Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Owl pellets

I've been doing a lot of reminiscing these days, and here's another story. Again in grade school, we had a special "Show and Tell" guest every now and then, a keeper from the local zoo. He would bring animals, set up in the library, and we would gather around the chairless, carpeted, auditorium-like setting at Owen Marsh Elementary School. At the time, I loved mice and I had developed a cartoon character I called Murdock the Mouse. I got permission from the teacher to leave the room on one occasion, before the zookeeper fed the boa constrictor he brought... The second time, I knew better than to handle the clump the man was handing around while describing the owl he had with him. Turns out it was an owl pellet, containing the bones and fur of a mouse! Raptors who swallow their prey whole then regurgitate what they can't digest, and the resulting pellets are dissected by schoolchildren and studied by scientists.

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