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Bone Cleaning Questions

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by AlpineValleyTaxidermy, Jun 15, 2020.

  1. AlpineValleyTaxidermy

    AlpineValleyTaxidermy Active Member

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    I have a dead opossum that I want the whole skeleton from that is on the side of the road that I had moved behind a guardrail. But, there’s a problem, he is laying basically on the side of a VERY steep hill where if I let him fully decompose there, I will loose his foot/toe bones to a river at the bottom of the hill. So, I was wondering, where can I find dermestid beetles in a place other than online. Or can I use some other type of bug to clean the rest of the rotting meat and skin off. I read that calciworms will eat rotting plants and animals. I mean I have darkling beetles and a vivid metallic ground beetle. Don’t know if those would work. I also have superworm beetles. Or can I find some type of bug outside that will eat rotting animal flesh? Help!
     
  2. Rausch

    Rausch Well-Known Member

    Macerate it.
     

  3. Kendall

    Kendall Active Member

    Chances are that if that carcass is dried there might already be dermestids on it. If it is a fresh road kill pick it up, eviscerate it, dry it out and place it where it will attract some dermestids on its own.
     
  4. AlpineValleyTaxidermy

    AlpineValleyTaxidermy Active Member

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    It’s been there for quite a long time, so yeah, there might already be dermestids on it. There is only skin and a small amount of meat left on the underside, back legs, and head. When I had first moved it to the side of the road, it was COMPLETELY covered in maggots. I had checked on him not too long ago and hadn’t seen anything on him so I don’t know.
     
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Possums are easy to come by and, to be honest, you have probably already lost a lot of bone bits to the maggots and it lying there like that. I would look to get a fresh carcass and prep it the right way and macerate it. Being a road pizza possum, a good many bones will be broken. You can try to continue to macerate it as is by getting it into a bucket and covering it with warm water that you keep heated for a couple of weeks. You can get more info by looking up maceration cleaning in the advanced search. You can also try and put it in a box and just leave it for the bugs to have at it. It will take some time for the wild bugs to clean it. Wild dermestids will probably show up as well as others. Your best bet though, is to start with a fresh carcass, clean it the right way and have all the bones nice and clean with none missing in about two weeks.
     
  6. AlpineValleyTaxidermy

    AlpineValleyTaxidermy Active Member

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    I know, I was thinking to put him in a plastic box and leave it out there until the bugs are done cleaning him. I know that some of the bones are going to be broken. But, it would be fine if I am missing a few bones. Maceration might be a good idea. I’ll check on him tomorrow.