In Brief

Japan's Latest Strange Trend: Owl Cafes

An owl at a Japanese "owl cafe," looking none too pleased.
An owl at a Japanese "owl cafe," looking none too pleased. (Image credit: kuu owl / YouTube)

You want to come into the fukurou cafe? Whoooooooooooooooo do you think you are?

Japan is known for having some unusual dining establishments, such as "cat cafes," where felines strut about to be petted by customers. But the newest trend is a bit more extreme: owl cafes ("fukurou" is the anglicization of the Japanese word for owl). The idea is pretty straightforward: Come to get some food or drinks, and hang out with some owls. In some such places, you can hold an owl while drinking your coffee, while others have more stringent rules, according to the gaming site Kotaku. There are owl cafes such as Fukurou Sabou ("Owl Teahouse") in Tokyo, and several in Osaka and other cities. The first such establishments started showing up late last year, the site noted.

The development has some environmentalists crying fowl, since owls are best left in the wild, according to Audubon magazine. They also don't make great pets, at all: Owls don't like to be petted or touched, have sharp talons and beaks, shed tons of feathers and poop a lot. They are also almost entirely nocturnal, so being kept up by humans during the day likely isn't a hoot for these birds.

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Douglas Main
Douglas Main loves the weird and wonderful world of science, digging into amazing Planet Earth discoveries and wacky animal findings (from marsupials mating themselves to death to zombie worms to tear-drinking butterflies) for Live Science. Follow Doug on Google+.