Owl Pellet Dissection

We wrapped up our bird study this weekend by dissecting owl pellets. I feel like everyone says they remember doing this in school, but I never did this! I think at our elementary school, owl pellet dissection happened in 4th grade, and my 4th-grade year we had a long term sub (like super long term, like half the year). However, it wasn’t the same person; it was several different subs. I’m wondering if that’s why we didn’t do it. I don’t remember doing much of anything that year, although I’m sure we must have done something. Anyway, because of that, this was interesting for me as well. Animal Lover LOVED it. I think she will be asking for owl pellets as gifts now. She thought they were like surprise toys. Chaosman decided not to join us. He wanted to see the finished project but had no desire to pick through the regurgitated mess himself.

The ones I ordered from Rainbow Resource came with three pellets, a study guide, plastic forceps, and a magnifying glass. We also ended up using our own old pair of metal tweezers, a plastic knife, and disposable gloves. However, Animal Lover decided to take the gloves off halfway through because she thought they were inhibiting her bone procurement. 

There were many bones in each of the pellets, but there was one that had four skulls in it, which I think was the most. We believe all the bones we found were from mice, but there was one that looked like it could have been a mole, however it was a little damaged, so it was difficult to tell the shape. It was crazy to see how much could fit inside the pellets.

Pete and Nibbles were very interested in the owl pellets. So much so that we had to put them in the downstairs bathroom while we finished because we were nervous they were going to try to eat the bones. I said to Animal Lover, “Oh I think Pete and Nibbles must love the smell oh these.” She said, ” Ahhhh me too. They smell like barns.”

Halfway through Animal Lover decided that she needed to get brushes to dust the bones like an archaeologist.

Below is the last picture I remembered to take, and shows most but not all of the bones on it. Dissecting owl pellets was even more interesting than I thought it would be. I’m sure we’ll do it again in the future. And since Animal Lover loves animals so much, it will probably be the only dissecting she’ll ever want to do.

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