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  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-11-2013 07:46 PM
Betta132 No, sorry, no pics, as I haven't been able to get a sealant for the bones. The brush-on superglue turned out to be solid all the way through the bottle...
@lochaber, we're pretty much in a suburban area, and I do know a taxidermist place that's pretty close to us. I'm definitely looking for decently clean roadkill... I saw a dead hog, but the highway department may have taken that. Hmm, maybe I should call them...
We're in Central Texas, so no beaches, and the one that's a few hours' drive from here is unfortunatey stripped clean of most non-living cool stuff.
I found part of a huge dead bird, maybe hawk, near a park in November... I was poking around in a patch of trees with a few friends, and we started finding all these shredded hawk feathers. Then we found the bones from a hawk's wing. It had been snapped jaggedly off at the shoulder, but was holding together really well. We also found the other wing and a leg with a mostly intact foot. I only have one wing, as two other teens got the leg and other wing.
I've cleaned my few skeletons by wrapping them in mesh and burying them in the garden with a few flat rocks on top. Our neighborhood has a lot of stray cats/raccoons/possums/the like.
I have pretty much the entire skeleton, minus some paw bones and the atlas (first vertebrae), so I think it'd be kind of a shame to only use a few bones. I've figured out something that I think will look pretty good...
I'd use this raccoon skeleton I assembled awhile ago (tied for first place at the science fair with it!), but it's fully assembled and I don't think I could dissasemble it.
01-11-2013 06:00 PM
civics14 Any pictures yet? I really have to see this.
01-11-2013 05:35 AM
lochaber Betta123>

sorry, that was a couple decades ago... I move around too much, and have lived in an urban area for too long to hang on to stuff like that. Occasionally I'll come across a raccoon or squirrel skull, and if it's pretty clean,, I'll take it home and toss it in a window box or bottle garden or something.

What's the area like where you are, rural, suburb, urban, something else? If hunting is big in your area, it may be worth hitting up a taxidermist- they usually use premade forms, and discard the head after removing the skin/hide. It won't help with critters with horns/antlers (deer, rams, antelope, etc.) as those are hacked off with part of the skull, but I've had (a long time ago) mountain lion, bear, fox, etc. Other then that, I guess just check roadsides for roadkill - when I was a kid I would note when something new turned up, and then check back a couple months later.

As to cleaning, yeah, museums and such tend to use dermestid beetle larva, but those things can be pretty troublesome if not contained. easiest is probably just to stick it somewhere downwind, and wait a while. I've used boiling, which is pretty unpleasant, plus I think it cracks the teeth. If you live near the shore, check someplace where driftwood and flotsom turns up- It will be mostly smaller stuff, and birds, but twixt the intertidal zone and sand scouring, that's probably the cleanest stuff you will come across that's less then a decade old.

Anyways, back to the tank bit, I'd consider just tossing in the skull with a couple random bones (a leg or 2, a few ribs and a scattering of vertebra). I imagine snails and such will gnaw on them and they won't last long, squirrel bones are pretty tiny/thin. If you still want to coat them, I think epoxy resin is a better bet, it's not very difficult to work with, it's used pretty frequently in aquariums, and it will adhere and seal the bone, as well as hold up in an aquarium (I believe cyanoacrylate (superglue) breaks down on prolonged submersion).

Good luck, and definitely post pics
01-11-2013 04:04 AM
Originally Posted by Betta132 View Post
@jester56, how'd you know I have a tang skeleton on my 'skeletons to get' list?! Lol! Seriously, every LFS I go to, I look for big fish who just aren't doing well... And I've had three places tell me people have actually asked for dead fish before!
Betta, thanks for taking the Photoshopped joke in the spirit of it! I agree with the taxidermist suggestion. Heck, you might get one that you can explain what you're doing and open up a new market for him AND you! Nano tanks with small skeletons in them. And the ideas come in as more people find this topic. I'd have to say, "Most cool!" Did I say I love this thread?!?
01-11-2013 02:08 AM
Betta132 My uncle might be able to get me a gar skeleton... That might end up in the tank. Not sure yet... Well, one thing's for sure, this is gonna be a really cool tank!
01-11-2013 01:54 AM
Originally Posted by Betta132 View Post
@FlyingHellFish, this is totally serious! But that would just about be my reaction...
It only took 10 days to decompose because I let flies lay eggs on it before I buried it, so there were a lot of maggots! They were the grossest bits.
If this is all true, which I'm starting to believe it is, then this is going to be an EPIC thread. Internet meme in the workings fellas, I can see this getting pass around on the net.

