28 December 2010

The contents of an "owl pellet"

I sometimes see these while hiking.  A post this week at Naturespeak reminds me that I need to take the time to dissect one sometime. 

For those who don't go out walking, or live in urban areas, owl pellets are available for purchase at sites that provide educational materials.  They make interesting gifts for children with inquisitive minds.  (I should have mentioned this before Christmas...)


  1. Why have I never done this? Okay, "dissect owl pellet" goes on the resolution list. Thanks for the idea.

  2. Given that owls tend to eat small mammals, isn't hantavirus a concern when handling pellets?

    Hantavirus is nasty (so much so that it has been seriously considered as a biological weapon) and I recall National Forest Service posters advising campers not to disturb mouse leavings as doing so could lead to hantavirus inhalation and infection.

  3. Always something interesting to read and think about here on your blog. Thanks. You can learn a lot from scat.

  4. These are so much fun to investigate!

    Z--All pellets mass-collected for educational purposes are sterilized first, then covered in tin foil. They look like mini baked potatoes!

  5. Two of my daughters had a GREAT 3rd grade teacher. One of their science projects was to dissect owl pellets. Each of them now has a complete vole skeleton proudly framed and displayed. Parents got to help. Great fun.


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