Treasure holding his ribs up on his nose while they dry, and resting on one of my favorite books c: I’ll let this side dry and do the other side another day. I think the ribs turned out decent for my first time!
tastethecrazyrainbow said: I mean this in no negative way at all, but is it emotionally stressful to handle your dead pet? I’ve considered this option many a time but have found it too hard to make the disconnect.
The thing about this pet is that he died over 12 years ago. I debated for a while whether or not I wanted to get him, and the thought that when we move away he’ll be stuck in the ground forgotten again made me heartbroken. During the process of retrieving him I had conflicted feelings, but when I opened the bag, for some reason, I felt happy to see him again. This cat was a distant memory from my childhood and I suppose the great amount of time between knowing him as a cat and seeing him now as a skeleton helped my mind stay detached.
I have three dogs now and I always get asked if I’d want to keep their bones. The short answer is yes, I’d love to have a golden retriever skull and a pit bull skull and know their history and lives and how they were beloved pets. But right now they’re my beloved pets and the thought of them being gone forever is something I can’t begin to think about. We lost a dog two years ago that we had throughout my childhood. I went through my own grieving process and now, I think it’d be pretty cool to see what made up my favorite dog (she was, however, cremated at the request of my dad).
I’m still sad about losing her so suddenly, but personally, I’m always trying to view my passion in a scientific way to keep my mind sane (goes for everything related to this hobby; the smell of maceration, pulling off flesh, and eventually skinning fresher animals. For science!). Everyone’s going to be different so don’t feel you have to be okay with all of this to relate or fit in. The only advice I can offer on the subject is to give yourself time to grieve, whether that’s a year or twelve.
I’m actually very glad you asked because it’s a subject I enjoy talking about and discussing with others. It’s a topic that many people feel uncomfortable with, dealing with dead pets, but I find that just talking about it makes me feel more open and accepting. Nothing lives forever and it’s something you need to prepare for eventually (I, myself, have only started preparing for it after my last dog). I like to think that having my old pet’s skeleton is a way of immortalizing him, as well.
I may end up crying a little when I hold the bones of my dogs, but it’s my huge appreciation and fascination for osteology that allows me to be able to handle more emotional situations. I’m rambling now, so I thank you for the thought-provoking question C:
Causally putting my old pet’s skeleton together on my bed. I’ve been working on this project off and on; hoping to get the ribs attached tonight! His bones are like paper and crumble easily, and still I choose the lazy man’s way with wire-wrapping his skeleton. I’m really liking how it’s turning out though! He’ll only end up with 3 toes on each paw, and probably less claws to go with them, but I’m still super excited to have my pet kitty articulated c:
I checked up on my buck and kitten skeleton in the decomp pot today! I do believe I’m noticing less grave wax on the skeleton, though it could be my imagination. Still a bit gooey so she’ll be staying in there longer anyhow. My little buck doesn’t seem to want natural colored antlers however. He’s been in there for around 2 weeks and not much color has stuck. It’s dry here, so I think the secret to absorbing that color will be to constantly water and keep it muddy.
Now they’re freshly buried and much more comfortable; thus begins my new watering experiment!
Hey guys! Making a little update to keep myself sane with all the projects I’ve been working on.
I finally have everything out of maceration! The last things I had in there were the cow skull, fox skull and vertebrae, and some miscellaneous pieces. Now they’re all in a soapy bath and getting ready for peroxide c:
I put my kitten skeleton in my decomp pot some weeks ago to see what it’d do for the grave wax on it. I haven’t been able to check on it because, with some clever positioning, I stuck my buck’s antlers in there for round two of staining the antlers. If I have time this evening I’ll pull them out and check on their progress.
Finally, about a week ago a friend and I went exploring around my property and the property behind mine. We found lots of little things; broken squirrel and rabbit skulls, numerous rabbit legs, a couple cat legs and broken skulls, an old cow tooth, and half a clam shell! Sometimes I wonder what happens on that mysterious mountain. Anyways, I threw all of those in another soapy bath and they’ll get the royal peroxide treatment once I get enough stocked for all this stuff.
