21 October 2010

Martha can even make owl vomit look good


Martha Stewart Crafts Department via blog.craftzine.com

In case you didn't know, owls regularly produce owl pellets: blobs of regurgitated bones, fur, and other bits that doesn't make it through their digestive tracts. Once dried up, these little nuggets of wonder are fascinating to dissect, as they provide a mostly-intact accounting about what the owl just ate.

Owl-pukeYou can buy ready-to-dissect owl pellets. Another option: make your own! No vomiting required!

This project comes from Martha Stewart, which makes it all the more delightful because it's funny to think about Martha Stewart crafting animal barf.

I first learned about owl pellets because pellet dissection was the highlight of a recent hands-on science program at my daughter's school. She came home with a tiny bag full of tiny bones, and a HUGE smile on her face. If you think your kid might be interested, the book/pellet kit Owl Puke would make a great gift.

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That is the most impressive faux-owl vomit I have ever seen.

I hate science. However, I took an environmental science class in high school (20 years ago) that was awesome. This was one of the things that we did. I don't mean make the fake, but dissect the real. It was one of the best classes that I have every taken (that includes college).

My daughter came home with a wonderful science poster made by taking apart an owl pellet, sorting through the mouse bones, arranging them by type and labeling them.
Sadly, the poster was left on the floor, and our dog ate it. Even bones that have been through an owl's digestive system, sanitized, and then covered with Elmer's glue are appealing to dogs. Keep your owl pellets away from your dog!

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