A pet Chihuahua wearing a coat walks on a street in Beijing December 11, 2008. REUTERS/Jason Lee (CHINA)
Elspeth Lodge January 20, 2011 – 11:44 am
Four-pound chihuahua Chico is lucky to be alive after an owl tried to fly away with him early Wednesday morning, reported the Northwest Herald.
An owl on the prowl swooped towards the tiny dog, out on a walk with his owner in Illinois.
It was entirely a matter of luck that the owl failed to get a good grip on the canine’s jacket with his claws, said the owner, who yelled and lunged at the bird as it tried to fly away with his pet. The bird then became caught on the dog’s leash, managed to free itself and flew away.
Chico’s winter jacket came between him and the owl’s sharp talons, ultimately saving his life — a great horned owl‘s claws are capable of applying 200-300 pounds of pressure per square inch.
Chico survived the attack with nothing but a superficial puncture wound, reports his owner, who took the dog directly to an emergency vet for x-rays following the incident.
Rebecca Murphy of the McHenry County Conservation District’s Wildlife Resource Center told The Herald that attacks like Chico’s aren’t common; while owls aren’t rare in the McHenry County area, they seldom attack animals with their owners present. But, she also said, “[owls don’t] know the difference between pet animal or a prey animal, with a small dog like that there is a potential that a larger raptor species could take them down.
“The vet said it must have been very hungry and desperate to do something like that,” said the dog’s owner.