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Could I throw an entire rat body in with my beetles?

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Rattus_Norvegicus, May 23, 2018.

  1. I recently had a pet rat pass and I plan on articulating her skeleton so its really important that I recover every single bone, tooth and nail. This will be my first articulation.
    I've done burials and maceration in the past but both were extremley slow and nasty and some of the really tiny bones were lost.

    I have to decide what to do pretty soon as freezing is not an option. I have a colony of Dermestid beetles that are thriving but this will be their first real job. Is throwing a fresh body with hair and skin still intact a good idea?
    Is it a problem if the carcass begins to rot? (By that I mean is it a problem for the beetles, smell isn't really much of a concern)

  2. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    I would recommend first skinning it and eviscerating it. Then, remove each leg and feed the legs first. Then, remove the skull and feed it, then the remaining carcass. You will have a real mess if you toss that whole rat into your colony. Be sure that each section is in a container, so you can retrieve the bones without having to dig through frass hunting them.

  3. Unless you preclean and dry the carcass it would fall apart.
    Clean the legs is separate small containers to avoid losing any small bones. You should remove skin from all toes, as well as tail.
    Keep an eye in ot constantly to ensure beetles won't eat the claws. It's possible to remove claw sheaths in very small mammals after keeping the distal part of limbs sealed in small ziplock bags at room temperature for about a day. Remove them by hands, pulling carefully (a small pin may help to separate claw from bone) and keep in order (i.e. gluing onto cardboard with water soluble glue)
    If the body becomes submerged in frass, they will damage cartilage and chew off the ribs.
    You may also think about preserving the clitoris & hyoid bones.
    Here is correctly cleaned rat, right out of the beetle tank.
    All rib cartilage is preserved.

    Gerbil hind foot [​IMG]

    Note the sesamoid bones remaining attached. They're lost almost always.

    Gluing back the claw sheaths. Removing them also helps to keep natural color since they don't get put in peroxide together with leg itself. And if just cut off, claw bones won't be uniform color with the rest of skeleton.
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
    JL, RDMARTIN53 and msestak like this.
  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Do as they said above. Skin it and remove the insides. Prep it as Joey and Elephas has said. If it has started to decompose, hold your nose and wear gloves. Beetles do a fantastic job of cleaning delicate things. When you put the pieces in, monitor the work closely and remove it before the bones fall apart.
  5. I figured skinning and gutting would be unavoidable . What cutting utensil would be recommended Is a purpose made skinning knife absoulutley necessary? I don't really want to shell out a fortune and rats have pretty thin skin.

    I going to go watch some skinning and gutting tutorials now since I've never done it but it can't be worse than fishing through a pile of 3 month old macerated slush for phalanges.
    Megan :) likes this.
  6. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    You need a scalpel with disposable blades. If you are going to do this, make the plunge, spend $25 and you will have a handle with 100 blades. I use #22 carbon steel blades from havels.com. Buy a box of disposable gloves also.
  7. I use an X-Acto knife with #11 blades. These can be found at craft stores, office supply stores and department stores for under $5.
  8. Blunt used disposable blade is better for precleaning, since having less possibility of bone damage. Be careful with fibulae & scapulae, they're quite fragile and may crack if too much pressure applied when handling.
  9. fogbound

    fogbound Member

    Ebay always has good sales on bulk scalpel blades and handles.