and prevent any potential diseases.

Owning an eagle is a long-term commitment

Before deciding to own an eagle, it’s important to understand that these birds require a significant amount of time, effort, and resources. Eagles are highly intelligent creatures that need mental stimulation and regular exercise to thrive.

They require ample space to stretch their wings and engage in natural behaviors, such as hunting and flying. Therefore, potential eagle owners should be prepared for a long-term commitment, including providing for the bird’s needs throughout its entire lifespan.

Re-homing eagles is extremely difficult

Re-homing an eagle is an incredibly challenging task due to their specialized needs and legal restrictions. Eagles are protected by various laws and regulations, and ownership is strictly regulated. Finding a suitable and licensed facility to re-home an eagle can be a complex and time-consuming process.

Additionally, eagles form strong bonds with their owners and can struggle with the transition to a new environment. It’s crucial to carefully consider the long-term commitment and responsibilities associated with owning an eagle before making the decision.

Purchase and Care Costs Are Prohibitive

While the idea of having a pet eagle may seem exciting, it is important to consider the financial implications. Eagles can cost tens of thousands of dollars to purchase, making them inaccessible for the average pet owner.

These majestic birds are protected under various laws and regulations, which means that obtaining one legally can be a complex and expensive process.

Eagles can cost tens of thousands of dollars to purchase

The cost of purchasing an eagle can vary depending on the species and age of the bird, but it is not uncommon for prices to reach tens of thousands of dollars. This high price tag is primarily due to the rarity and protected status of eagles, as well as the specialized care they require.

It is crucial to remember that eagles are not domesticated animals and have specific habitat and dietary needs. They require large, secure enclosures that mimic their natural environment. These enclosures can be costly to build and maintain, requiring ample space, proper ventilation, and safety features to prevent escape or injury.

Proper enclosures, diet and veterinary care is very expensive

Aside from the initial purchase cost, the ongoing expenses associated with caring for an eagle can quickly add up. Eagles have a specialized diet that primarily consists of fresh meat, such as fish or small mammals.

Providing a consistent and appropriate diet for an eagle can be quite expensive, as it may require sourcing high-quality, fresh food regularly.

In addition to their dietary needs, eagles also require regular veterinary care from professionals who specialize in avian medicine. These specialized veterinarians can be costly, and routine check-ups, vaccinations, and any necessary medical treatments can quickly become a significant financial burden.

Only institutions and experts can afford eagle care

Given the high costs associated with purchasing and caring for an eagle, it is typically only institutions, such as zoos, wildlife centers, or experienced falconers, that can afford to provide the necessary resources and expertise.

These organizations have the financial means and knowledge to create suitable environments for eagles and provide them with the care they need to thrive.

It is important to remember that eagles are not suitable pets for the average individual due to their complex requirements and the significant financial commitment involved. Instead of attempting to keep an eagle as a pet, it is recommended to support conservation efforts and enjoy these magnificent birds in their natural habitats or through educational programs offered by reputable institutions.


While eagles are majestic, apex predators that seem like the ultimate exotic pet, the reality is they do not make good pets for private owners. Their complexity, power, protected status and associated costs mean that eagles are wild animals best left to trained experts and conservation programs.

For those seeking a pet bird, more suitable options exist that won’t threaten life and limb.

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