Ethel the Owl has Butterfly House in a flap

Animal Presenter Amanda Sharpe with Ethel the Asian Wood Owl at the Tropical Butterfly House Wildlife and Falconry Centre
Animal Presenter Amanda Sharpe with Ethel the Asian Wood Owl at the Tropical Butterfly House Wildlife and Falconry Centre
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UP the Owls!

That’s very much the case at the Tropical Butterfly House where a stunning new arrival is making herself at home.

The centre in North Anston near Sheffield, is now home to three-year-old Asian wood owl Ethel.

The species is normally found in lowland tropical forest in Asia, including Thailand, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Southern India.

They reach up to around 60cm tall, but weigh no more than a kilogram.

Asian wood owls prey on small mammals including bats and shrews, occasionally feed on reptiles and are capable of preying on a bird up to the size of a pheasant using their large powerful feet.

Her relaxed and friendly nature has made Ethel an instant favourite with both the animal keepers and visitors.

Ethel will not just be on view to visitors, she also will be taking part in demonstrations.

Animal presenter Heather Scott said: “Once she’s had a couple of weeks to settle in to her new home, Ethel will be trained to fly in our daily free-flying bird displays, which also feature a seriema, raven, black kites and macaws, among other amazing birds.

“When she is ready, Ethel will also play a vital role in our Owl Prowl Experiences, during which guests have the opportunity to hold birds of prey at the centre and fly an owl through the woods.

“Isaac, our great grey owl, has done a fantastic job wowing participants in these VIP experiences so far, and it will be great to reward him with a bit of time off when Ethel steps in.”

Ethel isn’t the only new arrival at the centre.

Other new additions include four goat kids, a newborn baby Meerkat, a tiny Pygmy Marmoset and a young Rainbow Lorikeet chick who is ready to fledge.