So, lots of little projects around here! When I acquire a decent camera again I’ll be taking lots of pictures. I’m super excited to get my kitten skeleton cleaned so I can piece her skull back together and have a little kitten in my collection c:
Hey there! Let me begin by saying that in general, leaving bones and skulls sitting in water usually won’t do any damage. You’ll get algae growing if the water isn’t changed or bones will turn black from the bacteria sitting in the water, but you’ll still be able to pull it out and clean it up like new! Some bones and skulls that are old or belonging to young animals have a chance to fall apart but I’ve heard raccoons are very durable! At worst you’ll get some teeth falling out, which makes for a fun puzzle later c:
Cold water maceration is a slow process to begin with, so I always recommend sitting your container outside in the sun to warm it up as much as possible! The warmer the water, the faster the bacteria will breed and eat away the meaty bits. Maceration still works pretty slowly, though! I recently found a fox skull that’s been soaking for two weeks and after a few more days I believe the little bits of flesh that remained will be completely gone. It is a lot quicker, however, to pull your skull out every so often and scrape off as much of the meaty bits as you can. Leaves less work for the bacteria to do and let’s them focus more on the harder stuff.
So in short, I’d recommend checking on your skull every day, every other day, or whatever you feel like, and pulling off whatever you can. If you don’t feel like messing with it, leave your container in a sunny spot and change the water when it gets really cloudy. The rest is up to nature!
Thank you for the question; I hope this helps! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me or any other vultures over at the Vulture Culture!
teeth it had. I wonder how it would’ve been without the delay in the burial, and if it would’ve slowed things down. Anyways, I moved it from the pot into the garden (still wrapped) so the meatier bones (like the tail, that’s still actively decomposing) can finish off. So 6 days of being buried (7 days since death) is what it took to near complete skeletonization. Thanks for giving me the idea to decomp, I think I’ll use it on all my freshly dead things (maceration for the mummies tho :<)!
Hey! That’s great to hear! It’s amazing to see how fast those little bugs work c: Keeping it above ground for that day surely let the flies lay their eggs and gave you those lovely maggots, so that was a good thing! I’m very glad this method worked well for you. Good luck with your future dead things! C:
I love this little froggy I found by our shoes. I wish I knew he lost his way so he didn’t have to end up like this.
I’ve decided to keep my blinds open so I can put cute things on my windowsill. My mom made me this adorable cactus scene and naturally I filled it with treasures c:
Yay for more bone space!
My horse lady friend gave me these adorable pony teeth c: The left is a baby tooth ‘cap’ that the adult tooth pushes off when it’s erupting.
I need more horsey things :c
Hello there! I’m so glad my guide has inspired you c: You can grow plants in there (they’ll love the nutrients from all that dead stuff) but they may end up getting in the way when you dig up the skeleton again. The bugs are doing the majority of the work here so the more the better, but besides that I don’t believe there’s a way to speed it up. You can add manure to your pot as well which I’ve heard helps loads with breaking down a carcass.
As for checking in, I haven’t had any experience with fish yet, but after a week or two you should see some significant change. If you’re up to it, you can document the process as you keep checking on it and use it for future reference. I know fish skulls are fragile and fall apart easily, so definitely keep an eye on that so you can pull it out before it completely falls to bits.
I hope this helps, and if you have any more questions I’ll be happy to help! Let us know how it goes if you’d like. Experimentation is fun and incredibly educational! I know I love learning more about the processing to get those lovely bones c:
Our lovely treasure haul from today’s hike!
Lookit that cute fox with his wee nose c: I’m excited to get this lot cleaned up and ready for display!
And lastly, antlers! :D
Funny little tidbit about that second antler. We were standing in the area we found the fox in and my dad thought he saw some bones off in the distance. Thankfully we were smart enough to finally remember our binoculars so I could look around without running towards a pile of white rocks instead. The spot he was looking at was indeed, rocks, but I scanned around anyways and suddenly these points came into view! It was a great surprise to see in those binoculars when I didn’t think anything would be out there c:
This little cutie we almost had to run over before we saw it! Little guys are hard to spot in the taller grass. My second fox skull, this one nearly perfect with all it’s teeth! I so can’t wait for this little guy to be cleaned up c:
We started this hike the same way we usually do: couple cow bones here, couple there, scattered skeleton around ney. I picked up an axis vertebrae that was still in good shape from this group.
Then I stumbled upon an awesome snake skin. The head tore off but was right next to the skin. This’ll be my best skin yet!
Oh look, a dollar! Dinner’s on me!