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Cleaning Animal Skulls?


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Yes, I *KNOW* this has been asked at least once since I've been a member, and yes, I already looked over pages & pages of posts & couldn't find it... SIGH!


My kiddos & I found a most unusual thing caching today... a family of 5 opossums (or at least their bones) that had apparently starved to death in an old barn (in a cattle feeding container)... very sad! Anyway, one is the full skeleton (well, we broke off a leg extricating it from a lot of wire), and there are 4 other skulls, and various and sundry other bones that are not attached in any way. The skeleton is almost completely devoid of anything resembling "covering"... a few hairs & micro bits of skin at most... but prob. still contains the last vestiges of ligaments (thus it being "held together").


Any ideas on how to properly clean these? Is boiling the best option? Surely, I shouldn't attempt that in my kitchen? :grin: Any advice welcomed! TIA!


Happy Caching!

Lori V.


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Beetles only work well where there is still flesh to be consumed. The best way I have found for bone cleaning is to physicly remove as much dried flesh, and other bits of stuff as possible then soak for a day or two in plain water, reclean and soak in a 1 cup bleach:1 gal water mix. then dry, clean again and soak in a 1/2 1/2 mix of hydrgen peroxide/ water. Then let dry in the sun.

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Just skip all the water and chemical oxidizers and put them in natures oxidizer...


Outside- in the nice air and bright sun. In a couple weeks any remaining flesh can be removed with no effort with the ex's, I mean old, toothbrush.


Sun does wonders on old bones. I have several cow and bull skulls. Not to mention plenty of antlers :(

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Put a piece of rope through an eye socket, tie it off, throw it in a creek. Make sure it sinks, and make sure your knots are good. Give it a week or two. If you dont want to mess with the socket, put it in an onion sack.(This method might add some time because minnows, crayfish, turtles have a harder time eating. When it's stripped, set it out in the sun for a few days. If you want a whiter appearance, 20% bleach/water solution poured over it before the sun drying.

Edited by TeamGuisinger
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