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Nile crocodile skeleton

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by ElephasMaximus, Feb 14, 2016.

  1. Need an advice considering cartilaginous parts.
    The specimen is 2 meter long, gastralia are quite well ossified but dermestids may shuffle the elements. Same about sternal ribs and last part of gastralia connected with pubic bones.
    So the possible way is using same technique as for chondrychtian skulls?

  2. Tail vertebrae

  3. Ribcage cleaning completed
  4. Voltrax

    Voltrax New Member

  5. Not scalpel, bugs.
    They won't damage the cartilage parts if you keep correct humidity.
    This one is 70% cleaned - with skull, sternum, pubic bones and gastralia left to do.

    There are 4 more Nile crocs in progress: 200 cm & 145cm males, 160 cm female, postcranial of 100 cm male. As well as 2 adult Spectacled caimans.
  6. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Give credit to the bugs. They do good work.

    I still need to get a large skull of one of these guys and a salt water one for comparison. .. One of these days. Would you use bugs with a larger one .. say 3 meters or better?
  7. Voltrax

    Voltrax New Member

    You got some nice source for reptile I see. Good for you. ;)
    Anything for trade?
  8. One of Niles probably. Not all of them are complete, some have naturally missing toes bitten of by conspecifics.
    I've got also large Burmese pythons (up to 450 cms), some smaller boid species (Dumeril's boa, B. constrictor, carpet python, ball python etc), other snakes, lizards, frogs etc.
    Baby croc skulls or mounts are available (Nile, Morelett's, gator).
    They come from the breeder (who hired me to clean) and he can arrange the export paperwork..
  9. Voltrax

    Voltrax New Member

    Sounds interesting, will PM you. ;)
  10. A skull of 3m croc/gator would be about 50-60cms long. Therefore colony should be large enough, tested on horse/cattle skulls.
    Also, precleaning possibilities with crocs are limited comparing to mammals. Much soft tissues remain inside even if you manage to scrape them outside.
  11. Pelvis, lumbar & sacral vertebrae were macerated before giving to beetles, since there was no needed cartilage to worry about.
  12. Cutting off the gastralia (early pics of the same croc)
  13. My main colony has grown enough to clean 1st croc skull. This one is from 145 cm male and measures 24,5 cm (from snout tip to mandible tips). As you can see 2 of lower front teeth are ingrown.
    The cleaning itself took 3 days. I macerated the head in a plastic bag for some time until outer skin layer could be peeled off.
  14. Vkvz

    Vkvz New Member

    Great project!! Crocs are really cool critters to work on and I'm looking forward to see your finished specimen.
    All the specimens I've worked on so far were juveniles and the gastralia was too poorly calcified to save, but looks like you're doing an excellent job with it so far.
  15. I've made a new 'dermestarium', rather just a plastic household container with no ventilation holes & very occasional misting to avoid mold.
    This colony descended from stray beetles settling down on dried uncleaned skeletons.
    At the pic: body & tail of 145 cm male Nile, body of 180 cm male Spectacled caiman (one of 2 that was badly necropsied).
    From 1st one, gastralia & tail tip are yet to clean, from 2nd one - head (after it's molded for a mount) and gastraila as well.

    The same colony has already cleaned carpet python female (2 m long).
    At the pic: 2/3 of body. I removed the snake once initial cleaning has completed and checked for ribs beginning to fall off every day.
    No ribs got shuffled in result.
  16. The cleaned body of 145 cm croc. Some bones have fallen off and are stored separately, so not present here.
  17. RBlack

    RBlack Member

    How are you degreasing?
  18. Acetone/white spirit for parts with cartilage and skulls, ammonia & dawn for separate bones
  19. Got a problem.
    Here are pictures of right forelimbs of 2 specimens.
    220 cm male. The arrow indicates a tiny round bone at the base of metacarpals 3 & 4. Besides it, there are 3 other larger carpal bones.

    200 cm male. The small bone is absent, there is only cartilage and 3 carpal bones as well.
    The limb from other side is already cleaned and that small bone not found.
    Maybe it just was not ossified in this croc? Though it was present in 120 & 145 cm long ones.
  20. Problem solved. There was a 4th bone in 200cm specimen, just underdeeveloped.
    After the cartilage dried out completely the bone became visible.