Adventures in Science! Part One: Owl Vomit

On Friday, I met up with daemonwolf and her ilk to do SCIENCE. In essence, this meant that we were spending our free time on a Friday night to dig through owl vomit, which is actually much cooler than it sounds.

Here’s the part on the instructions that caught my eye:

0014xx83

Who am I to argue with the printed word? I am now a scientist. This was way easier than four+ years of college, and I sincerely hope that I get invited to other gatherings with printed words that make me an ARTIST, a BUSINESSWOMAN, an ASTRONAUT, and a KABUKI WARRIOR. The sky is really the limit with these sorts of freely-photocopied degrees.

0014gthr

Tara set the tone for the evening by putting one of these foil-wrapped wonders dangerously near her mouth. The rest of the evening was filled with jokes about owl bulimia and whether or not the pellet vomiting makes them the Princess Diana of birds, how our respective parents felt when we informed them we were spending our evening fiddling with vomit, and how much pelleted mouse fur it would take to make Donald Trump a decent-looking toupee.

0014h3dd

 

0014kc9x

0014pw2s

 

To start off with, everyone grabbed an index card, some gloves, dental piks, tweezers, and tiny brushes, and then spent some time carefully considering which pellet would be filled with the most awesome stuff. Some people were clearly in the ‘bigger is better’ camp, while others believed that good things come in small packages. Me? I hedged my bets and went for a medium pellet.

OH GOD THAT’S NOT CANDY.

0014qfss

My pellet, unwrapped. At this point, I put my camera away and got to business. I didn’t really want to touch the pellet and then touch my camera–it’s not a great camera, but I’m just squicky about that sort of thing.

After we were all done picking out bones and skulls and teeth (which took a much longer time than any of us anticipated, and if we were TRULY thorough about it, it would’ve taken several more hours to pick out the tiniest bones from the PILES of fur stacking up at our respective places. I mean, as a scientist, I knew these were compacted–I just didn’t know HOW compacted. MAN this is a long aside!) we had arts and crafts hour with the bones, gluing them onto clean index cards in the shapes that we felt best represented the animal that was initially consumed by the owl, using the diagram as our guide:

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One of the scientists gave his a little hair-fro so that we could better picture how the animal was in life. I feel this was a very accurate representation. The mandible throwing star is also a nice touch.

science

One of the scientists got a pellet that consisted of nothing but enormous bones. Another one had an enormous skull. With their powers combined, they were Captain Planet!

0014sexh

The owl that produced the below pellet got exotic and swallowed a snake. SPINE-TINGLING.

001545de

Tara found a crazy standing abomination with claw hands. It’s like that claw-man from Ghost in the Shell part II. As a scientist, I feel comfortable saying that I would be terrified were I to come across this in nature.

science2

I saved mine for last, because what I found was pretty flipping exciting, even for a scientist. I FOUND A MINIATURE CTHULHU. There’s no other explanation.

cthulhu

00152p7s

Oh MAN are the elder gods ever pissed at the owls. Even moreso than that tootsie pop kid.

88 Comments Adventures in Science! Part One: Owl Vomit

  1. zophos November 12, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    Man, I had that owl pellet on my wishlist for FOREVER and no one ever bought it so I finally took it off. I now see what I am missing and will redouble my efforts to receive one for Christmas.

    1. admin November 12, 2007 at 11:39 pm

      If you would really like one, I am certain that I could get one for you. I’m just that sort of benevolent, vomit-giving benefector.

      1. kindofstrange November 13, 2007 at 12:57 am

        I like the approach that this product takes. I really feel like they’re going for the ‘science is serious business’ angle, like real scientists.

        1. admin November 13, 2007 at 1:05 am

          OWL PUKE: The book is an awesome, awesome title. Worthy of such a scientific endeavor.

          1. m_cobweb November 13, 2007 at 2:20 am

            I wonder if the used books come with used owl pellets.

            (One seller is Owl Books, appropriately enough.)

          2. admin November 16, 2007 at 7:27 pm

            Somehow, the phrase ‘used’ owl pellet sounds unseemly.

          3. admin November 16, 2007 at 7:27 pm

            Somehow, the phrase ‘used’ owl pellet sounds unseemly.

          4. m_cobweb November 13, 2007 at 2:20 am

            I wonder if the used books come with used owl pellets.

            (One seller is Owl Books, appropriately enough.)

        2. admin November 13, 2007 at 1:05 am

          OWL PUKE: The book is an awesome, awesome title. Worthy of such a scientific endeavor.

      2. kindofstrange November 13, 2007 at 12:57 am

        I like the approach that this product takes. I really feel like they’re going for the ‘science is serious business’ angle, like real scientists.

