Learn something new every day More Info Owls, like most birds, are not able to chew their food. However, unlike other birds, they do not have an organ called a crop, which is used to store swallowed food to be digested at a later time. Owls have a unique way of ridding themselves of any parts of their prey that cannot be digested.
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Owls eat small mammals including mice, shrews and voles which they swallow whole. The owls cannot digest the bones and fur of their prey, so they compress them into pellets and cough them up regurgitate is the technical term a few hours later. Each owl pellet can contain the remains of 4—5 small mammals, and by dissecting the pellets and examining the bones particularly the jaws you can tell which creatures the owl has eaten. Owls produce 1 or 2 pellets per day, and if you can find where an owl roosts or nests you can collect pellets from the ground.
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Barn Owls usually swallow their prey whole, and their food passes into their gizzard. The gizzard is an organ that uses digestive fluid and bits of sand and gravel to grind and dissolve digestible material. Soft tissue, such as muscle, fat, and internal organs are easily processed, but the digestive acids of owls are too weak to dissolve tougher material, such as bones, fur, feathers, teeth, and claws.