EcoSolutions diet tips!

How do we really show our wealth?

It’s not your car, your bank balance, your house, your overseas trips ... it’s your stomach. Interestingly enough, it’s not just your stomach, its every stomach. Barn owls show us how.

Barn owls (Tyto alba) are able to respond to rodent eruptions - a simple equation, lots of rats - lots of owlets, fewer rats - fewer owlets. But how does a female owl know how many rats are out there? She checks her waistline.

Egg laying in Barn owls is directly related to fat reserve. In good rodent years, a female Barn owl can lay as many as 15 eggs, sometimes twice a year. An owlet comes out of the egg and takes about 40 days to fledge. From day old chick to fully grown and flying in 40 days is remarkable and requires lots of food. That is why it has been estimated that a Barn owl family can consume up to 2000 rats in a year.

Can we relate? Many cultures use the simple waistline test to illustrate wealth. A nicely filled out wife indicates that times are good, a couple of nicely filled out wives indicate that times are very good. So, next time you see your reflection in a window, don't cringe, stand up straight, stick it out and be proud that in real biological terms, you are wonderfully wealthy.

For more on Barn owls and their insatiable appetite click here

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