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.

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