Anonymous asked: So I live in Canada and have been obsessing over your water themed curiosity collection but noticed it only ships to the states. If I purchase it, is there any possible way to ship it to Canada, even if I paid extra postage for it?
Hey there! Thank you so much for your interest in that piece. It was a fun one to put together. :)
Unfortunately I don’t ship animal parts internationally. To do so here in the United States I would have to get a license from US Fish & Wildlife Services, pay a user fee for each package, and go through a broker to ship it from an authorized border port. I believe that the average total for all of these fees and shipping generally runs around $200-250 per package.
Wildlife parts includes not only bones, skulls, and furs but also parts from or made with crustaceans, insects, and other invertebrates. So that includes sea shells which are also in that curiosity collection.
Some domestic animal parts can be shipped internationally (so long as they didn’t originate in the wild) but I still usually just stick to US sales for all animal parts.
I can and do ship fossil and mineral specimens internationally though! So if you are interested in any of those specimens in the shop (I’ve got a couple of big trilobites, some fossil shark teeth, jars of fossils from my creek, and so on) I will be glad send them your way!
Thank you again for the interest and I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help!
Anonymous asked: Hey!! I started my first peroxide bath today. The bones that I put in had been cleaned with a toothbrush after finding them on a hike (they were dry with no flesh- my intention was to remove some of the dirt stuck to them). Is it normal for the bones, once in the peroxide bath, to bubble? Should the water become instantly murky? One of the bones floats, is this normal or could there be more dirt to clean out? Thanks in advance!!
No worries, Anon! All is well!
Bubbles are a sign of a reaction called oxidation which occurs when peroxide comes into contact with an enzyme called catalase. Catalase helps protect organisms from cell damage caused by oxidative stress. So when it encounters hydrogen peroxide (an oxidizer) it reacts by basically attacking it. The bubbles are caused by the catalase separating the two oxygen atoms from the two hydrogen atoms that make up hydrogen peroxide.
So basically, you want to see bubbles when using peroxide because that means that it is active and doing its job to clean and whiten the bones!
Instantly murky? That’s probably just the dirt floating away from the bones as the peroxide works. You can change it out if you like but so long as the peroxide is bubbly and the bones are getting whiter it is still working just fine. Peroxide will eventually become inactive as it deteriorates (it will stop bubbling) so then it’s time for some fresh peroxide.
Bones floating in peroxide are just more porous than ones that sink. You can weight them down if you want but they will usually sink on their own once they become saturated.
Hope that helps explain what’s going on! Happy cleaning!
Anonymous asked: Do you know of any good animal anatomy reference books or anything? I see so many doing articulations and all that good stuff or even just picking bones from pellets. It would be nice to know and recognize what bones are whAt :3
I always highly recommend that anyone interested in skeletons and articulations pick up at least one of Lee Post’s Bone Building Manuals. I have the small mammals, canine, and moose books and they are really stellar reference guides. I’m hoping to get some of the others soon!
As far as skull IDing goes, Animal Skulls by Mark Elbroch is the skull reference Bible as far as I’m concerned. For North American species at least. It’s an excellent book that’s full of hundreds of photos and illustrations.
And personally, I’ve adored Cyclopedia Anatomicae by Gyorgy Fehér and András Szunyoghy for years, so much so that I have two copies! It’s an artist’s reference book and covers human anatomy as well but it also has scads of illustrations of dog, cat, lion, horse, deer, pig, cow, and other animal bones and skeletons. Good way to learn what a lot of different bones look like.
There are some others out there (and hopefully one of these days I’ll get my own little mini guide finished!) but as far as learning what bones are what just familiarize yourself with basic anatomy (skull, mandible, scapula, cervical, thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, humerus, femur and so on) and then start to learn what animals are native to your area. Then do a lot of internet research! Search for photos of your native animals and what their bones look like and start studying!
So when you find a medium-sized jawbone with twelve sharp little teeth in it and you know that you have opossums in your area then you can bet that you’ve just found an opossum jawbone. Or if you find a large, triangular-shaped scapula and you know deer are native to your region then you have likely just found a deer scapula!
Hope that helps, Anon!
Anonymous asked: hi, im a 13-yr-old who wants to do bone collecting, but my mom is a huge animal rights person. i mean, so am i, but you can't really do anything if the animal is already dead. i have no issues with handling dead things. any advice for convincing my parents??
Hi Anon! Thanks for the message and kudos to you for your interest in bone collecting!
I think you’ll find that the majority of bone collectors (as well as collectors of pelts, taxidermy, and the like) are supporters of animal rights and conservation. Most of us advocate for responsible pet ownership, donate time and money to conservation and rescue groups around the world, support responsible and respectful hunting practices, and so on. We care about the wild world and admire all aspects of it. You can love and appreciate animals by watching them play and graze in a meadow but I think you can also love and appreciate them by studying and preserving their remains.
I’ve loved animals all of my life. Most of my pets have been rescues and I’ve found homes for scads of others that I’ve encountered over the years. I help turtles and snakes cross roads. If I find a lost bug in the house I’ll carry it outside. I’ve had sick animals cross my path that I was able to save while other more unfortunate ones I was at least able to give a peaceful death. I much prefer live animals to dead ones but I do have a great respect and appreciation for both.
Personally I love getting to take something that would so often be pulverized on a roadside, turn to dust out in a field, or thrown in the garbage, clean it up, and either add it to my own collection*, make art out of it, or pass it on to someone else that will do the same. It’s very rewarding and I see it as a way of paying respect to the animal by keeping it from going to waste.
