The tumblr of Shadyufo. Here you will find dead stuff, art, and dead stuff AS art! As well as a dash of my pets and any wildlife I encounter.

 

Anonymous asked
Hi, I see you answer a lot of bone cleaning questions; maybe you can help me out. I live in a country where Hydrogen Peroxide is not available in large quantities. Is there something else I can use instead?

Hey Anon!

Hydrogen peroxide is really the only way to whiten skulls. But a little bit of it does go a long way! For larger skulls or lots of skulls I’ll even dilute the 3% solution sold in grocery stores with water to make it go further. Always gets them white enough to suite me. But there are a couple of alternative ways to buy peroxide.

I’ve never tried it myself but most swimming pool supply stores sell products that are pretty much just high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. Baquacil Oxidizer (or BO) or any product containing that is about a 27% hydrogen peroxide concentration. Not sure about in your country but I know here you can even buy it online. 27% is pretty high and should be used with extreme caution (keep skulls soaking in it in an open container outdoors, wear sturdy gloves when handling it, keep it off of you!, and do not use metal containers for holding it because the peroxide will react with them and there is the risk of an explosion; hydrogen peroxide in high concentrations is pretty much rocket fuel) but so long as you are careful it’ll be fine. You can also water it down.

Hair salons also sell a product for bleaching hair that contains peroxide. 30 or 40 Volume plain peroxide is what you want to look for. It’s about a 12% concentration and it is a paste that you ‘paint’ on to the skulls.

I’ve even made my own paste by mixing 3% peroxide and baking soda together and coating very large skulls with that to whiten them. That’s how I whitened my giant draft horse skull. Just coated him in that and let him sit in the sun for a while.

Keeping the peroxide-soaking skulls out in direct sunlight, especially hot summer sun, will also help whiten them faster and brighter. The sun by itself can whiten skulls but it just takes a long time and leaving skulls out in the elements for too long can cause them to become damaged or weathered.

Hope all that helps, Anon! Good luck and happy whitening!

Anonymous asked
Without trying to sound rude, how do you know it's from a whale? I'm new to all of this and very curious :3

No worries, Anon! I got these from a couple of fossil hunters that I trust so that’s one important factor but the main answer is research!

Think it might be from a whale? Start searching for photos of other whale fossils and compare what you have with those. Size and shape are good indicators. And where they were found are hot spots for whale fossils.

That ear bone (a tympanic bulla) is pretty common whale fossil to find. It’s pretty weathered and it’s not from an especially large cetacean (I’ve got one in my collection that’s two or three times as big) but it’s definitely whale. Again, size, shape, and where it was found all point to this. Plus you don’t really hear (haha) of fossil ear bones from any other animal being found besides cetaceans.

Whale teeth, especially from prehistoric whales, come in a variety of shapes and sizes but they can often be identified by growth rings. You can’t always see them but they are very apparent in one of those smaller teeth.

Some times you’ll see white or ivory-colored, porous-looking whale “fossils” for sale. Stay away from them because they aren’t fossilized but are instead modern bones and unless they come with paperwork saying they were collected before the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 passed then you can’t legally own them or any other modern whale parts.

Hope that helps answer your question, Anon! :)

Anonymous asked
I recently found a dead rabbit in the woods by my house. I also noticed some beetles and other insects crawling around on and inside of it. I'm no beetle expert and I have no idea what kind they are but they were obviously eating the carcass. If I were to take the rabbit, beetles and all, would the beetles be worth keeping at the end instead of buying dermestid beetles? Thanks :)

Congrats on the find, Anon!

It depends on what sort of carrion beetles are feeding on the carcass. Many folks start their own colonies of dermestids with wild-caught insects and they are fairly easy keepers.

All sorts of little buggies like to visit smelly, rotten carcasses for a snack. The ones that you really want for a captive colony are Dermestes maculatus. They are eating machines, breed very fast, and are definitely easy keepers. To keep a happy, healthy dermestid colony you will need:

•A container that they can’t climb out of like a rubbermaid tote or aquarium.

•Screen lid or other way to keep the air circulated.

•Food. They’ll eat expired/freezer burned/scrap meat and dry dog food if you run out of dead stuff.

•Water

•Substrate. Shredded paper is good but I also like that crittercare stuff walmart sells.

•Some chunks of styrofoam for them to burrow into to pupate.

•And temperatures around 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Higher than that and they tend to want to start flying around.

