Owl Pellets

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What you see here are owl pellets. That is the polite term for the remains of the regurgitated remains of the victims of an owl’s meal…In other words….”Owl Barf”!

These pellets can easily be found where ever an owl(or hawk) has chosen to relax and enjoy its dinner. You will find the pellets under a large branch or close to the trunk of a tree. Owls really love a snack site in a tree that the top is broken off. That way they can look for their next meal while they munch.

Each pellet (it is NOT poop) usually contains the hair and bones of at least one slow mouse, or some other creature that zigged instead of zagged. Using forceps(tweezers), toothpicks or other pointed tools, carefully pull the pellet apart. Adding a few drops of water sometimes helps to open the pellet up. It will not smell because the owl’s stomach acids have killed or dissolved everything but the hair and bones. (Naturally, always wash your hands when finished.)

So who are some of the the losers of the night?          Enjoy!

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A mandible (jaw bone).

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The front leg joint (just like your elbow). The top bone is the end of the humerus(upper arm bone) and the bottom two are the radius and ulna(forearm bones). The one with the little notch in it is the ulna. It allows your elbow to bend.

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The pelvis and femur or hip of the mouse. See where the ball( on the femur) fits in the socket? The socket is still filled with fur…sorry….

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Not even owl barf grosses out Hannah, our Youth Science Advisor.

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Not a good night to be a mouse.

The amusing video below explains how owl pellets can be used in a science lab.

You can actually buy them wrapped in foil from science supply companies, but it is far more fun(and cheaper) to look for  them on your own.

MZH

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About Mike

Retired science teacher that is learning to blog...

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