Third Grade

Dissecting Owl Pellets!

Question to Explore

What can we learn about what owls eat by doing an owl pellet dissection?


  • owl pellets (one per pair of students). I bought mine on Amazon!
  • paper plate
  • gloves
  • magnifying glass
  • spray bottle of water (to loosen pellets)
  • lab manual
  • owl pellet chart
  • dissection tools: tweezers, wooden or metal stick, scissors


  1. Explore the owl pellet chart and predict which animal bones you will find
  2. Gather supplies: paper plate, owl pellet, dissection tools, and gloves
  3. Unwrap the owl pellet, place it on the plate, and spray it with water
  4. Draw the outside of the owl pellet
  5. Begin breaking apart the owl pellet with scissors. Be careful not to break any of the bones
  6. When you find bones, clean them off and match them to the fossils on your owl dissection chart
  7. When all the bones have been dissected, count the number of each type of bone found
  8. Decide how you will organize your bones. Glue them onto a piece of construction paper and label each one



This video gives a great introduction to what owl pellets are:

I bought this great lab manual from Teachers Pay Teachers for $1!