    2. admin November 12, 2007 at 11:39 pm

      If you would really like one, I am certain that I could get one for you. I’m just that sort of benevolent, vomit-giving benefector.

  2. zophos November 12, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    Man, I had that owl pellet on my wishlist for FOREVER and no one ever bought it so I finally took it off. I now see what I am missing and will redouble my efforts to receive one for Christmas.

  3. lemur68 November 12, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    I’ve looked through this like twice and I still can’t figure out exactly what manner of witchcraft you were up to. Let’s see, you’re picking apart owl turds to figure out what it ate? And then building a skeleton of it?

    1. lemur68 November 12, 2007 at 11:27 pm

      Oh, vomit, my bad.

      1. admin November 12, 2007 at 11:36 pm

        That’s pretty much the gist of it. Except we were doing it for SCIENCE.

      2. admin November 12, 2007 at 11:36 pm

        That’s pretty much the gist of it. Except we were doing it for SCIENCE.

    2. lemur68 November 12, 2007 at 11:27 pm

      Oh, vomit, my bad.

  4. lemur68 November 12, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    I’ve looked through this like twice and I still can’t figure out exactly what manner of witchcraft you were up to. Let’s see, you’re picking apart owl turds to figure out what it ate? And then building a skeleton of it?

  5. turandot November 13, 2007 at 12:25 am

    I had to do that for my teacher training program

    Things I was supposed to learn:
    1. owl quickly separate their prey(s) bones and skin from the meat, and regurgitate the former
    2. owls eat mostly rats and other small rodents
    3. owls only eat once every 2-3 days, spending the rest of their evenings (they’re nocturnal) tracking their prey(s)’ habits.

    Things I learned while dissecting the owl’s pellet (sorry for the self quoting):
    1. dude, this is gross
    2. if this is how children are supposed to learn science, no wonder most of them don’t want to
    3. my owl ate a lot of shit, it must have been one of those big boned owls

    1. kindofstrange November 13, 2007 at 1:07 am

      Re: I had to do that for my teacher training program

      Did you dissect them dry, or soak them in water? I feel that the water method adds a yuck factor of at least 10.

      1. admin November 13, 2007 at 1:13 am

        Re: I had to do that for my teacher training program

        I’m really glad we didn’t do the water method. My mind keeps conjuring up what that might smell like, and it’s never roses and lillies.

      2. admin November 13, 2007 at 1:13 am

        Re: I had to do that for my teacher training program

        I’m really glad we didn’t do the water method. My mind keeps conjuring up what that might smell like, and it’s never roses and lillies.

      3. turandot November 13, 2007 at 1:27 am

        Re: I had to do that for my teacher training program

        Dry. But that crap sure gets in your eyes fast if you don’t dig carefully and we were not provided goggles with this crap. Thank god I was not wearing contacts that morning. A classmate was not so lucky… “Eww, I have owl vomit in my eyes!” =/

      4. turandot November 13, 2007 at 1:27 am

        Re: I had to do that for my teacher training program

        Dry. But that crap sure gets in your eyes fast if you don’t dig carefully and we were not provided goggles with this crap. Thank god I was not wearing contacts that morning. A classmate was not so lucky… “Eww, I have owl vomit in my eyes!” =/

    2. kindofstrange November 13, 2007 at 1:07 am

      Re: I had to do that for my teacher training program

      Did you dissect them dry, or soak them in water? I feel that the water method adds a yuck factor of at least 10.

    3. admin November 13, 2007 at 1:12 am

      Re: I had to do that for my teacher training program

      I must’ve been a weird little kid, because I always thought that the grosser the science was, the more AWESOME it was. I don’t really like to get my hands dirty now, but I still have a healthy appreciation for this sort of thing. After all, I am a scientist.

      1. turandot November 13, 2007 at 1:28 am

        Re: I had to do that for my teacher training program

        I prefer the kind of science that ends with lab explosions, personally. Always have, always will.

        1. admin November 13, 2007 at 7:12 pm

          Re: I had to do that for my teacher training program

          I, too, like this kind of science.

        2. admin November 13, 2007 at 7:12 pm

          Re: I had to do that for my teacher training program

          I, too, like this kind of science.

      2. turandot November 13, 2007 at 1:28 am

        Re: I had to do that for my teacher training program

        I prefer the kind of science that ends with lab explosions, personally. Always have, always will.

    4. admin November 13, 2007 at 1:12 am

      Re: I had to do that for my teacher training program

      I must’ve been a weird little kid, because I always thought that the grosser the science was, the more AWESOME it was. I don’t really like to get my hands dirty now, but I still have a healthy appreciation for this sort of thing. After all, I am a scientist.

