wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.

Owl Pellets

34 Comments

I found these pellets (not poop, and most likely from an owl) on my driveway yesterday. Thanks to the many trees, we have a lot of owls in the neighbourhood.

When the rabbit, mouse, or rat populations get too high, the owls show up in greater numbers and stay until those populations are down again.

By the way, did you know that while rats and mice belong to the order rodentia, rabbits do not? They belong to the lagamorpha order.

You might think that owls are greedy, eating the whole animal from head to toe (and they literally do start at the head), but they have it all figured out. The crunched up fur, bones, and claws are  cast out in pellet form. In plain English, they throw up the parts they don’t want to digest. This is sometimes called casting.

In the pellets below you can see that the owl probably ate something with gray fur. A few bits of bone are showing in one of the top left pellets.

If you think this is a rather  disgusting way to eat, consider how we might tackle a piece of meat with our knife and fork. We cut around the bone and we cut away pieces of fat and gristle. The owl, lacking a knife and fork just does this job in a different way, but the result is the same. The unpalatable parts are discarded.

You might not give a hoot about this info, but owl bet you learned something. 😉

Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

34 thoughts on “Owl Pellets

  1. I give a hoot! Very interesting, Anneli. I thought rabbits were in the Rodent family. I like your thoughts on our way of cutting up meat. 😎

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Self isolation is really getting kind of funky now. Ha ha ha. Just kidding. Interesting post, but I have one question. Have you seen Lincoln this morning?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Identifying animals via scat is most intriguing…and the owl pellets most revealing about their lives. Cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Makes perfect sense 🙂

    Like

  5. We have one owl on our property, and a red hawk on our neighbour’s, but I haven’t seen either yet.
    Take care, and stay safe,
    Pit

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Owl bet I did. This was all new to me. You really are a bird expert.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hahaha. 🙂 Owls know how to eat well. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • They sure do and it’s amazing the size of animal they will fly off with. I once saw one pick up a rabbit at the side of the road and it could barely clear the pavement as it crossed the road into the thicker trees on the other side.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have never seen an Owl in real nor what they left behind themself after a good meal. Interesting birds. Thanks for the lesson!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Looking forward to any owl photos you may get.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow. learned something today. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Owl pellets are very cool. I did a mammal ID course here in the UK which used the contents of owl pellets to teach us how to identify rodent bones! Incidentally, herons will cough up pellets too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that’s very interesting, about the herons. I knew that other birds of prey like falcons did that, but not herons. Did they take any measures to sterilize the pellets before examining them. I read that they can carry viruses and/or bacteria. Would be an interesting course!

      Like

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