Japanese zoo shocked after ‘male’ barn owl lays an egg

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Tokuyama Zoo officials expressed their amazement on Twitter on Monday after a “male” barn owl, Little Love (小愛), unexpectedly laid an egg.

The announcement and the picture of the “untimely egg” understandably shocked many, including the owl.

The zoo later issued a statement admitting its mistake and corrected the sex of the barn owl to female.

The zoo’s official Twitter account later posted a rectification tweet using the first-person point of view, which read, “I used to say I was male, but I’m sorry, I’m a woman.”

The post also called on everyone to continue to support the owl, and also marked funny keywords such as “screaming breeder,” indicating zoo staff’s shock.

▲日本徳山動物園承認弄錯了,小愛原來是女生啦。(圖/翻攝自@TOKUYAMA_ZOO的推特)
The Takuyama Zoo in Japan acknowledged their mistake after the previously deemed “male” barn owl turned out to be female. (Photo courtesy of @TOKUYAMA_ZOO/Twitter)

Little Love’s photo of her egg lead to much discussion online and received more than 30,000 likes on Twitter.

According to foreign media reports, Little Love arrived in the Tokuyama Zoo in 2016 and quickly won the favor of many tourists with her beautiful and elegant-looking coat and appearance.

When the zoo announced in 2020 that Little Love was confirmed to be male after blood tests, many fans were surprised because they felt the owl’s appearance looked distinctly female.

This question was resolved soon after Little Love laid an egg. It was reported that when the breeder witnessed Little Love staring, shocked at her egg, they cried out in surprise and locked up the birdcage as it became too chaotic.

The zoo later admitted that there was a mistake and explained that the sex judgment of birds was usually made by comparing chromosome differences.

However, the understanding of barn owls was still in the exploratory stage and DNA data was too little, Little Love was determined to be male through the auxiliary judgment of body shape and behavior at that time, which was a big misunderstanding.

Amused social media users left messages and comments such as, “Little Love said: I am the one who is the most confused,” and coined it “Mulan of the Bird World.”