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Put a puzzle together with the Horned Owl Pellet. Horned Owls often ingest larger prey, which requires that they break the bones of the prey to swallow it. Re-assembling a Horned Owl Pellet is for the master puzzler but also a great comparison to the Barn Owl Pellet in demonstrating why we primarily dissect them. Key differences include larger bone structures, a chalkier pellet because of the broken bones, and a more porous gray pellet.
Great horned owls are considered to one of the most voracious of all raptors. They eat a wide variety of prey such as mice, rats, rabbits and birds, including gulls, crows, and great blue herons. They also will eat reptiles, large insects, fish and road kill as well as domestic cats and dogs. Great horned owls usually hunt by perching on snags or poles and watching for their prey, or by gliding slowly above the ground. Their prey is usually killed instantly when grasped by their large talons. Great horned owls can take prey two to three times as heavy as themselves.
As part of the class’ study of great horned owls, the students can research what and how owls eat. The students will find that owls do not digest everything they eat. They spit up pellets, which contains bones and other parts of animals that they have eaten. The students can study the owl pellets to determine what the owls were eating. They can also use identification charts to determine what animals the owls have eaten.