Sunday, November 13, 2016

Fulton Science Academy 4th Grade Owl Pellets


This week, fourth graders had a chance to discover what’s inside the pellet that barn owls leave behind and why they do it! After a brief presentation, students opened their owl pellets and got started. They spent the next 30 minutes dissecting the pellet and sorting the bones as they went along. Students were excited to discover what their owl had eaten. The content of each pellet is unpredictable. Students had rodent or mole skulls in almost all the pellets. When the dissection was over, students took their bones home in a plastic bag.

What, exactly, are owl pellets? The digestive fluids of owls are actually very weak and they cannot digest body parts like bones, teeth, feathers or fur. Owls, therefore, must regurgitate pellets or castings of the indigestible bits before eating their next large meal. Regurgitation of pellets is similar to how cats cough up hair balls.

Interesting to see science at work.

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