Dissecting Owl Pellets

By Rebecca Karlin and Veronica Lashway


Last month our class dissected owl pellets and assembled the skeletons we found inside back together. Owl pellets are the parts of the owl’s meal, such as the bones and fur, that the owl couldn’t digest. So the owl will throw those parts up as a ball, called a pellet.

To dissect the pellets, we first separated the bones from the fur. The bones were very delicate, so it was very hard not to break them. After separating the bones from the fur, we laid out the bones on a bone identification sheet. We took the animal’s skull and used it to identify them. Our class found a lot of rodents.  Next, we took a black piece of paper and glued our animal skeletons to it. If we didn’t have enough bones, we got them from the “bone yard” (the place were we put our extra bones.) We had extra bones because sometimes there was more than one skeleton inside a pellet.

We learned a lot about the owl’s prey and the owl’s digestive system from this project. You can see our skeletons in the hall outside our classroom.

Learning about the Illegal Trade of Endangered Species

By Miles Gillett and Jack Nagy

On January 9, 2013, Micky Novak visited our class to talk to us about the illegal trade of endangered animals.  We learned that there are many reasons endangered animals are being traded illegally.  Here are just a few.  Micky said that in ancient cultures it was believed that Bengal tiger and bear gall bladders could make you healthy, even though they have no medicinal value.  He also said that most people who had endangered species products had no idea they were endangered species.  He said that most people were either carrying or wearing these items in airports.

On Micky’s visit, he was not short on confiscated products made from  endangered animals. One of the most memorable things he brought was an 18-foot python that was bought to be hung in a apartment in New York.  He also brought in a zebra pelt, a small statue made from ivory, a walrus tusk, an alligator purse, and many other items.  As you can see Micky’s visit had many interesting objects and was packed with information.

We learned that we should be aware of the things around us in case they are made from endangered species.  Micky said that it is illegal to own endangered species products without a permit.  These things stuck out to us because we think it is important to be aware of what is around you.