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Posted by Audrey on December 20, 2001 at 01:30:50:
In Reply to: Skeletons of collareds posted by kevin v on August 07, 2001 at 17:42:45:
I've never done reptile skels myself--just bird & mammal. Reps are delicate. Museums use colonies of beetles of the Dermestidae family, possibly Dermestes lardarius (Larder Beetle) or the Variegated or Black Carpet Beetle (Dermestes sp?), in sealed enclosures! I wouldn't ever bring those beasties into my home, or even my garage. They'll eat you out of house & home! An ant hill is fine for a skull, but a small skeleton will be dismantled and other critters will tear the little carcass to pieces--you can't control it enough. The best method is to: 1. carefully and tediously skin it out; 2.carve off the excess meat; 3. soak it in a quart of lukewarm water; 4. every few days, before it gets too gross, pull it out, scrape the yukky stuff off with a plastic knife, and put it in fresh water; 5. repeat, until it's clean; 6. be careful not to soak it too long if it's a baby skel, or the epiphyses (ends of the long bones) will fall off of the shafts, and the skull will come apart at the sutures. If it were an adult, you could use a Tbsp. of Biz Laundry presoak, which has an enzyme to help digest the meat faster. But it could also dissolve the tissues holding the epiphyses on the shafts, so you'll have to do it the slow & careful way. A bunch of old toothbrushes will also help as the meat comes off down to the bone. Let me know how it comes out! (one of my museum jobs was zoology preparator at a natural history museum)
: has anyone ever got a skeleton of a baby about 3-4inches of a collared cause mine died about 4months ago and i burried it in a baggy and dug it up today and the skin was all there so i put it under a log with ants on the mound to eat away at it (done this before with a oppsum skull can out cool) then i will soak it in h2o2 the in bleach!has anyone got a skeleton this small?