I think one of the most helpful ways to introduce others to this idea is to use museums as references. Pretty much everyone has been to some sort of museum before. Museums around the world have millions of specimens on display that millions of people study and admire every year. Taxidermy mounts, cleaned skulls and articulated skeletons, parts and whole creatures preserved in jars. But how do those specimens get there? Does someone just wave a wand and make them appear? Or do people spend thousands of hours working to collect, clean, and create those amazing displays for others to study and enjoy?
Even if you have no plans of working for a museum someday, a personal collection is a similar principle. Even if it is only for your own enjoyment and no one else will ever see it it’s still something that you will appreciate. Some people build model cars and planes or collect comic books. Some people articulate skeletons or collect skulls. And I know people that collect far stranger things than animal bones but so long as you aren’t breaking any laws or hurting yourself or anyone else then I say go for it.
I don’t know that there is any magic combination of words to use to make your folks understand, Anon but maybe by showing them this and introducing them to other collectors’ blogs and the like then maybe they will get a better sense of how you can collect bones as well as be an animal rights person.
I’d like to invite my followers to add their two cents here as well! Make this a Why I Love Animals AND Collect Bones testimonial post.
Best of luck, Anon! I hope you get to start building a wonderful collection very soon!
*Which I have the great joy and privilege of sharing with thousands of people around the world via this blog! I use my skulls as artistic inspiration and reference and many other people do as well. Plus it’s educational! Shows people a side to an animal that they would likely never see otherwise. We get to study how that animal lived and died and I think that’s very important not to mention fascinating!
fischotterchen asked: Would you happen to know whether bones require any priming before painting them with acrylics, or can you just paint right on them once they're clean?
I honestly have little to no experience in painting bones so I’m going to have to invoke the wonderful shadyufo to answer this question!
I paint straight onto the bone. I primed a few when I first started out but it didn’t make much of a difference so I just cut that step out. Just make sure they are nice and clean and you’ll be good to go! And seal them when you are done to keep the paint from getting scraped off or damaged. I like this varnish made by Liquitex but there are some aerosol can varnishes that work well too. So long as they are meant for acrylic paint they’ll be fine.
Good luck and happy painting! :)
Anonymous asked: What's the difference between dermestids vs ham beetles and carrion beetles? I thought they all did the same thing
They all do eat the same sorts of things for the most part but dermestids are by far the better choice for captivity and skull cleaning. They breed very fast and aren’t too picky about eating fresh meat vs. dried out jerkified hide. Plus they are pretty fast but dainty eaters and won’t damage (or eat!) the delicate bones of tiny skulls and skeletons, provided you watch them and don’t leave the specimen in with them for too long. If you plan to do ligament articulations they are the only way to go.
Carrion beetles generally prefer fresh or sloppy wet rotten meat and they breed much more slowly than dermestids. Ham beetles don’t produce as quickly either and are much slower eaters, plus they’ll kill off other carrion eaters like dermestids with great gusto. I’ve lost two colonies to them in the past, the little twerps.
A lot of folks will use maggots or mealworms to clean skulls too with pretty decent results but they can cause damage to or destroy more delicate specimens and the sinus bones even in larger skulls. Plus with maggots you’ve got to kill them before they turn into adults otherwise you will be covered up in flies.
I got tagged by veebat and wierdtales who are both very rad! Thank you both! Here’s some random facts about me.
1. I love most monster and ufo documentary shows.
2. I’m really enjoying working in my giant garden this year. Playing in the dirt is always fun.
3. I apparently have a lot of dopplegangers. I’m always getting folks telling me that I look just like someone they know.
4. I have two horses, two cats, five chickens, and a dog.
5. I used to work for a cool lady that did gorgeous handmade wedding/event invitations.
6. I’ve also been a face painter.
7. I currently have around 210 animal skulls in my collection. Not counting the ones I’ve painted.
8. My favorites are the horses, Jacob’s rams, rottweiler and bulldog, and capybara.
9. Daffodils are my favorite flowers.
10. I’m about to eat some pie and I’m really stoked about that.
I gave the Nuggets some strawberries today for the first time and they went nuts. They were afraid of them for about ten seconds and then they tore into them. Now their pen looks like a bloody crime scene and with their feet and beaks stained red there’s no doubt as to the identity of the culprits, haha!
My post office peeps are the best post office peeps because they give me cupcakes when I go there to ship off ya’ll’s packages. :)
Sorry for the lack of posts lately! Been busy working on commissions, building a giant aviary for my chickens, hitting up some huge flea markets (where I found some cool goodies that’ll be in my Etsy shop soon!), and visiting with some great folks and nerding out over skulls at an awesome local Irish pub. Hope you all had a great holiday weekend too!
Last night I had a bunch of very strange fragmented dreams.
At one point I was walking up a road toward some building. It was more a paved pathway than an actual road, but there, on the side, was a roadkill deer. I noticed that it was a buck, but the impact from the car caused his antlers to fly…
That’s awesome! We are responsible collectors even in dreamland, littlestwarrior. ;D Thanks for letting me work on the dream bear cub!
I’ve had a bunch of dreams where I find amazing skulls and bones. It’s always disappointing to realize it wasn’t real when you wake up from those, haha! In one of the more memorable ones I was leaning over the balcony of this giant tree house book store only to realize that the structure was built on top of a mountain made of skulls with the tree growing out of the top of them. There were lots of recognizable ones like cows and horses and giraffes but then there were enormous dragon and dinosaur-like skulls too that I was climbing around in the teeth and eye sockets of. Super cool.