Sophie excitedly came home from school last week saying that she needed us to buy her some rubber gloves when we went shopping because she'd be bringing home an owl pellet to dissect! That's something I've always wanted to do, for some strange reason, so we sat down yesterday afternoon and had a play, to see what we'd discover. If you're not sure what owl pellets are, they are basically all the undigested parts - bones, fur, feathers, ... - of whatever prey the owl has been eating that it sicks back up. Lovely ! I was quite surprised at how large they are.
Having already worked on this at school, Sophie knew exactly what to do. You soak it in a little water so it is easier to pull apart.
Then use tweezers and cocktail sticks to gently tease it apart and extract any recognisable bones.
The material, called the matrix, that holds it all together looks a bit like the soil you get in growbags.
What secrets will it hold? Has this owl been eating little rodents or birds?
Well, I'm not sure but those are definitely skulls !
I'm not entirely sure but Sophie thinks that on the left, it's a beak and on the right, there are lots of tiny bones, maybe from mouse legs.
Homework was never this much fun when I was a kid !
You can find out all about dissecting owl pellets on the RSPB kids' website. This youtube video also gives a great overview of what owl pellets are and what you can discover inside them :
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