A friend of mine was kind enough to send us some owl puke. Yeah, the official name of it is owl pellets, but any self-respecting 4 year old can tell what the bird in this clip is doing! We sat and watched that mouse go down the hatch, through the esophagus and proventriculus, and into the gullet, and then made the appropriate sound effects when it came back up. Whereupon Monkey giggles, and we'd watch it again. Isn't it nice the it loops automatically?
You can't just hand an owl pellet to a munchkin and expect that things will be cool, so we did quite a bit of lead-up before we did the dissection. We read about owl pellets. We watched the afore-mentioned clip. And we went through all the other sections on KidWings owl pellet area, including watching a clip of them doing a dissection. Monkey likes to watch these things several times which worked well for me! I emphasized the point the video makes about it takes time and patience to dissect an owl pellet. He said he wanted to go for it. He told me we needed the bone chart they used in the video. Perfect. I also grabbed a sheet on how to tell what sort of critter your owl ate. That was cool.
I wanted rubber gloves, and Daddy insisted on face masks. I thought at first that was overkill, but then after a while I was thinking: owl puke, which consists of dead rodent parts. Maybe it's pretty reasonable after all. Gloves aren't so bad, and even the mask wasn't as uncomfortable as I expected. It worked. And my munchkin was protected.
At this point I set down my camera (don't want to get it gross!) and dug in myself. I never did this dissection in school and this was way too cool to pass up! Monkey worked on it for I'd guess around 30-45 minutes, then took off his stuff and went to play. I kept going, and a few minutes later he was back for a little more.
It ended up working out perfectly: he said, "Mama, I want to be done with everything, and you should be done too," right about the time that Raven woke up from his nap. They played a bit while I finished up the clean-up and disinfecting of my kitchen table.
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