This question never before occurred to Cheryl, Corky’s and Darcy’s Mom, until she heard the story of the two-three pound Yorkie in Mississippi that was allegedly snatched from its yard by a Hawk last week. Cheryl was understandably alarmed and concerned for her small pups, and all the small dogs on Dogpawfile.
Can a hawk snatch a small dog?
Internet reports on the likelihood of a hawk attacking domestic animals are contradictory. Snopes.com, for example, reports that many of the news items about predatory hawks or owls snatching small chihauhuas, etc., are nothing more than folklore.
“Whether eagles could carry off dogs…is problematic,” Snopes reports. “These large birds of prey generally aren’t capable of flight with much more than three or four pounds clutched in their talons; although they might be able to carry a full-grown dog or cat a short ways, soaring into the heavens with one would most likely be beyond their capabilities.” According to Snopes, a bald eagle does not possess the lifting power necessary to carry away a dog or cat; domestic animals are not regularly part of a bald eagle’s menu.
Yet Snopes goes on to report that in 1995, a great horned owl terrorized a Maine town, and flew off with a 20-25 pound poodle-Pekingese mix. In 2000, a Jack Springer Spaniel was scooped up by an eagle owl in the United Kingdom, and in March, 2002, CNN reported that a bald eagle made off with a thirteen pound dachshund in Maine. Obviously, while these reports, and the recent Mississippi report, are exceptions to the rule, the bald eagle is, in fact, capable of lifting a small dog or cat into the air, and inflicting fatal wounds. While an eagle’s diet consists of wild rabbits, mice, hare, birds, squirrels, frogs, and snakes, an eagle in flight can’t differentiate between its traditional small prey and a small dog.
Snopes.com concludes: “Some (eagles) may attack a dog on the ground, and some may even get it temporarily airborne, but they do not ultimately succeed in making off with it.”
Despite Snopes’ conclusion, pet owners of small animals be wary! If a hawk can lift and kill a rabbit, they can lift, injure, or kill a small Chihuahua, Yorkie, or pet of similar size.
Be on guard. Take care of your beloved pets this summer.