  6. turandot November 13, 2007 at 12:25 am

    I had to do that for my teacher training program

    Things I was supposed to learn:
    1. owl quickly separate their prey(s) bones and skin from the meat, and regurgitate the former
    2. owls eat mostly rats and other small rodents
    3. owls only eat once every 2-3 days, spending the rest of their evenings (they’re nocturnal) tracking their prey(s)’ habits.

    Things I learned while dissecting the owl’s pellet (sorry for the self quoting):
    1. dude, this is gross
    2. if this is how children are supposed to learn science, no wonder most of them don’t want to
    3. my owl ate a lot of shit, it must have been one of those big boned owls

  7. yimmy149 November 13, 2007 at 12:39 am

    Wow, a business model based on wrapping up puke in foil and selling it to people.

    God bless America. πŸ™‚

    I was also impressed with the quantity and quality of bones. I remember my class going through one as a kid and it was not that exciting.

    1. admin November 13, 2007 at 1:06 am

      Someday I hope to cash in on that entrepreneural spirit by figuring out how to sell my dog’s poop. I figure he’s shitting out a GOLDMINE.

    2. admin November 13, 2007 at 1:06 am

      Someday I hope to cash in on that entrepreneural spirit by figuring out how to sell my dog’s poop. I figure he’s shitting out a GOLDMINE.

  8. yimmy149 November 13, 2007 at 12:39 am

    Wow, a business model based on wrapping up puke in foil and selling it to people.

    God bless America. πŸ™‚

    I was also impressed with the quantity and quality of bones. I remember my class going through one as a kid and it was not that exciting.

  9. julzerator November 13, 2007 at 12:44 am

    Now I’m really sad I missed it. πŸ™

    1. kindofstrange November 13, 2007 at 1:03 am

      We’ll just have to plan another one for the spring. πŸ™‚

      1. julzerator November 13, 2007 at 1:06 am

        Hell yes.

        And I’ll make sure to be there this time.

      2. julzerator November 13, 2007 at 1:06 am

        Hell yes.

        And I’ll make sure to be there this time.

    2. kindofstrange November 13, 2007 at 1:03 am

      We’ll just have to plan another one for the spring. πŸ™‚

  10. julzerator November 13, 2007 at 12:44 am

    Now I’m really sad I missed it. πŸ™

  11. shadowstitch November 13, 2007 at 2:15 am

    Ohhhh yes. At my parents’ house out in the boonies, there were tons of owls, and consequently tons of these pellets all throughout the woods. I used to regularly collect and dissect them, and make little D&D miniatures of horrific undead creatures. Once I even made a tiny bone throne out of former animal parts.

    I think my parents were justifiably worried about me.

    1. admin November 13, 2007 at 2:44 am

      bone throne….hee hee

      This comment pretty much sums up why you’re my most favorite person.

    2. admin November 13, 2007 at 2:44 am

      bone throne….hee hee

      This comment pretty much sums up why you’re my most favorite person.

    3. smacksaw November 14, 2007 at 2:49 pm

      You just needed to buy a King Diamond action figure and you’d have been set there.

      1. admin November 16, 2007 at 7:28 pm

        EVEN BETTER.

      2. admin November 16, 2007 at 7:28 pm

        EVEN BETTER.

    4. smacksaw November 14, 2007 at 2:49 pm

      You just needed to buy a King Diamond action figure and you’d have been set there.

  12. shadowstitch November 13, 2007 at 2:15 am

    Ohhhh yes. At my parents’ house out in the boonies, there were tons of owls, and consequently tons of these pellets all throughout the woods. I used to regularly collect and dissect them, and make little D&D miniatures of horrific undead creatures. Once I even made a tiny bone throne out of former animal parts.

    I think my parents were justifiably worried about me.

  13. m_cobweb November 13, 2007 at 2:20 am

    It’s good that we have owls to protect us from these horrific creatures.

    1. admin November 13, 2007 at 2:45 am

      OWLS ARE RAVAGING THE ECOSYSTEM WITH THEIR RUMBLING BELLIES.

      1. kindofstrange November 13, 2007 at 3:28 am

        But at least they are protecting us from the horror that is the Micro-Elder God.

      2. kindofstrange November 13, 2007 at 3:28 am

        But at least they are protecting us from the horror that is the Micro-Elder God.

    2. admin November 13, 2007 at 2:45 am

      OWLS ARE RAVAGING THE ECOSYSTEM WITH THEIR RUMBLING BELLIES.

  14. m_cobweb November 13, 2007 at 2:20 am

    It’s good that we have owls to protect us from these horrific creatures.

  15. autonomic_pilot November 13, 2007 at 3:15 am

    I prefer to think of my hair-enabled creature as the Bob Ross of mice. Happy little bones, happy little owls, happy little owl puke.

