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Cleaning a bird skull to the bone?

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  • jamenos
    I found a dead owl on my way to the coast a couple of months ago. I cleaned it and skalped it as much as possible with sea water. I then hung it up in a
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 9, 2005
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      I found a dead owl on my way to the coast a couple of months ago. I
      cleaned it and skalped it as much as possible with sea water. I then
      hung it up in a container for fly magots to clean it up. Nothing
      happened. The meat has kind of dried up and no cleaning magots around.
      I think now that because I did not rinse it off with fresh water
      nothing has happened.
      Is there a chemical I may dip it or soak it for me to end up with a
      good clean white skull? Or any other advice?

      Thanks in advance,
      Sebastian
    • Victoria Arundell
      this happed to me with a large crow skull. i left it for the flies but if sort of mummified . i though what they hey! and stuck the beak covering back on
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 16, 2005
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        this happed to me with a large crow skull. i left it for the flies but
        if sort of "mummified". i though "what they hey!" and stuck the beak
        covering back on anyway.
        you could try soaking it in water, although this can leave a smelly
        skull and im not sure how it would work with a dried out specimin.
        perhaps you could bury it in an anthill. their jaws can chew through
        the tough skin. either that or acquire Dermestid bettles.
        i wouldnt bother getting rid of it myself. we have species protection
        laws here but they dont seem as harsh as US ones so ive no idea of the
        risk involved. though im sure the chances that one of your guests will
        spot it, recognise the species and report you is minimal. i would
        rather take the risk, keep it and enjoy it!
        Victoria
        In roadkillandtaxidermy@yahoogroups.com, "jamenos" <jamenos@y...>
        wrote:
        > I found a dead owl on my way to the coast a couple of months ago. I
        > cleaned it and skalped it as much as possible with sea water. I then
        > hung it up in a container for fly magots to clean it up. Nothing
        > happened. The meat has kind of dried up and no cleaning magots
        around.
        > I think now that because I did not rinse it off with fresh water
        > nothing has happened.
        > Is there a chemical I may dip it or soak it for me to end up with a
        > good clean white skull? Or any other advice?
        >
        > Thanks in advance,
        > Sebastian
      • boneztreehgr
        ... Please don t use salt water, that will just dehydrate it. Insects won t come to it if there is no moisture (they need water just like us), keep it damp,
        Message 3 of 3 , Aug 17, 2005
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          --- In roadkillandtaxidermy@yahoogroups.com, "jamenos" <jamenos@y...> wrote:
          > I found a dead owl on my way to the coast a couple of months ago. I
          > cleaned it and skalped it as much as possible with sea water. I then
          > hung it up in a container for fly magots to clean it up. Nothing
          > happened. The meat has kind of dried up and no cleaning magots around.
          > I think now that because I did not rinse it off with fresh water
          > nothing has happened.
          > Is there a chemical I may dip it or soak it for me to end up with a
          > good clean white skull? Or any other advice?
          >
          > Thanks in advance,
          > Sebastian

          Please don't use salt water, that will just dehydrate it. Insects won't come to it if
          there is no moisture (they need water just like us), keep it damp, not wet. You
          could run to the pet store and purchase some mealworms, they work, but
          slowly. Don't boil it, the tendons that hold the seperate bones together will break
          apart and you beautifull skull will be one hell of a puzzle. keep it moist with
          beetles, or plop down in front of the T.V. for a few houres with some small
          instruments (safty pins, toothbrushes, toothpicks, fingernail clippers,) and just
          take your time, it will be worth it in the end. Bleach (waterd down) and vinigar
          work well to whiten, however, they make the bones very dry and brittle. You
          should keep it natural and enjoy the tans and browns of decomposition. Be
          carefull who you show it to, there are laws in the U.S. about Raptors(birds of
          prey) and the wrong cop at the wrong time can make your life hell. Do you know
          what kind of owl it is. You are very lucky to have such a wonderfull peice of
          natural artwork, I'm glad you appreciate it...
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