Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Owl Pellet Fun

I love it when books will spin off into rabbit trails.  The owls in Harry Potter have intrigued my youngest daughter brain and so a friend and I got together and ordered owl pellets.  Lo and behold all four of our girls were very excited about dissecting these things.

What is an owl pellet?
Owls often eat their food whole from the head to the tail like a snake.  But their stomach crushes the inedible parts together in a big ball of fur and bones which they throw up much like a cat with a hairball.  Above is one of the owl pellets we received.

Where would you find the things?

I guess people find them under owl's nests in barns or silos or in the forest.  But we got ours fairly inexpensively from Discount Owl Pellets.  They have a special offer for homeschoolers where you can get enough owl pellets for 2-3 students for $4 shipped.  We purchased 2 baggies worth.

What do you do with them?

We took toothpicks and scraped away all the fur to find the little bones.  On the Discount owl pellet site there is a chart to print out so you can match up your bones.

Want to see some bones?


There are 2 skulls and a ton of other bones here.  You can also see some of the fur still clinging to them.

Results:

They had a great time dissecting the pellets and learned a lot about how mice's bodies are made.  They spent about an hour at this activity.  This was one of the best nature studies we have done.

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