So if you think you see any Dermestes maculatus crawling around on that rabbit then collect a few of them and give it a shot! Hope that all helps and best of luck, Anon!

kayandp said: Would you say this is a good breed of chicken for a first-time keeper?

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Definitely! Mine are the first birds of any sort that I’ve ever had and they’ve been so much fun. Super sweet temperament and they are so pretty! They’ll follow me around while I pick clover or catch grasshoppers for them and they looove food scraps. Bananas, melons, and berries are very popular. And they all like to use me as a jungle gym or sit on my shoulder but two of them, Spot and Speckles, especially like to sit in my lap and be petted.

They are twenty-two weeks old and haven’t started laying yet but I’ve read that this breed can be up to thirty weeks old before they start. I’m still thinking that they are all hens but there are times when I’m a little suspicious of Henrietta. 

If you raise them for food this is supposed to be a very good breed for meat too. The hens can weigh up to eight pounds!

Woohoo, first ever Tennessee Vulture Culture meet up!

I had an absolute blast meeting and hanging out with the seriously wonderful littlestwarrior this afternoon! Vickie you are too freaking awesome and talented and it was really great to get to nerd out over dead stuff, art, and puppies with you. Let’s do it again very soon! :D

Anonymous asked
Hi! I remember you saying before that you find some of your bones in creeks and rivers. Some of the locals here have had luck finding fossil bones in the river near me, so I'm going to give bone/fossil hunting a shot. Do you have any advice for bone collecting by a river? Are there certain times of day that are best to look, or anything in particular to look for? Do you look in the water/by the water's edge, or higher along the bank? Thanks!

Hey there!

Banks along running water are great places to hunt for bones! Stuff will wash in from miles around and new things come each time a heavy rainfall makes the water levels rise so you never know what you’ll find!

You can find bones anywhere around the water and even in it too. The edge, farther up the bank, even in the woods and fields around the water as well. Predators will catch fish and other small prey in the water and drag them to a quiet place to chow down and sometimes you’ll get lucky and find their leftovers. Bones really just turn up anywhere and everywhere!

Inspect everything closely. See a tiny piece of ivory white peaking out of the gravel or mud? Pick it up! It might just be a pebble or it might be an entire vertebrae or leg bone buried in the silt.

I’ve found that cloudy days a few days after a big rain are usually the best times to look. It’s easier to look for stuff when the sun isn’t glaring down on the ground or reflecting back at you from the rippling water (sun glares give me migraines so that’s something I try to avoid, haha) and new stuff is likely to wash in or be uncovered after a big rainstorm.

Hope that helps, Anon! Good luck and happy hunting!

littlestwarrior said: Is that a peroxide bottle drawing? These are great!

That it is! It and all those other little spot illustrations are for the “Supplies” pages. Thank you!

osteovermyhead said: You’re a fantastic artist!!

Thank you! I’ve neglected my traditional work for far too long so I’m really enjoying getting back into it.

art-iculated said: Cannibals in the old west? What movie is that? I am intrigued

Ravenous! It’s one of my favorite horror movies. Robert Carlyle is amazing in it. Gore, action, and just the right amount of twisted humor to make it a great flick. :)

Anonymous asked
Dogs have a baculum bone? Huh. The more you know.

oosik:

shadyufo:

That they do! A great deal of mammals have them with the exception of ungulates, cetaceans, marsupials and a few others. Humans don’t have them but great apes do.

And I recently learned that many female mammals have their own genital bones called baubellums or os clitoridis!

The more you know!

There’s a mnemonic for remembering which animals have bacula: 

PRICC

Primates - NHP (Adam used his to make Eve)
Rodentia - Rodents, though not rabbits
Insectivora - moles, shrews, hedgehogs
Carinvora - bears, cats, dogs, pinnipeds, raccoons, otters, weaseals, etc
Chioptera - bats

From the fabulous Mr. Oosik himself! This is super helpful but also very beautiful and hysterical.

kayandp said: Will this guide be PDF or print? (Or both?)

I’m planning on both. As of now it’s thirty-two pages covering numerous cleaning methods, basic anatomy, IDing different bones, supplies, safety, where to find bones, and what to do with finished bones. There will be a ton of illustrations in it.

The goal is to have printed copies and a downloadable PDF available in my Etsy shop around October/early November. Hopefully much sooner but we’ll see!