Some of my favourite photos

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Dissecting an owl pellet

On a late evening walk my sister spotted this pellet from some bird of prey on a haybale next to a working farm and hedgerow.
The night before we saw an owl flying over to the farm in the same field   

The pellet measured 4cm long and had darkish brown and black fur with a tail poking out.

As we stared to take it apart we found one skull,  some vertebrae and a couple of tiny ribs. It smelt quite unplesant.

As we dissected it more and more we discovered that there was two skulls and two tails (you can see one tail in the bottom right hand side of the photo below).

Once we had taken most of the fur away we could identify shoulder blades, hip bones and the lower jaw bone.

I put this photo on Twitter and asked if anyone knew what these skulls belonged to,  it was suggested maybe rats or vole.
A friend sent me a fantastic owl pellet ID guide where you follow something like a flow chart. I think the big eye sockets  and the hip bones make it a rats skeleton.


  1. Thank you for all your comments on Twitter and for all the suggestions on what the skulls might be.

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