cleaning skulls

Sea Wolf

Songster
Apr 30, 2015
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671
156
Taxachusetts
This may sound strange but ants will clean a skull pretty fast. If you have fire ants in your territory, lay the skull next to an ant mound and the ants will clean it up quick, getting into those tiny crevices. Watch that nothing carries the skull off in the process.
Actually, this is a very bad idea if it is something you care about. Teeth will be lost as well as the whole skull if something runs off with it or chews on it as you noted. In addition, the mineral staining from the ground and ant debris will many times be permanent leaving dark brown or yellow stains.
 

TwoCrows

Inuit Raven
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Actually, this is a very bad idea if it is something you care about. Teeth will be lost as well as the whole skull if something runs off with it or chews on it as you noted. In addition, the mineral staining from the ground and ant debris will many times be permanent leaving dark brown or yellow stains.
Good to know about the staining! We find a lot deer and elk skulls and like to hang them outside only, not wanting to clean them ourselves, we leave it to the ants. I was never concerned about staining or took note of it actually. Thanks for this info, now I know! :)
 

Sea Wolf

Songster
Apr 30, 2015
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Taxachusetts
My favorites are those that
Hello! I’m a very novice bone collector. Here’s my whitetail buck with a worm on a string, haha. He was the first skull I cleaned and has previously healed head trauma.
have injuries that tell a story. I have a wolf skull from an animal that survived getting kicked in the head by a moose. Badly fractured and broken skull that was healing. Shows how resilient animals can be.
 

Corinia

Chirping
Dec 27, 2019
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Old Mines, MO
My husband had a deer skull he wanted after hunting season one year. He dug a hole, put it in whole, skin and all, put a bucket over the top to mark it and left it over winter (about 3 or 4 months) dug it up in the spring and it was perfect. We weren't worried about any staining, and after it hung on the shed in the sun, if it was stained, the sun bleached it out again.
 

TwoCrows

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My husband had a deer skull he wanted after hunting season one year. He dug a hole, put it in whole, skin and all, put a bucket over the top to mark it and left it over winter (about 3 or 4 months) dug it up in the spring and it was perfect. We weren't worried about any staining, and after it hung on the shed in the sun, if it was stained, the sun bleached it out again.
Yes, I would imagine all the microbes and healthy bacteria in the soil along with all the tiny livestock that live in the soil would do a fabulous job of cleaning up the skull! :)
 

Sea Wolf

Songster
Apr 30, 2015
412
671
156
Taxachusetts
My husband had a deer skull he wanted after hunting season one year. He dug a hole, put it in whole, skin and all, put a bucket over the top to mark it and left it over winter (about 3 or 4 months) dug it up in the spring and it was perfect. We weren't worried about any staining, and after it hung on the shed in the sun, if it was stained, the sun bleached it out again.
It's clean to a point. But it isn't clean. Some people live in an area where the ground doesn't have a high acid/mineral content or a lot of organic matter. The best way to lose teeth is by doing this in addition to losing the entire head to a dog or some other predator.
Some people don't care but an awful lot do. I professionally clean skulls for folks and do so by a rotting process called maceration. Yes, there is a lot of bacteria and microbes involved but it is clean in two weeks, not months. The end result is a museum quality skull that you are proud to have in your home. It's not something for the garage wall or out on the shed.
 

Corinia

Chirping
Dec 27, 2019
15
58
53
Old Mines, MO
It's clean to a point. But it isn't clean. Some people live in an area where the ground doesn't have a high acid/mineral content or a lot of organic matter. The best way to lose teeth is by doing this in addition to losing the entire head to a dog or some other predator.
Some people don't care but an awful lot do. I professionally clean skulls for folks and do so by a rotting process called maceration. Yes, there is a lot of bacteria and microbes involved but it is clean in two weeks, not months. The end result is a museum quality skull that you are proud to have in your home. It's not something for the garage wall or out on the shed.
Of course there are different techniques for different purposes.

Just because it's hung on a shed, doesn't mean that you can't be proud of it.
 
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