Are Owl Pellets Safe to Dissect?

by OBDK on September 20, 2021


Owl pellets are regurgitated material of everything that an owl can’t digest – fur, feathers, and bones of their prey. These pellets are a great dissection tool to help students learn problem-solving skills, dissection, and the skeletal structure of animals. 


But you might be worried about whether or not they’re safe to handle. 


The owl pellets you get from us are heat sterilized following health and safety standards. The process after we collect them looks like this:


  • Dehumidifying the pellets (as bacteria tends to form from condensation)

  • Wrapping the dried pellets in aluminum foil

  • Sterilizing them in a convection oven 

  • Cooling them to room temperature 

  • Bagging them 


By sterilizing them, we stop the process of the food chain. Moths tend to lay eggs on the pellets, and their larvae consume what’s on the pellet before they hatch and the cycle repeats. That being said though, we have to go out and collect these pellets in the wild before they’ve been sterilized. There’s never been a report of ill effects from barn owl pellets in that process. 


The same goes for the sterilized pellets you buy from us. We haven’t seen any incident of negative effects of dissecting barn owl pellets in our entire history since 1996.


So if you’re worried, you don’t have to be. We take precautions to make sure you have as safe an experience as possible with our pellets. Compare that with the formaldehyde that’s often used to preserve real animals that are used for dissection activities. 


If you’re ready to jump on the owl pellet bandwagon, shop our collection here or click on the button below! 


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