WATCH: Massive Grey Owl Gulps Down Vole in One Swallow

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images/Will Clermont / 500px)

We all know that owls, primarily grey owls, prefer a diet heavy in rodents. And many of us also know that owls like to ingest their rodent snacks whole. However, this isn’t necessarily something we usually see in person…it’s just one of those facts many of us take at face value. However, the Nature Is Metal Instagram page is giving us an upfront look at a hungry grey owl enjoying a snack as it gulps down a doomed vole in just one swallow.

Bottoms Up! The Grey Owl Gulps Down the Doomed Vole in a Single Swallow

In the Instagram clip shared on the Nature Is Metal page, we can hear nature in the background. The frogs croak away in the background while the other wildlife sings their evening songs. The massive grey owl sits prominently in the tree on a branch. However, this animal is holding something in its claws.

We soon see what the owl is holding as the lifts up the doomed vole, putting it in its mouth. The owl gulps down the animal in a single swallow.

“Bottoms Up,” writes the Nature Is Metal Insta page. “Great grey owl gulps down a vole in one go.”

According to the Instagram post, grey owls and other birds are unable to chew their food. So small prey like this vole are swallowed whole.

“Just like other birds, owls cannot chew their food,” notes the message posted along with the clip.

“Small prey items like this luckless vole are swallowed whole,” the Insta post continues. “whereas larger prey gets torn to pieces before being sent down to the owl’s digestive system.”

The Digestive Process After Swallowing an Entire Vole Certainly Gets Complicated

Then, we get a quick update as to the journey this vole will be taking as the owl ingests it after being swallowed whole. It’s a testament to the wonder of nature.

“First stop is the owl’s glandular stomach,” the explanation begins. “This is where enzymes, acids, and mucus ooze out to break down and digest the vole before it moves on to the muscular stomach.”

According to the post, the “digestible” and the “undigestible” stuff from the vole are then separated.

“The soft digestible tissue is separated from the indigestible stuff (bones, teeth, fur) and passed on to the rest of the digestive system,” the Nature Is Metal post continues,” the post explains. “After about 8 hours in the gizzard, the bones, teeth, and fur of the vole are compressed into a pellet that is subsequently regurgitated by the owl and spit out.”