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Raccoon Skeleton/Degreasing

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by dsaavedra, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. dsaavedra

    dsaavedra New Member

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    down at the creek today i found a [very near] complete raccoon skeleton ;D

    i'm fairly positive i collected all the bones from the site, but i'm uncertain if 100% of the raccoons bones were at the site.

    i was collecting the bones with my friend, and i only picked up two claws, and only a few carpal/metacarpal/tarsal/metatarsals. my friend said he picked up a bunch of these small foot bones.

    the bones are real dirty and wet and i'm going to clean them off with water tomorrow. i'm going to attempt to articulate the skeleton the best i can, but i'll probably end up giving up and just doing the skull :D

    i bought a half gallon of hydrogen peroxide (3%) to whiten the bones. i whitened a raccoon jawbone i found a while ago with the same stuff and it worked pretty well..

    I've done some searching and found that soaking in Dawn/water at 120 degrees for 2 or 3 weeks is a pretty standard way of degreasing, but, i'm left with two questions:

    when you guys say "Dawn" are you referring to the regular ole blue dish soap that comes in squirt bottles? or is there some type of powder detergent you're using?

    and also, what is the ratio of dawn to water?
     
  2. brandi

    brandi New Member

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    Re: Raccoon Skeleton

    you want to degrease first then whiten. if your doing a ligament you might want to soak in acetone first then a water and dawn soak then and then into peroxide then repeat couple times. water will destroy the ligaments. if theres no ligaments just use heated water and dawn. you could try peroxide from sallys 40 volume. its a little stronger or bo.
     

  3. Yes, plain dishsoap.
    There is no set ratio, I use orange Ajax and I just squirt till its a purty orange all over.
     
  4. dsaavedra

    dsaavedra New Member

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    ok so is it a "more is better" kind of thing?
     
  5. brandi

    brandi New Member

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    no you dont need a lot of soap, if thats what your talking about. i've read 1/4 cup to a gallon. i usually use clear dawn because i'm scared the colored soap will discolor the bone. probably wont but thats just me.
     
  6. No, it does turn my skulls orange. Doesnt stain them that way, BO takes it out.
     
  7. dsaavedra

    dsaavedra New Member

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    a quarter cup to a gallon seems like a lot of soap to me. i guess that is the ratio i will use. i'll be degreasing in a 4 gallon rubbermaid tub.
     
  8. Colonel

    Colonel Missouri River Rat

    I only use clear Dawn with bleach alternative (peroxide) and I guesstimate but it's somewhere around a half cup to 5 gallons of water. I soak mine at 120 degrees and change out water and dawn every few days or when the water get's real cloudy.
     
  9. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    1/2 cup to 5 gallons is a lot better. More is NOT better as you need a water solution of it to work. Too much detrergent and nothing will happen at all. The 3% you have will work fine. Just leave them in there till they are white. Might take a few days. :)
     
  10. dsaavedra

    dsaavedra New Member

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    ok so a half cup to a gallon heated at 120 degrees. cool :) how long can i expect this to take for a raccoon skeleton?

    i'm going to rinse and scrub the bones off with soapy water today just to get the dirt off, then tomorrow or the next day i'm going to borrow an aquarium heater and get to degreasing.
     
  11. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Sounds like the bones are pretty well rotted off clean. I have found that the rotting process also greatly diminishes the amount of grease in bone. Coons are notorious balls of fat with feet but you may find that a week in the Dawn might well be enough. Soak them for a week in the heated Dawn and then rinse off a few of the larger ones. Set them on a piece of brown paper bag in a warm area to dry for several days. Look at the bones in a good light and any areas of grease will show up as stains on the bone. Most times, it will look and feel greasy to the touch. Grease stains on the brown paper are a dead give away too. If they seem clean soak them in the peroxide for a few days till nice and white. Dry them again and check for grease. If they seem clean, you're done. If not and you see grease, just repeate the Dawn step for another week or so.
     
  12. dsaavedra

    dsaavedra New Member

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    sounds like a plan :)

    yeah the bones are very clean (as far as flesh goes). i only saw one piece of tissue on one of the bones and i just ripped it off.

    i'm waiting to get some more rubber gloves before i continue with this, because i don't know what kind of germs and nastiness are living on these bones
     
  13. thefirlodge

    thefirlodge Member

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    When you say you use the clear Dawn with bleach alternative, is that the stuff that has a slight yellow tint? I have been looking for clear dawn but the closest I have found is this dawn with bleach alternative and it has a slight tint. I see clear in the other brands, but not dawn. Am I missing something? I tried some clear Ivory and it seems pretty weak.
     
  14. dsaavedra

    dsaavedra New Member

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    i plan on using regular blue Dawn, should i use something else?
     
  15. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    The clear Dawn with slight yellow tint is the right one. I use a lot of it. The blue one .. I used to use that until a bear skull turned pastel blue.
     
  16. brandi

    brandi New Member

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    we found clear dawn in the dollar store or family dollar.
     
  17. dsaavedra

    dsaavedra New Member

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    hmmm i might take my chances with blue Dawn, or see if i can find some clear Dawn.
     
  18. dsaavedra

    dsaavedra New Member

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    i was washing the dirt off the bones today and there is a lot more tissue on these than i thought! a lot of what i thought was dirt yesterday is actually dried up tissue. there was even a nicechunk of brain inside the skull.

    so i pulled all the teeth and have them in labeled ziplocks, and i'm now macerating all of the bones in a big coffee can.
     
  19. ace man

    ace man New Member

    i wouldn't use a metal coffee can to macerate in they are prone to rust and could stain the bones, a plastic container would be better. To help get the maceration brew going strong throw in some chunks of raw meat it will grow more bacteria and speed up the process some.
     
  20. dsaavedra

    dsaavedra New Member

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    it is a plastic coffee can. never thought about throwing raw meat in...