Ethical Scavenger

WARNING - This blog is about bone cleaning and will include pictures of the entire process in its various stages.

This blog is meant to help educate and instruct those who wish to learn how to clean Ethically Scavenged bones.

I focus on honoring and appreciating nature and it's gifts - as well as respecting animal rights and helping to protect and preserve wildlife and habitat.

You may also find : interesting fossils, skeletal abnormalities, bone collecting through the ages, prehistoric bone tools and art plus information about the Skeletal systems of commonly found animals.

I'm currently in the process of cleaning some squirrel bones (they've been soaking in soapy warm water for the past few weeks) and the other day I was scrubbin em and noticed some grayish fatty looking bits stuck to a couple of the bones. I couldn't scrub or pull them off. Any thoughts on how to remove it?
bonecleaning bonecleaning Said:


the dreaded last bits of connective tissue! always a pain in the ass..

two methods that have worked for me in the past :

1) Give it a day or so in peroxide and then back into the maceration tub : try to keep the water warm (sunny window, near a heater, etc) and add a bit of dish soap. this can whiten them quite a bit, so a soak in black tea can be used to darken the bones back up

2) let it try and scrape/sand it off. this is trickier with small bones. If you can get your hands on a scalpel or similar they work wonders!

Are there any specific Bone cleaning or animal bone questions you guys have?

I could do a few posts with bone comparison of commonly found bones : deer, raccoon, coyote.

let me know ?


Cosmopolitan: Get That Life 
How I became a museum’s Chief Curiosity Correspondent

Did you ever think Cosmo would run an image of dermestid beetles nibbling on a goose carcass? 


I can’t describe how proud I am that such a popular magazine typically focused on fashion and sex tips is also incorporating scientists into their features because fashion and sex tips and gross anatomy are not at all mutually exclusive. 

We are rebranding feminism and empowerment one major media publication at a time. 

Thank you, world. 

So I have a buck skull not in the best condition nature cleaned fell a couple times but it's still dirty how should I clean it
bonecleaning bonecleaning Said:

Maceration! I’d suggest getting a large plastic tub (or 5 gallon bucket) and soaking it in warm water for a while to loosen any dirt and grime.

Once its mostly clean you can take a tooth brush, or other small scrubby brush and some dish soap and get all the last bits off.

Just the warm, soapy soak should lighten the color a bit as it removes dirt and oils - but you could also give it a little peroxide bath to help whiten it.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Any advice for skulls that have fleshy bits on it still that just won't come off? I have a rat skull and it's taking forever to finish!
bonecleaning bonecleaning Said:


That happens to me to, always so frustrating when the last little bits refuse to cooperate. I’d suggest maceration in very warm, soapy water (i use mrs.myers) and scrubbing with a toothbrush! Sometimes a good dip in peroxide can help to loosen up tissue as well.

If you have access to them, newer medical scalpels come in the BEST shapes and angles and are great for getting little bits of flesh off skulls!

hope that helped!


"I found this yesterday and went back today with my camera and I’m very freaking excited about it. I must have bear clan genes. It is in one of the places where I frequently paint and last fall I saw scat I was fairly sure was from a bear. -

hmm - seems very deer-like to me. What do you think?


Loretta the Lynx

Loretta was found on a mine survey by a friend. Because of this, she was named after Loretta Lynn, the coal miner’s daughter. Found at the beginning of the survey Loretta was buried for a week before being bagged up and brought back to me in Anchorage. 

At first look (1), Loretta was only half a lynx. Her back half was missing as well as one of her front paws, possibly from a trapping incident. Luckily the skull was intact, so I focused on that. To in no way harm the skull, I separated the spine at roughly the 4th vertebra. The entire column was coated in dead, desiccated maggots (2,3). 

I let Loretta soak for a bit to make the skin and soft tissues pliable (4). I peeled back the face skin keeping it intact (5). Once removed, the tongue and eyes were still present (6). I removed those along with the extraneous vertebrae which left blood-soaked teeth and some remnant soft tissue (7).

To remove this I put the skull, mandible, and cervical vertebrae into a water bath to macerate. The little skull to the left is an arctic hare that I had just completed (8). After a few weeks I pulled her out to see her progress. She still had some soft tissue so she went back into fresh water again (9).

Felids generally don’t have complete orbits. With the photo taken today, she shows that she still has some soft tissue completing the orbit (10). I like it. The entire process took maybe a month or two at the most. Leaving things to sit in water for a while really works well.


This is by no means a be-all end-all guide but I just pulled a few of the highlights from the guide I’m working on to share for the anon that asked earlier.

Everyone has their own way of cleaning dead things and I always encourage experimenting with various methods to find what works best for…



Hey guys! A friend of mine sent me a photo of this - hoping I would know what it was. Unfortunately, I don’t. Anyone have any ideas? It’s from Western Mass if that helps

Looks like a raccoon to me!

have to agree, the fur and head-shape seem very raccoon like