How To Keep An Animal Skull Clean And Preserve It


A skull from an animal can be a rustic and even educational piece of indoor or outdoor decor, whether you’ve hunted it or found its remains in the wild. Waiting is the hardest part of bleaching and cleaning an animal’s skull. Taking off the outer flesh is the first step of preserving an animal skull. Before you bleach and preserve it for display, we’ll walk you through several cleaning techniques for the skull. Here are the four methods for cleaning the skull.

Macerate The Skull In Water With Laundry Detergent

To macerate is to soak away the flesh. Pour warm water into a basin big enough to accommodate the head; the water should be just warm, about 90 °F (32 °C). Next, add 2 US tbsp (30 mL) of an enzymatic laundry detergent (per gallon of water) that has been labeled on the package. Let the skull sink to the bottom. Using a sharp knife or your hands, remove the loosening flesh every few days until the skull is completely free of flesh. Depending on the size of the skull and the amount of flesh present, this process can take a few days to a few weeks.

Macerate The Skull In Hot Water To “Cook” The Flesh Off

After bringing a large pot of water to a rolling boil and inserting a wire rack into the bottom, completely submerge the skull. After about an hour of simmering, remove and use a knife to trim off any loose meat. After an additional hour of submersion, repeat the procedure. Depending on the amount of flesh still on the bone and the size of the skull, this process may take three to seven hours or longer. It’s usually the fastest way. To help with the process, add 2-3 US tbsp (30-44 mL) of an enzymatic laundry detergent. As this produces a strong smell, do it outside.

Use Dermestid Beetles In A Box To Clean The Skull

This method lets the insects do all the work: let the skull air dry for two to three days. Then, put it in a steel container with small air holes, such as a bucket or drum. Add a smaller container of water to provide humidity and at least five or more Dermestid beetles or larvae, which feed on flesh. Leave the container in a dry place for several weeks or a few days, checking on the progress every day or so. You can get Dermestid beetles from decomposing vertebrates or from certain online retailers. An analogous method is to leave the skull in a wire cage next to or on top of an anthill for several weeks. Employing beetles for skull cleaning is a natural and efficient method that ensures thorough preservation by carefully removing flesh and tissue.

Burying The Skull In The Ground For A Few Months

Create a hole big enough to accommodate the skull, insert it, and then fill it with soil. Cover the area with an inverted bin topped with bricks to keep scavengers away, and leave the skull to break down over several months.

Rich soil and dense foliage, which favor the growth of decomposing insects or plants, are ideal conditions for this laissez-faire attitude. An intact animal head may require up to ten months to go through this process. Next, use a hose to spray the dirt off the skull gently. To maintain the natural appearance of the antlers on a deer skull, keep them above ground when cleaning it.

Bottom line

The systematic procedures described in this guide offer a priceless road map for enthusiasts looking to showcase and preserve the classic appeal of animal skulls. People can turn these pieces of nature’s remnants into timeless objects that captivate with historical significance and visual appeal by paying close attention to cleaning and preservation techniques.

Jane Tudor

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