Zeus is a fully blind owl who became an internet sensation with his mesmerizing eyes, which seem to reflect the universe. Zeus is a Western Screech Owl from Southern California. His internet fame came after a man found the owl, alone and injured, and brought him into the Wildlife Learning Center in Sylmar, California.
After a consultation with a vet, Zeus became a permanent resident at the wildlife center due to the fact that he was blind and wouldn’t be able to live comfortably in the wild. He was given the moniker of Zeus, who was the Greek god of sky and thunder, because of his hypnotic eyes. The founder of the Wildlife Learning Center, Paul Hahn, created Zeus his own little truck so he could live on his filing cabinet. Many people aren’t aware, but owls heavily rely on the vision in order to survive, and because of that, their eyes actually account for 1-5% of their entire body weight.
Hahn said to the Mystical Raven, “In our combined 40-plus-years of working with wildlife, we’ve never seen anything quite like it. But he’s doing great! He still hangs out in the office with us every day and is otherwise completely healthy.”
— Kirsten Vangsness (@Vangsness) October 9, 2016
Since 2012, Hahn has been providing Zeus with care at the Wildlife Center.
I met Zeus the blind owl tonight at the Cartoon Network art show! I didn't get to see his eyes up close but a google search will show you that he's got galaxy eyes 👀 🌌 pic.twitter.com/f7ACaZIP7n
— Elsa Chang (@ElsaSketch) December 6, 2017
He added, “His general condition is a capsular cataract, the white flecks that glisten in his eyes are caused by unique fibrin/blood pigment clots. These pigments cause a unique starry-eyed look, for which he is well known, hence the name Zeus. He is so camouflaged most people don’t notice him until we point him out. Many other people see him but believe he is a stuffed animal because he is so calm and peaceful. When he wakes and opens his eyes, people gasp. We have had people almost in tears when he reveals his peepers.”
Zeus turned out to be quite a friendly bird who showed himself to enjoy socialization. Some people who have met him have even reported crying when they meet the remarkable owl and his incredible eyes.
He also commented, “It’s remarkable that Zeus’ disability brings so much awareness, sensitivity, and concern for not just screech owls, but all types of wildlife, as well as the environment we share. Zeus is truly an ambassador … he’s a joy. It’s not just a responsibility for us to care for him, but a privilege.”
Given Zeus’s gentle nature and beautiful eyes, it made perfect sense to make him an ambassador for the organization. With that job title came the responsibility for Zeus to regularly do meet and greets with guests, as well as be part of educational programs. And the owl was a natural at it all.
In some Native American tribes, owls are believed to be supernatural messengers who bring warnings to those who’ve gone against tribal taboos. In addition, in Aztec and Mayan cultures, owls were believed to be both the messengers and companions of the gods of death.
Of course, that isn’t Zeus, but his eyes do give that otherworldly vibe. Check out some of his pictures down below:
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.