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getting an animal skeleton out (science/taxidermy halp)

foxmusk

uh oh stinky
just warning anyone with a light stomach that this is kinda gross.

i have a dead opossum and i'm trying to get it's bones. it's been in a bucket for three weeks, but unfortunately i couldn't get water in it to let it simmer until about five days ago. it was in a garage, but my family has made me put it down at the bottom of the hill. i ducktaped it all up to keep the lid on in the event some sort of animal would go for it. but, with winter coming, this is going to drastically slowing the maceration.

see, i can't boil it inside (obviously) because i live with my grandparents and they're already not happy i've got this.

so as a taxidermy/science question, is there a faster way i could get this done than letting it stew for another month? i don't know if i can keep animals away for that long, especially at night.
 
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Aleu

Deuces
What is chlorine doing in your tap water?

I think leaving it out in the sun would make it rot faster.
 

medjai

Endorphin Extraordinaire
What is chlorine doing in your tap water?

A lot of cities chlorinate their tap water...

Do you want the skeleton intact, or are you going for the hide?
 

SnowFox

Member
You get off in the creepiest of ways Harley :3

Could you fill the bucket with some maggots or something? I'm sure you can find plenty around the kitchens of any fast food restaurant.
 
Control temperature and pH, and keep it exposed to the elements (don't bury, keep exposed to atmosphere).


I don't know how you're gonna harvest the bones though, there's always the possibility (actually it's probably probable) that scavengers will just fuck everything up. I'm not sure what access you have to insects too, so I just assumed that you were doing an "au naturale" thing.
 

medjai

Endorphin Extraordinaire
You get off in the creepiest of ways Harley :3

Could you fill the bucket with some maggots or something? I'm sure you can find plenty around the kitchens of any fast food restaurant.

That would actually be a decent solution.
 

Hellerskull

Nom Nom Nom
It might sound lot of gross...

How far is your possum in decomposing process? If there is any flesh left, I suggest you to cut them off down to the bone if possible, and disbowel those remaining organs out. Obviously, you need to get rid of them by burying them somewhere. To blanch the bones, you need to put them in boiling water for at least 15-10 minutes or less but I'm not sure how long it take for possum's skeleton, then dump the water. Refill the water and bring it to boil. Put the bones in it, then bring it down to simmer for hours. Blanching helps to get the flesh off from its bones.
 

foxmusk

uh oh stinky
What is chlorine doing in your tap water?

I think leaving it out in the sun would make it rot faster.

nevermind the tap water. i didn't realize that we definitely don't have it. we have well water, so it has a lot of elements that are probably helping.

You get off in the creepiest of ways Harley :3

Could you fill the bucket with some maggots or something? I'm sure you can find plenty around the kitchens of any fast food restaurant.

haha i'm not wanking to this x3 i really want the bones for a platonic reason.

and naw, i have no way of getting to maggots. not that i could handle that. i'm tough stomached enough to handle dead animals face to face, but not picking maggots out. that would just creep me out. i HATE bugs.

Control temperature and pH, and keep it exposed to the elements (don't bury, keep exposed to atmosphere).

I don't know how you're gonna harvest the bones though, there's always the possibility (actually it's probably probable) that scavengers will just fuck everything up. I'm not sure what access you have to insects too, so I just assumed that you were doing an "au naturale" thing.

well, we don't have many stray animals around here, mostly cats and a seldom dog or two. never see wild animals other than rabbit and deer. plus, this bucket has the lid gratuitously ducktaped down, so i'm hoping that will ward them off. i'm just letting it simmer in water and heat, letting bacteria do their job.

How far is your possum in decomposing process? If there is any flesh left, I suggest you to cut them off down to the bone if possible, and disbowel those remaining organs out. Obviously, you need to get rid of them by burying them somewhere. To blanch the bones, you need to put them in boiling water for at least 15-10 minutes or less but I'm not sure how long it take for possum's skeleton, then dump the water. Refill the water and bring it to boil. Put the bones in it, then bring it down to simmer for hours. Blanching helps to get the flesh off from its bones.

i haven't checked it personally yet, still letting it simmer. i'm gonna give it another week or two, and then i will try that. the hard part is finding a secluded place where neighbors won't see me out carving up a dead animal x3 i dunno that i can blanch them, though, because i have nowhere to boil them. i can't bring it in the house :c
 
L

LizardKing

Guest
Can't you just build a little campfire and boil it over that?
 

Aleu

Deuces
Well, you don't have to actually GET the maggots. Maybe catch some flies and put 'em in there? Or make a hole in the bucket so they can get in there?

This thread is making me hungry.
 

SnowFox

Member
haha i'm not wanking to this x3 i really want the bones for a platonic reason.

and naw, i have no way of getting to maggots. not that i could handle that. i'm tough stomached enough to handle dead animals face to face, but not picking maggots out. that would just creep me out. i HATE bugs.

