Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hudson library program draws some kids with gross factor

HUDSON — Caiden Beal, wearing plastic gloves and wielding a pair of tweezers, felt like he was hitting pay dirt as he gingerly pulled another hidden treasure from the greenish-brown, musty-smelling owl pellet he was dissecting.

"So far, I have three skulls and a bunch of teeth, and I'm only halfway through it," he said as he dipped his latest find into a shallow bowl of water to wash away the debris. "See, it still has a lot of muck on it, but you can tell it's another skull."

Awesome or disgusting, depending whether you're into digging through owl puke to find the remains of what kind of creature had been served up for supper.

Unlike snakes that also swallow their prey whole, owls cannot digest fur, bones and feathers. So after an owl has eaten, a pellet is formed out of the leftovers, so to speak, and then regurgitated 16 to 20 hours later.

"I think it's pretty gross," said Emma Hudgins, 11 as she pulled her owl pellet apart at a nearby table. "But it's also pretty interesting."

Whether the circle of life scenario is up your alley or not, the owl pellet dissection activity is a way to practice hands-on science while learning something about the diet and digestive system of birds of prey.

That was the thought when Hudson youth librarian Wendy Rutherford put in an order for some sterilized owl pellets and added the dissecting activity to the library's summer youth program.

"We do craft programs and story times, but this is the first time we've done something like this," Rutherford said, adding, "I'm trying to get the guys in with the gross scientific factor."

School is out, and kids like Caiden and Emma have been making the trek to their local libraries to log the books they've been reading while partaking in some fun and educational activities.

"I try to come to every activity, and I get books most of the time," Caiden said, adding that he is an avid history buff. (He said the Revolutionary War is his favorite thing to read about.)

"But this is good. It's fun, you know. You get to find stuff, and you get excited when you find something like a skull or a rib."

Contact Michele Miller at [email protected] or (727) 869-6251. Follow @mimichele525.

Hudson library program draws some kids with gross factor 07/23/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 7:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Deandre Gilmore guilty, but not of murder, jury decides

    Criminal

    TAMPA — The actions of Deandre Gilmore caused the death of his girlfriend's 19-month-old daughter in 2014, but a Hillsborough County jury decided Friday it was manslaughter, not murder.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing Myla Presley the 19 month-old daughter of his then girlfriend Nayashia Williams while Gilmore was giving her a bath.
  2. Bucs-Bills: Things to watch in Sunday's 1 p.m. game

    Bucs

    FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2017, file photo, Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) runs past Atlanta Falcons' De'Vondre Campbell (59) and Deion Jones (45) during the second half of an NFL football game, in Atlanta. The Bills play against the Buccaneers in Buffalo on Sunday. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File) NY182
  3. Koetter: QB Jameis Winston will start Sunday vs. Bills

    Bucs

    After five days of uncertainty, Jameis Winston will be starting at quarterback on Sunday as the Bucs play at Buffalo, coach Dirk Koetter announced Friday afternoon.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) watches a replay while sitting out with an injury during the second half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  4. What to watch this weekend: 'The Walking Dead,' Stephen King's '1922'

    Blogs

    100 episodes of walkers: The Walking Dead

    Danai Gurira and Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead.
  5. Editorial: GOP failing to protect health care for Florida kids

    Editorials

    In Tallahassee, the Florida Legislature is considering how to make it easier for low-income families to apply for subsidized health insurance for their children. In Washington, Congress cannot even agree on how to keep paying for the popular program. There is a disconnect that threatens health coverage for about 215,000 …

    In Tallahassee, the Florida Legislature is considering how to make it easier for low-income families to apply for subsidized health insurance for their children. In Washington, Congress cannot even agree on how to keep paying for the popular program.