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Degreasing A Hippo

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by linoman, May 14, 2021.

  1. linoman

    linoman Member

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    Received a hippo skull but it could use some degreasing. Ive searched and read the forum and think my best bet would be a couple 30 gallon rubbermaid totes but Im stuck on how to heat it. Sounds like aquarium heaters are no longer a viable option but I did see someone mentioned an immersion heater or an inexpensive sous vide? Would appreciate any advice as Im starting from scratch here. Thanks
     

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  2. e101011

    e101011 Member

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    Nice piece. I wish my hippo had tusks.
    I can’t imagine why aquarium heaters wouldn’t work, but would suggest using two that are rated for the size of enclosure and set them for 5-10% higher than your desired temperature. Also try to create some movement in the water, like an airstone or even a cheap 10g waterfall aquarium filter. The water won’t heat evenly or properly if the it’s stagnant.
     

  3. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    For something that large, I would not try aquarium heaters. Might it be possible to use one of the newer, cheaper barrel/bucket heaters? They wrap around the container on the outside. One reason I never tried to get a hippo was the sheer size of them and that they all need degreasing. Bad enough I have to trip over a couple of whale skulls. I at least have hippo tusks though. Another option for a container might be if you could get one of those cast off, empty chemical containers in those metal cages and cut it down to size. Keep the outer metal cage to support the container when full of water.
     
  5. steve torna

    steve torna New Member

    Hello,
    Set the covered containers in the sun. The solution may cool down during the night but it will become quite hot during the day. Degreasing takes time, perhaps a couple of months for such a large greasy skull. The skull should degrease; perhaps not as quickly without constant heat. I recently finished degreasing a really nice polar bear that came from an 80 year old collection. The skull was dark brown; I placed it in a black plastic tub with ammonia and kept it in the sun. It took a full month and I changed the ammonia 4 times; it turned out beautifully. The skull now has an even natural bone color.
     
  6. linoman

    linoman Member

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    This certainly sounds like the simplest option but living here in New England I’d be lucky to get a few months of actual warm weather. I found these submersible bucket heaters at my local tractor supply store, anyone ever try one of these? https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/p...-1000w-submersible-bucket-heater?cm_vc=-10005
     
  7. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    OK, I haven't seen that one before. Used mostly to keep tanks free of ice it does say it will heat to 100 to 110 degrees. It does state that is for a 5 gallon bucket but if you insulated a container well and dropped in a small pump to circulate the water it might just work. The other option is to get one of those Allied bucket heaters and rig it to a thermostat. Without one, it gets water to close to a simmer and that is much too hot. There is a thread on here on how to wire a thermostat to one as well. "Caveman bucket heater" might find it. It had good pictures but I do not know if they are still on the post or not.

    Took a second to look. Did not find the caveman bucket heater thread but there was this one. Pictures worked when I first looked at it but now they do not. https://www.taxidermy.net/threads/262034/

    As a note, when I was looking at Search results, the original link as given for that was http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,262034.0.html This goes to the old forum archive which now seems to be very sadly broken. The format is apparently different now. If you look at the old vs new url for that page you can see how I changed the end of it to get it to work. Very sad as the original post did show the photos still intact for a moment. Toxic still roams through here so possibly the pictures could be replaced or maybe a whole new post made.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
  8. linoman

    linoman Member

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    Update on the hippo. I found that a 44 gal trash can just fits the entire skull so I currently have it outside submerged in dawn/water. I have one of those Duda wrap around heaters on the way from Amazon that I’ll strap onto it and will likely get a small pump to circulate the water. Does anyone know if these are ok to leave outdoors or do I need to figure out a way to weatherproof the whole setup?
     

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  9. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I think the wrap around barrel heaters are better suited for indoors like a garage but I bet a good tarp over it would suffice. Thinking the controls should not get wet.
     
  10. steve torna

    steve torna New Member

    Please share photos when it's finished. Thanks
     
    linoman likes this.
  11. I use the 1000W API submersible bucket heaters. You will need to pair it up with an inkbird thermostat or it will boil your water...
     
  12. linoman

    linoman Member

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    Went with the submersible bucket heater from tractor supply (actually got it from amazon) and a small aquarium pump. Been setup outside for about a week now and everything seems to be functioning well, the water is warm to the touch but by no means hot. Definitely a bit of an odor on top of the dawn smell, I think there were still some "bits" left over in the nooks and crannies. Im planning on leaving it for a month or so before attempting a water change.
     
    Graybeard's Beetles likes this.
  13. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Hippo stew .. yum. Adding some ammonia will not hurt.
     
    linoman likes this.
  14. linoman

    linoman Member

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    How much ammonia would you suggest?
     
  15. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    How many gallons do you have it submerged in? I would say to add 4 cups of ammonia for every gallon you have.