Sure you're not Harley <3

For some reason this thread made me lookup and read the wikipedia article on Jeffrey Dahmer. I'm totally serious.
 
1) Put it in a bucket with some concentrated caustic soda.
Advantages: Caustic soda dissolves flesh, and quickly.
Disadvantages: You would need some pretty good timing to make sure that the bones didn't get too mascerated. If you leave them in there for too long they go really brittle and crumbly. Also, caustic soda dissolves flesh, so don't get it on you (it hurts, a lot, for a long time - trust me)

2) Put maggots/some other flesh eating creature in with it.
Advantages: It would leave the bones intact.
Disadvantages: You would need a pretty strong stomache.

3) Put it on a compost heap (on, not in)
Advantages: The bones would be left intact, the heat released from the compost could be enough to keep the flesh decomposing steadily (it depends on how cold it gets there in the winter).
Disadvantages: It's slow, and even if it could be kept warm, it would still be slow. It would stink every time you went past the compost heap.
 
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foxmusk

uh oh stinky
Sure you're not Harley <3

For some reason this thread made me lookup and read the wikipedia article on Jeffrey Dahmer. I'm totally serious.

:C i'm not like jeffrey dahmer. even though he was adorable.

1) Put it in a bucket with some concentrated caustic soda.
Advantages: Caustic soda dissolves flesh, and quickly.
Disadvantages: You would need some pretty good timing to make sure that the bones didn't get too mascerated. If you leave them in there for too long they go really brittle and crumbly. Also, caustic soda dissolves flesh, so don't get it on you (it hurts, a lot, for a long time - trust me)

2) Put maggots/some other flesh eating creature in with it.
Advantages: It would leave the bones intact.
Disadvantages: You would need a pretty strong stomache.

3) Put it on a compost heap (on, not in)
Advantages: The bones would be left intact, the heat released from the compost could be enough to keep the flesh decomposing steadily (it depends on how cold it gets there in the winter).
Disadvantages: It's slow, and even if it could be kept warm, it would still be slow. It would stink every time you went past the compost heap.

caustic soda sounds expensive and difficult. :C
and i don't know where to get maggots :C
 

moonchylde

He's like, this guy, you know?
Burying it near an ant hill usually does the trick, though this time of year they may be less active, depending on where you live. If you plan to do this on a regular basis, there's always dermestid beetles... a good-sized colony can skelotize a cow in about a month. Warning, though, the smell is horrible.

You can order them from here, there's other spots but this was the first result on google: http://www.skullmetallizing.com/kits.html

If worse comes to worse, you could put the remains in a mesh bag and hang it from a tree branch in the woods... it takes a bit longer then burying, but you don't have to worry about scavengers.
 

foxmusk

uh oh stinky
Burying it near an ant hill usually does the trick, though this time of year they may be less active, depending on where you live. If you plan to do this on a regular basis, there's always dermestid beetles... a good-sized colony can skelotize a cow in about a month. Warning, though, the smell is horrible.

You can order them from here, there's other spots but this was the first result on google: http://www.skullmetallizing.com/kits.html

If worse comes to worse, you could put the remains in a mesh bag and hang it from a tree branch in the woods... it takes a bit longer then burying, but you don't have to worry about scavengers.

i'll be doing that next time.
but this time, it's already all wrapped up and rotting.
 

moonchylde

He's like, this guy, you know?
I'd still bury it... that'd be the quickest/ least nasty way to do it. The only down size is that (depending on the clay level in your soil) the bones will get dirt-stained. If that happens soak the bones overnight in a peroxide solution, at least 20% (like they use for bleaching hair, not the stuff they sell in the drug store). I'd recommend gloves. Don't use bleach, though, it'll eat the marrow out and make them pretty fragile (trust me, lost three deer skeletons that way).
 

foxmusk

uh oh stinky
I'd still bury it... that'd be the quickest/ least nasty way to do it. The only down size is that (depending on the clay level in your soil) the bones will get dirt-stained. If that happens soak the bones overnight in a peroxide solution, at least 20% (like they use for bleaching hair, not the stuff they sell in the drug store). I'd recommend gloves. Don't use bleach, though, it'll eat the marrow out and make them pretty fragile (trust me, lost three deer skeletons that way).

hrm, maybe i'll try that! i worry a dog will dig it up though. or i won't dig up all the bones
 

moonchylde

He's like, this guy, you know?
You only got to bury them about a foot or so. Try putting a flat rock over where you bury it; that way it'll keep the dogs away, and you'll be able to find it again. The bones should stay pretty much together after you bury them, at least in my experience. Good luck.
 

foxmusk

uh oh stinky
You only got to bury them about a foot or so. Try putting a flat rock over where you bury it; that way it'll keep the dogs away, and you'll be able to find it again. The bones should stay pretty much together after you bury them, at least in my experience. Good luck.

thanks so much <3 i'll probly do that tomorrow!
 
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