I was on the phone with my mother a few weeks ago when suddenly my dad picked up the line. Since my father doesn’t typically practice the art of telecommunications, I knew something serious must have been going on for him to grab the phone.
“Jen, it’s your dad.”
“Hey. Next time you come home, I need you to do something.”
“Sure. What is it?”
“Your mother found some bones in a pile of owl puke and we need you to help us identify the skull.”
And here’s where I sometimes wonder if my family is not like typical families, because nothing in my dad’s statement sounded unusual to me. Not the fact that my mother can identify owl puke, nor the idea that she would dig through avian vomit to discover its hidden contents, nor the fact that my parents would save an assortment of animal bones for me to examine. Shouldn’t that seem unusual? I feel like it should.
In any case, I was thrilled at the idea of trying to recreate the crime scene, and in preparation, started studying up on the diet of the Great Horned Owl. The next time I stopped by my parents’ house, I barely got in my “hellos” before inquiring after the mystery skeleton.
It was even better than I had imagined.
My parents were pretty certain that these were the remains of an unfortunate blind mole rat, and when I saw the pictures online, it seemed a plausible theory. But as I’ve done a bit more research, it would appear that blind mole rats are only found in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
So this can only mean one of three things:
1. Blind mole rats have learned how to build crude ships, and have crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
2. Great Horned Owls can fly to Africa and back before puking up their meals.
3. This is not a blind mole rat.
So I leave it up to you, internets. We are greater than the sum of our parts, my friends, so I know that collectively we’ll be able to answer the burning question, “Hey skeleton! Is you is, or is you ain’t my blind mole rat?”
PS – If you ever want to give the gift of puke, I highly recommend this kit. It was a huge hit with my nephews a few years ago. Never before have I wanted to take back a gift as much as I did that one.
It’s so nice to be understood. More photos of owl puke treasures can be found in Brandon’s Flickr stream.