Owls in Futurama are so numerous and plentiful that they are considered a pest. Conversely, the electric owl in Blade Runner represents something beautiful that no longer exists. And in a larger sense, all animals are so rare in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, that even owning the titular Sheep is considered a status symbol so large that faking it with an electric one is a viable option.


Was the owl chosen for Futurama as a reference to Blade Runner's owl?

3 Answers 3


I believe that the owls in Futurama are a subtle nod towards Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. As I understand it, Philip K Dick guessed that the first species to be made extinct due to the destruction of the environment would be the owl. So Futurama took the exact opposite approach and said that owls replaced pigeons/rats as the dominant pest of New New York.

Unfortunately I haven't found any quotes from anyone related to the show regarding the owls. The Futurama Wiki has a short post discussing this fwiw: http://futurama.wikia.com/wiki/Talk:Owl

  • 2
    I know they mentioned picking the owls as the future vermin in the DVD commentaries. It was pretty funny when later on rats started showing up as well, so in the future there are no rats, only owls... also rats.
    – user1027
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 14:10
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    Ah, found it after wandering a wiki. In the commentary for Parasites Lost, they explicitly state that the future is only supposed to have owls as vermin, but they screwed up sometimes so they have both. They don't mention why they picked owls though.
    – user1027
    Commented Jun 16, 2012 at 2:57

I don't think so. According to the commentary (I forgot which season), the owls were brought in to kill the rats and mice in houses but now they themselves have become the pest. Hince the need for Mom's sons to pose as Owl Exterminators while looking for the Anti-Backwards crystal in 'Bender's Game'. However, some episodes do not stay true to this. I still see rats in Old New York.

  • Right, I heard that interview too. The original idea was that there were several iterations of this, new and different predators to replace the previous ones, and even the current one would hangs throughout the series. In the end it was too much effort for a quiet little background joke so they just left it as owls.
    – Broklynite
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 10:23

The owls in Futurama are a back-handed allusion to the conflict on the US west coast between environmentalists and loggers over the protection of the spotted owl under the Endangered Species act.

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    Do you have a reference for this?
    – kjw
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 19:22
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    without a reference you could as well say that "its a symbol for lost innocence of children growing during Vietnam war"
    – Yasskier
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 19:38
  • This is what I always assumed. The spotted owl debacle was a very prominent story in US news just a few years before Futurama debuted. I figured the joke was that they used to be endangered, now they have been protected to the point of overpopulation and have achieved "pest" status instead.
    – techturtle
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 17:40

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