Owl Pellets For Dissection Prior to performing experiments with owl pellets, it is a good idea to know more about them to start with. This fact sheet will attempt to answer the most frequently asked questions on the subject. What Is It? Simply put, an owl pellet is a mass of undigested parts from a bird's meals. Some bird species usually regurgitate these masses. Their lack of teeth requires them to swallow their food whole where the stomach does the digesting. What are they used For? Owl pellets provide a glimpse of their diet, that is, what they actually eat. Ornithologists gather and collect these specimens to discover seasonal variations in a bird's eating habits. This enables experts to learn more about the bird without having to kill and dissect it. Where Can they be Found? Birds usually get rid of pellets before hunting. A good place to start looking is the bird's nest or maybe its known hunting grounds. These are the most prevalent areas although there are slight variations with different bird species. What Is Inside? The contents of an owl pellet depend on what the bird feeds on. Typically found are small bones from rodents, plant matter that cannot be digested, exoskeletons of some insects, fur, feather, and the list goes on. As a rule of thumb, if the bird cannot digest it, it will end up in a pellet which it expels. How Do They Form? Once an owl swallows its meal, it travels down its gastrointestinal tract. In contrast to humans though, it can't break down all that material. All the contents that cannot be broken down must be expelled by the owl. It might seem difficult however the owl will be fine afterwards. Is It Safe To Dissect? Due to the fact that it is essentially an animal dropping, it may contain harmful substances. As a basic safety measure, ensure that you sterilize the pellet before starting an experiment. Also, observe proper laboratory guidelines especially when using appropriate safety equipment. Some Crucial Guidelines Dissecting pellets should be performed on proper venues such as science laboratories. Adult supervision is recommended when children are undertaking the experiment. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after dissecting. Owl pellets provide a great opportunity as teaching tools. Any curious child or adult can get started straight away. Luckily, kits are available from educational materials suppliers to meet anyone's requirements. These kits contain all of the needed material for the experiment including the pellet itself. Have fun learning with this exceptional resource.
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