New Experience #42: Dissected An Owl Pellet

dissecting an owl pelletI share an Amazon Prime account with my sister, so she finds out about my purchases very soon after I make them.  When she saw that I ordered a set of owl pellets, she said we might have to separate our accounts.  In the past year, I’ve ordered a meditation bowl, ladybug larvae, caterpillars, a ladder ball game and now owl pellets.  My sister typically orders birthday presents, diapers, and air filters.  When you put our purchases together, we upset Amazon’s algorithm for recommendations.  We are getting all kinds of weird featured recommendations in odd combinations.  The last time I logged on, Amazon recommended a Frog Dissection Kit, a Diaper Genie refill, and a Scrabble Dictionary… not a typical combination!

But back to New Experience #42:

I thought it would be a great experience to dissect an owl pellet- a combination of nature and biology.  An owl pellet is the undigested parts of an owl’s food.   When an owl hunts, it swoops down and swallows a small mammal in one gulp.  Since it has no teeth, it doesn’t chew the food.  It digests the animal in its stomach.  Whatever it cannot digest, it coughs up in a pellet.  So, an owl pellet is usually made up of the fur and bones of a small mammal.

Disgusting. But also fascinating… a great New Experience in my opinion!

owl pellet dissectionArmed with latex gloves and the little wooden sticks that came with the kit, we started to dissect the pellets.  Leah was not excited about this task.  She kept complaining that this was “horrible”.  I told her that once she saw the little bones, she might be more interested.

Luke was also disgusted, but he was interested in finding the bones. I think it was a bit of a treasure hunt for him.  He became very animated whenever he found a new bone.

The pellets did not disappoint.  We found at least 40 bones between the two pellets, including 2 skulls that were completely intact.  Using the little guidebook that came with the dissection kit, we were able to identify a few of the bones as skulls and femurs of voles.  Most of the other bones were too small or too broken to identify at all.

owl pellet dissection 3Luke really enjoyed this activity and is looking forward to dissecting the extra pellet we have.  Leah never really came around to enjoying this activity.  I was hoping she would think it was interesting once the pellets were pulled apart and she could see the bones, but she was still pretty disgusted.  Not every New Experience we try is a big hit with both kids, but this one was definitely educational!

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About 52BrandNew

I am a single stay at home mom who is determined to live life to its fullest.
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2 Responses to New Experience #42: Dissected An Owl Pellet

  1. I am amazed. Who’d have thought you can buy owl poo on Amazon? :-) My hubby’s a biologist so I often have the right to this kind of ceremony in my kitchen, complete with identification of the bits he finds. Yuck.

    • 52BrandNew says:

      Yes, you can find just about everything on Amazon! Crazy!
      We could have used your husband’s help! I couldn’t tell the difference between tibias and fibias. Mice and voles are very small!

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