Can Owls Really Spin Their Heads 360°?

There are things that we may have believed our entire life but that doesn’t necessarily make them true. One thing that is a very common myth is that owls are able to spin their heads in a full circle. After all, we’ve been seeing it in cartoons since we were little children, but let’s look at the facts.

Although I hate to burst your bubble, owls are not really able to spin their heads in a full circle. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t do some amazing things with their neck.

After all, they can turn their head 270° to the left or to the right. In other words, they can turn their heads 3/4 of the way around, but not the whole way.

Photo: Unsplash

It’s easy to see how people would think that owls are able to spin their heads completely around. After all, they get a lot closer than any human is able to do. This may make you wonder how owls are able to turn their heads that far and why they do it.

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If you look at owls versus other birds, there is something that may have escaped your notice. Most birds have eyes on both sides of their heads but owls have eyes that look straight ahead.

Photo: Unsplash

It really cuts down on their peripheral vision, similar to what humans have to deal with. They have the ability to turn their head that far around and quickly so they can keep an eye on their surroundings.

This may make you wonder why owls are able to turn their heads that far around. One of the reasons is that they have a lot of bones in their neck, so they have much more range of motion than humans.

Photo: Unsplash

They also have more arteries, including some that start working when the main arteries are pinched. It keeps them from bleeding or breaking, which is what would happen if humans were to try to rotate their necks that far around.

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