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Scat And What The Owl Spat

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Dirty Work

Get involved in some of the dirty work we do at the Vancouver Aquarium and learn more about scatology: the study of animal waste. Help perform an owl pellet dissection, see some of the tools researchers use to study animal waste, and to learn how important information is gathered about how we can conserve animals through scatology.

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Steller sea lion at the Vancouver Aquarium's open water research area Steller sea lion at the Vancouver Aquarium's open water research area

Steller Sea Lion Research

Steller sea lions are incredibly energetic and boisterous animals, yet very difficult to research in open waters because they can be surprisingly shy. Scientists from the Vancouver Aquarium have been studying Sea Lions for decades, trying to figure out why Steller sea lion populations have been declining. These researchers have learned a lot about these amazing animals through an interesting type of science called scatology, or in other words the science of animal waste. By studying sea lion scat we can learn how to better protect these impressive mammals.

Why Scatology?

Scatology, or the science of animal waste, can tell us a lot of really valuable information on how we can protect wildlife. Believe it or not, by studying different types of waste, we can help conserve many types of animals, from wolves, to sea lions, to owls. Owl waste is a little different than the waste that researchers study that comes from sea lions and wolves however, because it comes in the form of a regurgitated pellet. By examining these pellets, scientists can find out lots of important information, such as what species of owl it came from, why type of owls can be found where, and even how many mice an owl had for dinner that night.

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