At the weekend BoneMonger and I went to collect some owl pellets from a local wood, we ended up finding a lot more than we had hoped for. I ended up filling the tub I had taken with me and had to use a sandwich bag to collect some more.
After a couple of hours cleaning and dissecting the pellets I counted up all the skulls that I had found and found out that I had collected 140 skulls!
Most of the skulls are not complete as they are very fragile and therefore are missing the brain cases, zygomatic arches, teeth and in some cases most of the skull. None of the skulls are completely whole but five are quite complete with only a few bits missing.
All of these skulls belong to rodents, either mice or voles. I have yet to identify them down to species as it is a long process of counting teeth under a microscope. What was surprising when dissecting the pellets was the lack of amphibian bones, which is odd because the wood where these are from has lots of toads in it.
I have yet to count out the jaw bones as there are so many.
The pictures show some the whole collection and parts of it.
Whats good is that we know that the wood where these were collected from has lots more pellets for us to collect during the summer.