Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#A to Z Challenge Letter O is for Opuntia or prickly pear cactus and Owl Pellets


Opuntia or the common name, prickly pear cactus.



This is from a pot in my yard. It grows in sandy areas. I dug this up and potted it so it would not  spread all over my yard.













A subgenus of Opuntia (Cylindropuntia) is the cholla. I think this picture is a cholla in Arizona





























Owl pellets are regurgitated remains from owls. Many people mistakenly think the pellets are poop. The pellets contain bones, scales and fur from animals the owls have eaten. I teach students how to dissect the sanitized pellets, identify the remaining pieces and interpret what owls eat. I've used this activity with 2nd graders through high school. Students enjoy the investigation and are eager to share the knowledge gained with others.





6 comments:

  1. The owl pellet investigation was one of my favorites, too. At first I thought I read you wanted the prickly pear to spread all over your yard and almost had a heart attack! Then I reread it. Whew...once that plant gets going, it takes over like wild fire! These were fun to read. :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. I had so much trouble with the pictures I didn't pay much attention to my writing. It could have easily misled you.

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  2. Never thought I'd say or write this about poop: but I like the investigative nature of having students dig through owl pellets. What a clever, fun, hands on way to teach!

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    1. The students do love it. The pellets are costly. You can buy plastic pellets that can be reused or make a simulated activity using plastic eggs and pieces of paper with the names of the bone written on it.
      But it is not poop!

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  3. Fun to meet another AtoZ blogger from Missouri. Guess Andy didn't read carefully, since he still thinks owl pellets are poop! The MO conservation department is my favorite government group. Bet it was great working there. I live in the woods in the middle of Callaway County and blog at http://carolynpaulbranch.com/opportunity-and-overalls/ My O post is kind of lame.

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    1. Ha, I thought that too! Thank you for commenting. I'm kinda having withdrawals from working at the conservation department. I really enjoyed my job, but thought it was time for change.

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A morning at Pre-school