"Over zealous Aquarium tank owner takes Taxidermy to another level"

A star is being born! Just like Co2 and nutrient substrate, we're all be waiting for animal bones so we can put them in our Aquascape.
01-11-2013 01:49 AM
harley1964 On a more serious note, as far as cleaning the bones of unwanted material, taxidermists use very specific insects to do the could then use a multitude of different fiberglass epoxy resins for the sealing and mounting of the remaining parts. I saw the wings of a bat preserved with something that kinda sealed the flesh, it was very macabre and horror movie ish.a taxidermist can show you all kind of methods for preserving critters. I think you are doing this to get the shock and awe effect going, and it looks like its working.
good luck.
01-11-2013 01:35 AM
Betta132 @FlyingHellFish, this is totally serious! But that would just about be my reaction...
It only took 10 days to decompose because I let flies lay eggs on it before I buried it, so there were a lot of maggots! They were the grossest bits.
@civics14, not exactly. I found it in the neighbor's yard, just sprawled on its belly. I could see that it was breathing, and then it stopped breathing. I only knew that it broke its back when I had the skeleton cleaned off.
@james1542, I think I will use superglue... we do have some of that brush-on stuff. And I do plan on posting pics when I get some decent ones!
You do have a point about making it look natural... Maybe I'll just have the backbone, paws, and legs at least partially strung together, and let it lay over some driftwood. There's a piece in my tank that would work for that... I'd just have to find a way to make sure the larger fish didn't bury the bones all the way...
@jester56, how'd you know I have a tang skeleton on my 'skeletons to get' list?! Lol! Seriously, every LFS I go to, I look for big fish who just aren't doing well... And I've had three places tell me people have actually asked for dead fish before!
@lochaber, could you mail me one of the slightly more intact skeletons, perhaps? Not a cow, of course, but a dog or something would be cool... I'm serious, I recently developed an interest bordering on obsession with skeletons! I had a dove that hit a window and broke its neck, but something dug it up and stole it... Foozle.
01-11-2013 12:46 AM
jester56 Sorry, but I was jealous. Had to do my own skeletal study tank. It came out quite well. Don't you think? LOL!

(This thread is the funniest I've seen! And all because of a poor dead squirrel! LOL!)
01-10-2013 07:28 PM
CoffeeLove I've seen a squirrel with a broken back, I also put it out of it's misery. Squirrels fall from trees a lot. One literally almost landed on my head, it was cray cray. Saw two others fall as well.

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk 2
01-10-2013 07:26 PM
HybridHerp Maybe its just me, but if I had a skeleton in my tank, I'd make it look like it died in there, then get some moss growing on the dismembered skeleton. It'd be cool for an invert tank cause I bet they would love the extra calcium now in their water and the ribs would make a ton of hiding spaces.
01-10-2013 07:09 PM
james1542 This is hilarious, a truly ridiculous story. First we need more details on this broken back squirrel story. Some brush on superglue would be probably the best sealer you could use on the bones. They make a really runny form that comes in a bottle with a brush for applying it.

I can't wait to see some actual bones in an aquascape. If done well, it could be really cool. I don't think an articulated squirrel skeleton will look good though. You can only do something really un-natural and cheesy with it, like have it clinging to some driftwood. To make a natural scape that had a squirrel skeleton, basically you'd have a pile of disarticulated bones, half buried in the substrate. Meh
01-10-2013 02:54 PM
civics14 You happen to be right there when a squirrel broke its back and died? LOL. Nevertheless, this has got to be an interesting aquarium when you get it set up.

Originally Posted by Betta132 View Post
Yup, me again. So, what about a squirrel skeleton? It died of a broken back, was picked up by me literally minutes after it died, and spent 10 days underground. After that, it was dug up, soaked in a hydrogen peroxide solution, rinsed, and partially assembled using SuperGlue.
What would I have to do to make sure it's aquarium safe? I have a tree-looking piece of driftwood in my 65, and I think a squirrel skeleton is just what it needs. Yeah, I'm weird for wanting bones in my tank.
01-10-2013 05:39 AM
Originally Posted by FlyingHellFish View Post
You guys are kidding right? I mean this whole thread is a joke right? 10 Days under ground squirrel skeleton? Deer keeping head family?

Post pictures or it didn't happen.

I grew up in a rural area, and it wasn't uncommon to find stuff when wandering around the woods/fields/roads. I never encountered a deer skeleton/corpse, but did see several cow (both skeletal and fresh, plus the cowpasture was littered with scattered bones), Most of a (old and well-weathered) dog skeleton, plus countless of the typical roadkill - raccoon, opossum, cat, etc. (usually had heavy head trauma, but every now and then you would come across an intact skull).

Even aside from the morbid bits, skulls/skeletons can be rather interesting - they are a part of an animal that is rarely seen, yet every quality of that animal (what it eats, how it moves, etc.) is reflected in the skull and skeleton. plus, I developed an early interest in paleontology, geology, and biology, which sorta contributed a bit...
01-10-2013 05:13 AM
Originally Posted by TonyK View Post
I am watching this thread. My son found a whole deer body decomposed to the bone. We kept the head. It would be really cool to put in a tank.
You guys are kidding right? I mean this whole thread is a joke right? 10 Days under ground squirrel skeleton? Deer keeping head family?

Post pictures or it didn't happen.
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