We were given the opportunity to order free owl pellets. (Thanks, Michele, for the tip!)
NOTE - I get a LOT of hits on this post from people googling "free owl pellets". :-) The result just below mine in your google search is this one. Try that for your no-cost owl pellets. Updated March 2010 - I've been told this is no longer an option for free owl pellets, at least not in most cases.]
Did you know owl pellet dissection kits sell for about $20? I saw them at the Nature Center.
If you'd like to try a NO-MESS owl pellet dissection, here is a GREAT website. I've written a whole blog post about it - HERE.
When the pellets arrived, I put them aside for a rainy day - and today was the day! David was busy with another project (his Mandalorian armor) so the pellet dissection kept Suzy, James, and Emily busy for an hour or so on Tuesday.
First they measured their pellets and then soaked them in warm water. Em's and Suzy's got very gooey right away - lots of fur in theirs. James was larger and harder - more bones.
They used toothpicks and tweezers to pick apart the pellets. Once they were soaked, they came apart easily but many bones were very small.
These facial expressions were quite involuntary! LOL
This is a skull that James found in his pellet. He is holding on to the long orange teeth.
Here are the bones they were able to glean from the pellets. We dumped the wet fur - nothing quite so nasty as wet fur, especially when it's been regurgitated, dessicated, disinfected, and rehydrated. lol I think once they're dry, I'll have the kids glue them to cardboard and then they can write in some labels of what they are.
I should have taken a picture of the dry pellets. I do have one left for David, so maybe I can photograph that. I really thought he'd see the cool things they were finding and want to join in, but his spray painting and plexiglass was apparently far more intriguing.