At the Massey University Wildbase Hospital in New Zealand, a new patient was recently brought in for rehabilitation.
It was a type of small brown owl called a morepork.
Other names include the Tasmanian spotted owl, or in Māori culture, the ruru. They are quite a cute little species of owl, known for their dark brown feathers dotted with lighter colored spots, and of course, the classic yellow owl eyes.
However, this poor little morepork had a massive problem.
It had rough, flaky skin, and was clearly suffering from some sort of skin irritation. At the wildlife hospital, rescuers instantly got to work. Their solution was to give the owl a bubble bath!
After a few tests, they discovered that the little owl’s skin irritation was due to a bunch of cocci bacteria that had latched on.
According to veterinarians, a good old-fashioned bubble bath was exactly what the owl required. It simply needed to get cleaned up!
“We washed him with Chlorhexidine to deal with the bacteria, then rinsed clean,” the vets explained. “This is a similar technique we use for oiled birds and have the setup to do it.”
The before and after pictures will have you laughing at how adorable the little bird is.
Have you ever seen a wet owl after a bath before? It’s one of the goofiest (and cutest) things that we have ever observed!
While some animals might not mind getting a bath, for an owl, it’s not the most exciting experience. Some would liken the treatment to getting pampered at a spa, but the morepork didn’t really see it that way.
“It was a big deal for both of us,” Wildbase supervisor Pauline Nijman told The Dodo.
“He’s a smaller kid but in lovely condition,” Nijman said, adding jokingly that “once all the fluff is wet, they look frightfully pathetic!”
When their feathers are all fluffed up normally, the species looks much bigger than they really are. However, underneath all that fluff is a tiny little body that looks so out of place compared to what we are used to seeing.
The vets rinsed off the owl’s skin in the medicated bath, and then afterward, dried him off in a towel.
Once the feathers get wet, it’s easy to see how big those giant yellow eyes really are in comparison to everything else. It’s super cute.
While the owl was not too pleased with the ordeal at the time, he soon made a full recovery.
It only took a couple of hours for him to dry off and be back to his normal self. They even ran some warm air on him for a little while to help out with the process.
“After a few hours under the blow dryers he is looking spiffy and ready to try out his clean feathers and skin back in our rehab aviaries at Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery with the hopes of releasing soon.”
Now that his skin is all cleared up, the morepork will soon be taken back to the wilds of New Zealand.
Once there, he can get back to doing what owls do best — hooting, and looking very wise.
In the meantime, though, he’s just passing the days until his release hanging out in the Wildbase’s aviary with several of his other owl buddies.
We are currently caring for 6 Ruru at the moment. All have come to us as nestlings that had fallen from the nest….
Helping animals in need is what the Wildbase Hospital does best, and we’re so happy that the little morepork ended up in such good hands.
Check out the full viral Facebook post below showing all of the owl’s adorable photos.
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Wet Wednesday all round for us in Palmerston North!!🤣this morepork is with us for rehabilitation but we found it had…