    1. kindofstrange November 13, 2007 at 3:27 am

      From this angle it looks more like the Don King of mice.

      1. admin November 13, 2007 at 4:34 am

        It sort of looks like a voodoo head on a stick to me. And the head is on fire.

        IT’S DECAPITATED GHOST RIDER!

      2. admin November 13, 2007 at 4:34 am

        It sort of looks like a voodoo head on a stick to me. And the head is on fire.

        IT’S DECAPITATED GHOST RIDER!

    2. kindofstrange November 13, 2007 at 3:27 am

      From this angle it looks more like the Don King of mice.

  16. autonomic_pilot November 13, 2007 at 3:15 am

    I prefer to think of my hair-enabled creature as the Bob Ross of mice. Happy little bones, happy little owls, happy little owl puke.

  17. cheeserock November 12, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    where do you get these pellets o’ vomit?

    1. admin November 13, 2007 at 12:04 am

      bought them online–it actually turned out to be a (semi)local provider. Looks like you can get them at Pellets, Inc.

      1. cheeserock November 13, 2007 at 12:06 am

        BUY LOCAL!! yes! and owls eat local, too.

        1. kindofstrange November 13, 2007 at 12:17 am

          The owls in WA are evidently fatties. I mean seriously, the owl pellet I dissected in MI barely even had one skeleton. These bastards all seemed to have multiples.

          I wonder if they can even fly at this point…

          There was also a discussion around whether or not it would be ethical to run an owl pellet business and force feed the owl ala fois gras.

          1. admin November 13, 2007 at 12:22 am

            Yeah, I seem to recall that when my class observed an owl pellet…dissection (for lack of a better word), there was very little of note inside.

            I went into Friday thinking that I’d probably pick a pellet that had NOTHING inside, so when I cracked it up and immediately found a skull, I thought “SCORE” and that I was super-lucky.

            That, or the owls here are HELLA FAT.

          2. admin November 13, 2007 at 12:22 am

            Yeah, I seem to recall that when my class observed an owl pellet…dissection (for lack of a better word), there was very little of note inside.

            I went into Friday thinking that I’d probably pick a pellet that had NOTHING inside, so when I cracked it up and immediately found a skull, I thought “SCORE” and that I was super-lucky.

            That, or the owls here are HELLA FAT.

        2. kindofstrange November 13, 2007 at 12:17 am

          The owls in WA are evidently fatties. I mean seriously, the owl pellet I dissected in MI barely even had one skeleton. These bastards all seemed to have multiples.

          I wonder if they can even fly at this point…

          There was also a discussion around whether or not it would be ethical to run an owl pellet business and force feed the owl ala fois gras.

      2. cheeserock November 13, 2007 at 12:06 am

        BUY LOCAL!! yes! and owls eat local, too.

    2. admin November 13, 2007 at 12:04 am

      bought them online–it actually turned out to be a (semi)local provider. Looks like you can get them at Pellets, Inc.

  18. cheeserock November 12, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    where do you get these pellets o’ vomit?

  19. pinguino November 13, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    haha awesome party pics!

    1. admin November 16, 2007 at 7:30 pm

      Thanks!

    2. admin November 16, 2007 at 7:30 pm

      Thanks!

  20. pinguino November 13, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    haha awesome party pics!

  21. cordelia_rose November 13, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    *immediately plans owl pellet party*

    1. admin November 16, 2007 at 7:29 pm

      YES. Pictures are a must!

    2. admin November 16, 2007 at 7:29 pm

      YES. Pictures are a must!

  22. cordelia_rose November 13, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    *immediately plans owl pellet party*

    1. admin November 16, 2007 at 7:30 pm

      Your sanity has a flavor. NOM NOM NOM!

      Thanks for the link. πŸ™‚

    2. admin November 16, 2007 at 7:30 pm

      Your sanity has a flavor. NOM NOM NOM!

      Thanks for the link. πŸ™‚

  23. smacksaw November 14, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    Damn, I’m all poor here in Bellingham and I could be wandering around with owl shit between my toes and I didn’t even know it!

    1. admin November 16, 2007 at 7:32 pm

      Better yet, you could be selling it for money.

      Do you have Thanksgiving plans, btw? I could cook a turkey and whatnot! πŸ™‚

    2. admin November 16, 2007 at 7:32 pm

      Better yet, you could be selling it for money.

      Do you have Thanksgiving plans, btw? I could cook a turkey and whatnot! πŸ™‚

  24. smacksaw November 14, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    Damn, I’m all poor here in Bellingham and I could be wandering around with owl shit between my toes and I didn’t even know it!

Comments are closed.