Owl pellet science project

Posted on: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 2:26am
abers's picture
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Joined: 10/11/2001 - 09:00

My son's second grade class is going to be dissecting owl pellets for science class this week. If you've not heard of this rather gross but interesting project, the kids are given owl pellets (apparently stuff they regurgitate) to take apart and the bones of the animals they have eaten (mice, etc.) are separated out and contructed back together. Apparently they order the pellets from a company that has cleaned them so there is not bacteria, etc. I've seen the results once at another school and I have to admit it was pretty cool -- but I'm concerned about the pellets containing nuts if the owls ate nuts, etc. I have a call in to the science teacher to ask if the kids will be using gloves -- and to insist that my kid wear gloves even if the others are not.
Has anyone dealt with this project before? I did not see any old postings. Thanks,

Posted on: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 2:59am
phoenixrizing69's picture
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Joined: 12/21/2007 - 10:54

I supervised this project twice last summer at the camp where I work. It's actually a really cool project and the kids loved it! I have severe PA and TNA and had no issues with the project at all. If I remember correctly, the owls used only eat small rodents, but I'm not 100% sure. The kids should be given the option of wearing gloves or not, and they use a tooth pick like tool to take apart the owl pellets, although, the kids I worked with preferred to pick the pellets apart with their hands.

Posted on: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 8:22am
solarflare's picture
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Joined: 02/07/2002 - 09:00

Owls are carnivores... they don't eat nuts.
It's easier to use tweezers to dissect owls pellets than fingers.

Posted on: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 8:25am
phoenixrizing69's picture
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Joined: 12/21/2007 - 10:54

Yeah...I used tweezers to help the kids....the kids liked to use their fingers, hence, a lot of broken rodent bones.

Posted on: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 11:58am
abers's picture
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Joined: 10/11/2001 - 09:00

Good to hear... my husband and I are thinking about just letting him use his hands because he does not want to feel different. I think the risk is low and he will wash very carefully. The science teacher happens to have shellfish allergy too and understands better than most...

Posted on: Mon, 05/05/2008 - 12:23am
30Allerg's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2008 - 07:11

My child did this a few years ago - her science teacher gave her non-latex gloves and a mask to wear while disecting the pellets - she had a great time AND felt safe. While I thought it was overkill, my dd thought it was OK since she was able to really enjoy the project.

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