Dissecting Owl Pellets

December 13, 2007 at 11:00 am (Uncategorized)

WARNING: Mom, this has to do with mice.  Read at your own risk!  LOL

Yesterday we dissected an owl pellet.  What is an owl pellet you ask?  Maybe the cover of the book that came with the pellet will explain…


Yep, it is owl puke!  LOL Years ago my oldest son and I where at a Science Museum and they had a table where you could dissect a Owl Pellet.  I had never heard of them before but once we knew about them I found them really interesting!.  What happens in when the owl eats a rodent or bird he cannot digest the bones.  So he has a special pouch that holds all the bones and packs it tightly into a ball combines with some of the hair from the mice.  Once the pouch is full it spits up the little ball onto the forrest floor.

The Pellet
(If my Mom is still reading she will pass out when she sees the next picture!  LOL)

Yes it is gross!  But very interesting!!!

Companies go around and pick these up, sterilize them and then sell them for crazy people like us who want to dissect them!  LOL 

They are really fascinating!  Here is my daughter just starting to dig in to her half.

This guy loved it!!!

Cool!

Here you can see the little pile of bones my daughter is getting out of hers.


Here the boys have found a skull!  Theirs is a rodent skull. My daughter found a bird skull!  The kit came with a chart to help figure out what you have found.

He is matching up the top part of the skull with the jaw bone below.

Here is the best picture we got of one of the skulls.  It amazing what is in at little ball!

In this picture you can tell how much of the ball was hair. For the most part it is bones packed tightly together with the little bit of hair.

I just love shots of them all learning together!

Examining the bones with a magnifying glass.

Here are all the bones we found sorted out.  We ended up with 2 full skulls and 1 half skull!  Plus a lot of other bones!

All of the kids really enjoyed this.  The book has a lot of info on owls, which we will be reading in the upcoming days.  There are a couple owl crafts and even a recipe to make edible owl pellets if you can stomach it! LOL 

Here is a blog post I came across awhile back with everything you could ever want to know about studying owls!

http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/amtell/217394/?#c567069

Here is the link to the book/owl pellet we used.

BTW, in case you are wondering…My Mom is terrified of mice (dead or alive) and an avid reader of my blog.  I just HAD to warn her! (And rib her a bit!  LOL)

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5 Comments

  1. Anonymous said,

    Ok my boys will love this one. First we will be doing dissection. Then owl puke. Thanks for the links.

    Martha
    http://www.sunrisetosunset123.blogspot.com

  2. kimalita said,

    I remember doing this in school myself, how neat that you found a kit for it. I will have to locate one for my own homecshooling bunch!
    By the way, I'm Kim. I've been reading various blogs, yours included, and decided to start one of my own…

    Yours always brings a smile to my face

  3. 4sweetums said,

    My oldest son loved disecting owl pellets a few years ago. I am sure I will be doing it with the next set of kids in a few years.
    Blessings,
    4sweetums

  4. msack said,

    We have done this before and it really is neat! We did whole unit study on owls! Wonderful creatures that eat up the MICE 🙂

  5. Anonymous said,

    We did this 1.5 years ago and need to do it again! It was lots of fun. Funny thing… when we did it, my dd and I both got our own pellet. She picked the large one and mine was quite a bit smaller. It ended up that I had 1 large skull & skeleton in mine, while she had 3 much smaller skulls!
    Dana, http://www.alexml.blogspot.com

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