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 Post subject: 330Fergie Skull Projects
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:33 am 
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Hey All,
On top of trapping, taxidermy is a new found passion of mine. I've been working with Dermestid Beetles cleaning all sorts of interesting skulls. The following pictures give you a pretty good idea of how well the beetles work at removing all tissue. A good degrease and whitening and they come out nice and clean :) Plenty of other interesting skulls on the go so I will add them as I finish.

Weasel Skull

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Last edited by mfergie on Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:25 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:47 am 
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cool... ""

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:32 pm 
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330Fergie

where do you get the beetles, an entomologist?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:33 pm 
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how fast do they strip a skull lets say a bobcat just wandering i know of a guy around here that dose taxidermy and he was saying that he could strip it by hand faster


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:57 pm 
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Bigbeaver wrote:
330Fergie

where do you get the beetles, an entomologist?


I ordered them from a supplier out of Alaska as a starter kit of 1200. The colony is now in the 10's of thousands and kept in three seperate dermestariums.

jrchurch2001 wrote:
how fast do they strip a skull lets say a bobcat just wandering i know of a guy around here that dose taxidermy and he was saying that he could strip it by hand faster


It all depends on how many beetles you have in the colony, a bobcat skull would be finished overnight in any of my dermestariums. He could probably rough flesh the skull quicker but the beetles have multiple life stages ranging from almost microscopic to 1cm long. The larvae are what do the majority of the eating and they get into every little nook and cranny without harming the bone such as a knife would by scraping and scouring it.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:48 am 
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A little bit of beetle action on a Bobcat. This cat had a ton of oil and grease in it and has taken waay longer to degrease than I even imagined a little bobcat skull would. One more week in the degrease tank and should be ready for the final whitening.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:49 am 
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How are you degreasing afterwards? You mention some time in a degrease tank....

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:45 pm 
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lookout wrote:
How are you degreasing afterwards? You mention some time in a degrease tank....


There are many ways to degrease, I prefer using Dawn soap and water, it is gentle on the small and juvenile undeveloped skulls.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:04 pm 
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Very nice work 330Fergie. I have had some pretty good success by slow boil and painfully peel all crap off thje skulls. Once that is done I mix with soda and 35% hydrogen peroxide and slow boil again for 1/2 hour. I than leave overnight and for the most part pretty happy.
THis last time I did it it did not come out as white as I had wanted but I suspect the peroxide weakened to the point of not being effective????


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:15 pm 
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LoneRanger wrote:
Very nice work 330Fergie. I have had some pretty good success by slow boil and painfully peel all crap off thje skulls. Once that is done I mix with soda and 35% hydrogen peroxide and slow boil again for 1/2 hour. I than leave overnight and for the most part pretty happy.
THis last time I did it it did not come out as white as I had wanted but I suspect the peroxide weakened to the point of not being effective????


Thanks Lone Ranger! Imo the boiling method will work but there are some down sides. When boiling/simmering skulls you are cooking the oil and grease into the bone as well as making the bone weaker, possibly leading to chalky or flaky bone. After boiling I have noticed the grease is cooked into the bone so much that the degreasing process takes almost double the time "weeks to months." Inside of the nose on a boiled specimen you might find that the fine Turbinal bones just fall out leaving an empty nasal canal. Take the skulls you have completed and throw them in a bucket with dawn dish soap, change the water out every few days or as the water becomes murky with oil. Repeat until the water doesn't go murky and stays clear. Rinse the skull off well and put it in 1/3 35% hydrogen peroxide to 2/3 tap water. Place paper towel over the skull to keep all parts of the skull in the solution. Leave for a couple days and it should be good.

My concern is that you are boiling Hydrogen Peroxide! The 35% stuff is dangerous enough on its own...boiling it is scary stuff my friend! Please read the link below...this stuff is VERY dangerous and GREAT CARE should be taken while working with it... ie glasses, gloves and long sleeve shirts! Hope this helps!

http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.ph ... 556.0.html

330Fergie

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 3:26 pm 
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Some better more detailed info on the dangers in using Hydrogen Peroxide...

http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=& ... 0085,d.cGE

Hope this helps!

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:36 pm 
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Thanks MFergie. Great advice. I did wear the safety clothing but was not aware of the explosive nature. Yikes. Funny, as that is what I was told by my local taxidermist whom I also buy the supplies from.
I will try your method. Another likely problem is leaving the meat on the skull too long to the point in it drying out..


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:19 am 
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LoneRanger wrote:
Thanks MFergie. Great advice. I did wear the safety clothing but was not aware of the explosive nature. Yikes. Funny, as that is what I was told by my local taxidermist whom I also buy the supplies from.
I will try your method. Another likely problem is leaving the meat on the skull too long to the point in it drying out..


Leaving the meat til it dries out is fine and should not affect the final outcome. I actually dry my skulls after fleshing etc in an open salad bowl in the fridge "the girlfriend is a big fan!" The beetles like their meat more on the jerky side!

Degreasing is the most important part, I have a bear skull that has been degreasing for over six months now and I still have a small spot in the middle of the skull that looks like a grease ghost. It's a game of patience!

Feel free to pm me, there is more than one way to skin a cat and achieve good results.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:41 am 
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Finished Cybertoad's Bobcat

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