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Mute Swan

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Scientific name: Cygnus olor

Other common names: N/A

The basics:
The Mute Swan is a large and distinctive white swan which is native to Europe and Asia. The Mute Swan is one of the heaviest flying birds, and is considered to be partially migratory, with swans in certain locations making permanent homes and others making seasonal migrations.

The Mute Swan has long been appreciated for its beauty and grace, and it has been introduced around the world as a captive, decorative bird. Unfortunately, this swan has a voracious appetite for plant material, and is highly territorial and aggressive. Captive swans often escape or are released and can disrupt natural ecosystems that they come to reside in. For this reason, many locations have regulations on the ownership of Mute Swans.

Appearance:
The Mute Swan is a very large white bird standig up to 4 feet tall with an orange beak and a black “mask” over the eyes.

Average weight:
9 - 13.6 kilograms (20 - 30 lbs.)

Lifespan:
25 - 30 years

Health:
Common ailments of swan are easily prevented with good nutrition and a proper living environment. One such example is bumblefoot. Bumblefoot is when a bird gets sores on their sensitive feet that become infected, possibly leading to a serious bone infection. To prevent this, swans need access to a variety of dry ground cover such as grass and pebbles and daily time in a large pond. If they spend time on an area where the flooring is made of a solid surface such as concrete or wood, they will need rubber mat, logs, and other perches to stand on. Your avian veterinarian will also help you learn how to prevent and treat any illnesses common to swans.

Behavior / temperament:
Although the Mute Swan easily learns who feeds them, they are not usually known to be a sweet pet. When males are protecting their mate and young they are hostile and dangerous. They will chase down intruders; during breeding season any living being may be seen as an intruder. Their bites and wing slaps can cause serious bruising to any human who dares to venture close enough.

Housing:
To house a bird as large as the Mute Swan you will need a large yard and large pond. The pond should have a depth of at least 3 feet. Natural shrubs and plants or a sheltered area will be needed to protect them from the elements.

Diet:
Keeping a Mute Swan well fed is not cheap. In the wild they eat several pounds of aquatic vegetation, un-ripened seeds, and young plants daily. A healthy diet for your pet Mute Swan would include a waterfowl maintenance pellet that is thrown into the water or served soaked in a bowl. They can also be fed natural water plants such as duck weed, alfalfa, and fresh greens. They should have access to fresh clean water at all times.

Written by Elaine Radford

wonderful

cygnets, beautiful creatures, farm

challenging

aggressive species, reputation, mean temperament, fecal matter

interesting

aquatic vegetation, massive wing span

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