Owl Pellet Dissection and Discussion-Live Lab!



In this fun, hands-on multidisciplinary approach to education, learners identify an owl pellet’s contents and practice recording and analyzing the data. Join us for a fun lab!


Meets once for 90 minutes-2 hours. A brief break will be taken. 

Owls are birds of prey, and one of the things they eat are small animals. After an owl eats the small rodents, birds, and bugs that are a part of its nightly diet, its stomach cannot digest the fur, bones, teeth, feathers, and insect shells from that food. These “extra” parts are formed into a tight pellet inside the owl and are then are later spit up by the owl. Owl pellets are the undigested parts of animals.

In this course, learners are given the opportunity to show the structure of a food chain based on
evidence from the dissection of an owl pellet. Although they have only minimal information
(based on what’s in the owl pellet) they should be able to infer other components of the food
chain (sources of energy, plants, decomposers, etc.) as they existed in the natural environment.
Learners will also be able to predict what would happen should owls be taken out of the food
chain and how this might impact the natural world as a whole.

We will begin with a short slideshow that outlines the following: ecosystems, ecologists, producers/consumers, population and growth, predators, and more. We will then use the Scientific Method to make predictions before dissection. As we dissect the pellet, we will sort what we find. In our packet, we will find various bone diagrams and we will try to figure out which animals the owl had eaten. We will fill out our packet after we’re finished, and do a food web drawing and writing activity. This entire process takes 90 minutes to 2 hours.

Unifying Concepts:
Cause and effect
Form and function

Life Science Concepts:
Populations and ecosystems
Structure and function

Physical Science Concept:
Transfer and transformation of energy
Science in Personal and Societal Perspectives Concept:
Population, resources, environments

Mathematics Concepts:
Data collection, organization and analysis

ELA Concepts:
Organized technical writing
Determining central ideas or conclusions while providing an accurate summary
Comparing and contrasting information gained from discipline-specific tasks and media and from text


This class is not yet scheduled. Please submit a request.

Parent Information

I will provide the packet needed for observation and recording. Learners will need to supply tweezers, white paper, pencil, magnifying glass, and gloves. Additionally, you may provide owl pellets you’ve found around your home, or purchased online, such as these: http://a.co/2isDXfj The price for pellets varies, but this pack of 5 is $15 shipped. You do NOT have to use this link to purchase.