The astonishingly gory Legend of the Guardians movie was a bit of a let down for my then four year old son. However, the movie did inspire us to try our hand at dissecting owl pellets. I ordered a very impressive pellet kid from a laboratory that caters to schools. My son dawned plastic gloves and grabbed his dissecting tweezers with great gusto until he saw what task lay before him. He was quite put off by the nasty, dark, gritty little pellet. The compactness and density of the pellet was so great that his little hands could not work it apart. When he did break a piece of it off, he saw that it was nothing more than a wad of super compressed hair. This startling realization prompted him to not want to touch the thing again. I ended up bent over this tiny little hairball prying apart layer after layer of hacked up, nasty hair. Though the packaging said there was no risk involved, I was a bit concerned about breathing in the little hairs and whatever detritus was associated with them.

After considerable work, my son and I were able to see the fruits of our labor. Microscopic and unidentifiable animal bones because visible. Originally, I had anticipated that the pellet would be large and that the bones would pop-out and be easily recognized, but these little bones looked like specs of fingernail parings. Furthermore, the slightest amount of pressure on the bones caused them to fracture. This made it virtually impossible to free some of the bones from their hair encasing.

In the end, we had a partially liberated skeleton of…something. We had no idea what to do with it. We could not match it to the skeleton on the educational brochure that came with the kit. There was virtually no way to mount or preserve such a tiny thing. It was also quite grey and ugly and bits of semi-digested hair still clung to it. It hung out on my desk for a few days until it quietly disappeared and quickly became forgotten.

Owl Pellet Kit

Owl Pellet Kit


Handling An Owl Pellet

Handling An Owl Pellet

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