Ethical Scavenger

The Ethical Scavenger : Focusing on the ethical collection of bones and proper cleaning techniques.

So we here at bonecleaning we are super curious about what kind of bones people find most of, and where (map wise)..

  1. ekotunde answered: in ontario, and i almost only find birds
  2. antleropolis answered: Deer bones. White tailed deer. EVERYWHERE

how about you?


Man am I in the mood to do a little bone hunting! I wish I had someone to go to the forest preserve with. It’s the only place in the city I won’t go alone. Both the upside and the downside of Chicago’s creepy forests are that a lot of things seem to die there…


Cool beaver fact for my followers! See that “double claw”? All beavers have this extra claw on their hind feet, second toe in. They use it to groom themselves and get parasites out of their fur.

interesting beaver facts!


Dragonfly from the family Aeshnidae (aka darners). Found dead. I left it in a curio drawer, and the dermestid beetles (not the good kind) have gotten to it, so it’s time for it to go.

If you see bite marks or heavy dust accumulation beneath a specimen of yours, it is a sign you may have dermestid beetles in your collection. Freeze your specimens for 1-2 weeks at least once per year to kill dermestid beetles and their eggs. If left unchecked, they will destroy your insect specimens, leaving nothing but a mess of exoskeletal plates and frass.

frass! i love that word, so cute yet so bad.

Seems like a lot of people who collect bones also enjoy collecting insects, so this is good info! thank you


Is it possible to macerate an animal that’s already very dessicated?

of course, it’ll just take a bit more soaking and benefit from warm water and a bit of soap - I prefer Mrs. Meyers.

if you’re looking for more bone processing info try the tutorials and links on our blog

Asker Anonymous Asks:
I feel like this is an incredibly stupid question but I'm very new to this. If I found a carcass, not yet decomposed, all with skin and meat on it, must I skin it or can you bury it or something and let that happen naturally?
bonecleaning bonecleaning Said:


Hey Anon! Not stupid at all! Thanks for the question. :)

You can get about as involved as you’d like to be. You can skin and deflesh it (cutting away as much meat from the bones as possible) and then macerate, use beetles, nature clean, or several other methods to clean the bones. Or you can just bury it as is in a trash bag or other bag to keep it contained. Personally I don’t care too much for burying stuff so if I were you and didn’t want to do too much hands on work I’d just put it in a trash bag with some holes poked in it, put that under a bucket or rubber tote, weigh that down with some bricks, rocks, or cinder blocks to keep any scavenging animals out of it, and let nature do the work for you!

Here’s some posts I’ve made in the past about bone cleaning that you might find to be helpful reads.

My FAQ Page.

Bone Collecting for Beginners

Quick How I Clean Bones Guide

Hope those help! If you have any other questions feel free to ask! :) Good luck with your project!

great bone cleaning info!


Few quick questions to those more experienced with vulture culture!

1. How does one clean/dust old bird taxidermy? I’ve bought a few antique taxidermied birds, and one - a duck - is in fairly bad shape, in that even the softest touch has him spewing feathers. How would I go about dusting him, or…

the caged/swamp method would probably be very effective!


My friend and I are building a fort and BAM this was there. Can anyone ID it?

looks like a raccoon


Someone plz tell me what this is from

definitely deer



What is this skull?!?!

Looks like some sort of pig! I’ll edit with a specific species if I can pinpoint it c:

perhaps wild boar?

(via roadbones)