Learning Activity: Owl Pellet Dissection

I came across an owl pellet dissection kit yesterday when I was sorting through and decluttering my homeschool supply drawers. I figured it wasn’t doing us any good sitting in a drawer, and we have been studying birds all year so it was a good time to pull it out.
Sorry, no pictures of us actually dissecting the pellet–I was busy and my hands were dirty! But here are pictures of some of what we found:

Rodent bones!

Hm, what’s this?

Mandibles!

Anatomy of a mouse leg…

We had a lot of fun. I started out with Honeybee, Jumping Spider, and Ladybug, while Dragonfly played with Daddy. Eventually I lost Ladybug and Honeybee (Daddy’s activities apparently had more of a magnetic pull than teasing small mouse bones from a bundle of matted mouse fur) but Jumping Spider stuck with me till the end. Actually, he wanted to keep going when I was ready to be done. It was getting close to bedtime though, so we had to close up shop. We’ll have to do an owl pellet dissection again sometime in the future! I was surprised by just how tiny and fragile the bones were–I know mice are small, but somehow had never really thought about just how delicate their bones must be. But that kind of discovery is the whole reason we like to do hands-on activities–you gain a type of knowledge very different from what can be gleaned from books.

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2 Responses to Learning Activity: Owl Pellet Dissection

  1. 5wolfcubs says:

    I have just such a kit in my possession! You’ve inspired me to get it out!
    Lee

    • thegardener says:

      I’d love to hear how it goes! I knew I hadn’t cleaned up well enough the next day when our cat was sniffing around the area where we dissected the pellet–smelling mouse :)

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