How can owls turn their heads so far around?

Hello everyone! Welcome back to the blog. It was plumblepie’s 3rd birthday recently so we decided to go out for a birthday trip to an owl sanctuary. While we were there and watching the owls artybaker and I got talking and we both realised we had absolutely no clue as to how owls can turn their heads all the way around. I couldn’t for the life of me imagine a skeleton/muscle system that would allow them to do this. I knew I just had to research and I thought I would share what I found out with you guys.

First up, the biggest news of all. Owls cannot turn their heads 360 degrees. We spent quite a while at the owl sanctuary waiting for the owls to turn their heads all the way around and it turns out they can’t. Sorry owls, you were doing the best you could! They can however turn their heads 270 degrees, which is still mightily impressive.

Before I get all science-y on you, please remember that I am not a scientist and therefore cannot be certain if I am explaining this right. I will link some of the posts I was reading down below so you can go and read more about it when you finish up here.

Owls cannot move their eyes without moving their heads because, unlike humans, they don’t have eyeballs. Owls’ eyes are more like tubes.

So how can owls turn their heads so far?

For starters, owls have double the number of bones in their necks than humans – they have 14 versus our 7. An owl’s major arteries feed the brain through holes in the vertebrae (parts of the spine). The hollow cavaties are about 10 times wider than the artery travelling through. The extra space creates a set of air pockets (also known as air sacs) that cushion the artery allowing it to move when twisted.

So there you are. I’m sure there’s much more to it than this but that seems to be the main thing that allows owls to do something this amazing. I hope you learned something from this, if you disagree with anything I’ve said here or have anything to add then leave a comment below. Thanks for reading and have a great day,

sophofbread

References:
http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/02/04/twist-and-hoot-secret-of-owls-neck-rotation-revealed/
http://www.livescience.com/26771-how-owls-rotate-heads.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21279609
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/01/revealed-how-owls-turn-their-heads-all-the-way-around/

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