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How to Dissect an Owl Pellet

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I am so thankful that when it comes to homeschool science, Husband is more than willing to step up and handle all the gross stuff.  (Like the infamous chicken mummy!) He thinks it is cool.  What a guy.

This past week we studied owls.  Who knew those adorable little birds were so interesting?  I took care of the books and cute owl craft portion of the lesson; husband handled the owl pellet.  And I have to say, even though I was far too grossed out to touch it, the whole experience was pretty neat.

Princess was absolutely fascinated.   It totally appealed to her meticulous personality, and since Husband has been teaching her all the bones in the body for the past couple of months, she loved picking out all the different types of animal bones in the pellet.  Trouble was interested for a while, but eventually got bored–it took a couple hours to make it through the whole pellet–and wandered off to play Legos instead.

For those of you wondering what an owl pellet actually is, it is a bundle of undigestible animal parts (mostly bones and feathers) that an owl regurgitates after eating a whole animal.  Owls don’t have teeth to chew, so they simply swallow their prey whole, then get rid of the parts they can’t digest.  Our pellet had FOUR separate animals in it!  So gross, but pretty cool too!  (You can buy a kit of your own here for around $6.  Totally worth every penny!)

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Have you ever dissected an owl pellet?

11 Comments

  1. Barb
    February 15 at 09:16AM

    I loved reading her recap: “I want to do it every day.” I think she liked it! What a neat project.

    • Ruth
      February 15 at 02:26PM

      Oh she loved it! She has asked every day since if we can do it again, and she is keeping all the little bones & skulls in a plastic bag in her nightstand (ew!)

  2. Darcy
    February 15 at 09:30AM

    I don’t think I would be able to do that one either but they look really into it! Your husband does too. That is so neat that he can do that type of stuff with them.

    • Ruth
      February 15 at 02:28PM

      I love that he loves doing it!

  3. Jan
    February 15 at 09:52AM

    My kids would LOVE this! Ordering now!

    • Ruth
      February 15 at 02:27PM

      Let me know how it goes!

  4. February 15 at 11:58AM

    What an interesting project! I learned something new haha 🙂

    • Ruth
      February 15 at 02:27PM

      Glad I could provide a little education! 🙂

  5. Mari
    February 15 at 03:40PM

    Oh how cool! My son would love this!!! We will try later in the year. This post reminded me of all the pellets I have to rake on our wonderful ranch in CA. It seems yucky, but I sure do miss being home. The military moved us across the country just shortly after we happily purchased our dream home…The beautiful tress provide homes for the owls there and we find plenty of free pellets. Can’t wait to plan our move back!

  6. February 15 at 03:47PM

    Ok… first chicken mummies and now owl pellets?? lol I learned something new too!
    (and I am thinking about Boarding School as opposed to Home School so I don’t ever have to do this… hahaha).
    xo,
    Claire

  7. Angie D.
    February 17 at 10:40AM

    I love the idea that some entrepreneur had the good sense to collect these and sell them at a reasonable price. Talk about recycling!

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