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First Ever Skull Project With Dermistid Photo (and A Quick Question)

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by odditycollector, Apr 21, 2021.


  1. First time poster; long time lurker. I've been sourcing skulls for resale for 5 years and finally decided to jump in and get some dermistid beetles. This is my first ever bone taxidermy project and I truly feel it came out so well because of the knowledgeable I acquired reading here. Thank you so much to all the people who've asked or offered advice! This has quickly become a meaningful passion project for me and I love both my bugs and my bones greatly. (This skull was from the seller Bob Wendt here on Taxidermy. Very high quality carcasses!)

    Random question for people who do many skulls at once; what does your "degreasing station" look like? Do you have multiple tubs of heated water going at once? I'm still figuring out how to manage space.
     
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  2. e101011

    e101011 Member

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    I’ve got nothing to add as far as advice or guidance, but the skull looks good!
     
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  3. steve torna

    steve torna New Member

    I use ammonia for degreasing. For small skulls that will fit, cut the top off of your 1/2 gallon ammonia jugs, drop the skull in and cover the opening with cellophane and use a rubber band to retain it. You can fit several dozen jugs in a very small space. Consider visiting someone with a skull cleaning business and see how they do it.
     
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  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    If I am not slammed for work, I use 5 gallon buckets. Sometimes, more than one skull in a bucket each in it's own net bag. If I get slammed, I have a much larger tank that I have. The whole tank heated to temp and insulated. Smaller containers are floated in the big one, sometimes they are sealed Ziplock bags full of solution sometimes 5 gal buckets again. If you use ammonia you don't have to heat but it many times will not be all you need to do. You will still have to soak skulls in a heated solution to get all the grease out. Especially for cervids. Degreasing will take up some space but normally things move right along. If you are doing coyotes, you can put several in a 5 gallon bucket at once. Just move them around from time to time
     
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  5. Thank you everyone for the advice. I've never tried ammonia, but I'm more comfortable using warm water simply because I do this in my home with pets and kids just a wall away- so I try to minimize chemicals when I can. I really like the idea of using mesh bags to soak multiple skulls in the same water. That's a great idea!
     
    msestak likes this.
  6. Aarison

    Aarison New Member

    good one
     
  7. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Ammonia would be fine. If any curious noses get near it I'm pretty sure they won't a second time. Other than the fumes, it's pretty harmless and the smell of it will be a safe warning not to go poking where you shouldn't. Ammonia will also be handy to use with the beetles. If they reject something as being too dry or for some other reason, soak the skull in water that you have added a good quantity of ammonia to. Let it soak until the tissue has rehydrated and softened. Let it drain off and give it back to the beetles. For some reason they are really attracted to flesh that smells of ammonia and will strip it off. With pets and poky kids around, the only chemical used in this that I would avoid would be acetone. With your peroxide, I would make sure that is secured because that and kids would be trouble. For the most part, it will just sting and burn like hell till it wears off. But, if they splash it into the eyes, it could result in a permanent injury.
     
  8. I am interested in buying beetles how do i get to the listing of all the people who handle selling beetles ?
     
  9. PA

    PA Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if it has been posted here (probably has), but since the early 1980's on occasion I have seen old pantyhose used to hold skulls during maceration and or degreasing. I am not sure how fine the mesh bags mentioned here are, but you need it fine enough to keep the smallest of bones from escaping.

    Also, gallon jars, plastic or glass, are much better for ammonia than plastic jugs with saran wrap. 2 or 5 gallon plastic buckets like Terry said, with lids, also work like a charm, but gallon jars fit all the coyotes I have done.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2021
  10. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I don't think there is a maintained list of selling beetles. To be honest, the only person I would buy from is Ken .. of Kodiak Bones and Bugs. His beetles are clean with no parasites added. He is also very helpful with people asking questions about orders and has always been generous with an overcount. He also enclosed helpful information along with the order. He is also a member on here. http://bonesandbugs.com/
     
  11. thank you sea wolf