When a tiny rare owl known as a morepork was brought into Massey Wildbase in New Zealand, he was sick and in need of a bath, a medicated bath that is.
Wildbase is a wildlife hospital, research and rehabilitation center. When they brought the little owl in to be rehabilitated they noticed he had “scurfy/flaky skin” and when a sample was tested it revealed he was covered with a lot of cocci (bacteria).
The morepork, also called the ruru, is a small brown owl found in New Zealand on Norfolk Island. Many of the nicknames for the owl are onomatopoeic, and meant to imitate the owl’s distinctive two-pitched call, which you can hear in the video below.
As the skin infection of this particular ruru was causing him irritation he got a special bubble bath, which his caregivers noted “he was NOT pleased about.”
Many owls dislike getting wet and this ruru was no exception.
Pauline Nijman, a supervisor at Wildbase, told the Dodo, “He’s a smaller kid but in lovely condition. [Though] once all the fluff is wet, they look frightfully pathetic!”
“We washed him with Chlorhexidine to deal to the bacteria, then rinsed clean,” Wildbase wrote on Facebook. “This is a similar technique we use for oiled birds and have the set up to do it.”
“After a few hours under the blow dryers he is looking spiffy and ready to try out his clean feathers…” the rescuers added. He certainly does look fluffy and happy again.
Animal lovers agreed, sharing the wet ruru’s bath time makeover tens of thousands of times on Facebook.
After his medicated bath, the morepork joined several other moreporks at the rehab clinic and hopes are he will be released back to the wild shortly.
Massey Wildbase takes in hundreds of animals a year.
Many of the birds they care for are endangered. And although this owl’s bath wasn’t one he liked, it really was for his own good!