The owl sat on the mat and…

This visually-unappealing item is the owl pellet that appeared on my front doormat. In it you can see the remains of its last meal.

I found a gooey blob on my front doormat one morning last week. ‘Marvelous!’, I thought, ‘it’s an owl pellet’.

Owls gobble their prey whole – bones, fur and all. Consequently they end up having to cough up pellets on a regular basis.

These bone fragments - including the jaws - are probably all from the same bank vole. Click to enlarge if you really want to see the detail!

These bone fragments – including the jaws – are probably all from the same bank vole. Click to enlarge if you really want to see the detail!

I waited for it to dry out and then set about dissecting it to find out what it had last eaten. I extracted a couple of jaws and, using a Mammal Society booklet as a guide, discovered that they clearly belonging to a vole. With a bit more scrutiny, I concluded that it was a bank vole.

Possibly the more intriguing question, though, was how the pellet got there… did an owl really sit on my front doorstep in the small hours of the morning?! That’s the inevitable conclusion.

Perhaps this one got caught short on its way home and just had to expel the pellet before it could move on.

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