Pellets can be dissected when they are dry, but are sometimes a little stubborn. Often it helps just to soak them for about half an hour before-hand and then pat them dry with paper towels.

  • Write your name and the date on a clean piece of card
  • Using the tweezers and a cocktail stick, tease the pellets apart
  • With the tweezers, carefully remove anything you find, clean it up and dry it on a paper towel
  • Match each item you remove with the Bone Identification Chart
  • Stick the items you have found on to your clean piece of card, carefully labelling each part as you do so. Remember to write the name of the prey on the card, once you are sure what it is - you may need more than one piece of card, if you think you have found more than one type of prey!
Looking at the inside of an owl pellet
To download A4 versions of each chart, please click here for CHART A & CHART B

There may be other things that you find inside your pellet, such as parts of insects or the quills of bird feathers. Make a note of these somewhere on your chart. All of these things can provide you with useful information.

Remember, all birds and animals have a preferred habitat and feeding habits, so finding out more about the owl’s prey will help you to discover more about the owl.

Now that you have dissected your pellet and carefully organised what you have found, see if you can answer the questions below.

1. What did this owl eat; did the pellet contain more than one type of prey?
2. Was this owl’s main prey Vegetarian?
3. Can you work out, from the type of prey, whether this owl hunts at night or
during the day?
4. Does the type of prey give you any clues about where this owl hunts?

See if you can construct a food chain using all the information you have gathered. Where is the owl most likely to be in your food chain?

Some things to think about
  • What would happen if one of the creatures in your food chain disappeared? What effect might it have on the other members of the food chain. What could happen to the local environment?
  • How might your food chain be affected if the local habitat was damaged or destroyed? Could this have any consequences outside of the local habitat?
  • We sell Owl Pellets for dissection at £2.50 each
  • Remember:- ALWAYS wash your hands after handling owl pellets and their contents!