Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Owl Pellet Fun

As part of our owl unit I ordered owl pellets from a company in California that had barn owl pellets. I also ordered a little guide book that not only gave information on the owls but had skeletal pictures of many of the rodents and birds they ate.

The owl pellets are sterilized and come wrapped in foil. They say you can dissect them dry or moist. All I can add is that when these pellets are moist they are very stinky, so we did ours dry. We just used toothpicks to gently take the pellet apart.

The girls were amazed by the number of bones we found in each pellet. Several skulls were identified as mice and shrews.
We had a skeletal drawing of a mouse that the girls could look at to identify hip bones, leg bones, ribs, etc. Even my three year old enjoyed this activity. When we were finished my girls glued the bones to a piece of paper. For older children, or if you have more time you can try to reconstruct an entire rodent with the bones you find.
This fit into our discussion about food chains and owls perfectly. I'm so glad we did this!
We did this activity the night before leaving on our spring break trip so we didn't get to spend too much time on it. We will pick up more activities to do when we get back to school.


  1. We've never been brave enough to do this! We have seen some owl pellets on display at the zoo though.

    Molly's babies are so big now! We've really enjoyed watching them.

  2. This brings memories of third grade, they DID stink, but it was cool. Looks like your girls had fun!! And I LOVE the new picture of your kids at the fence. Beautiful!

  3. Great project, but eewww! I know my kids would be so fascinated by this. I may give it a shot.

  4. That's something I've always wanted to do with my kids :)

  5. Love what you are doing with your children. You are so creative. I'm sure the hands-on aspect of the lessons will preserve the teachings in their memories forever.