After such a positive response when I shared the last skull I cleaned I thought I'd make it a regular feature here on the blog. I don't clean skulls super regularly, and especially now that I live in the city I doubt I'll be doing much until summer really comes and I'm at my parents a bit more so this will be a few and far between feature. It is a fun way to profile the things I've cleaned and an excuse to share photos!

So, my latest skull which has been clean for over a month is a coyote. The coyote's head was given to me by a neighbor at my previous residence. His friend had given him the coyote so he could tan the hide and the neighbor knew I cleaned skulls so he gave it to me.

It stayed in my freezer quite a while before I finally set to work on it. It's the second biggest skull that I've cleaned from start to finish (as in I had to fully skin it) Due to the fact it was still a bit frozen when I started working on it (and maybe also because I wasn't paying 100% attention), this is the first time cleaning a skull I've ever injured myself. Scalpel blade, meet finger. I had a pretty gnarly cut which I could have dealt with but my mom, the worry wart, kind of freaked me out. I had a moment where I was like "Yep, definitely gonna pass out!" I lost a lot of blood but it definitely could have been worse. It healed quickly and now I'm left with a nice little scar that still hurts from time to time if I hit it weird. Here's a picture of the cut after a few days. Fair warning, it's kind of gross hence why it's not just included in the post.

Anyway, it was a fairly quick clean and I'm very happy with the finished product. It's a beautiful skull, with all the teeth intact.
One of my favorite things about this skull is this pellet lodged in the mandible. I suppose I should clarify that I don't think it's cool that this guy got shot but I do think it's really amazing that the wound healed. The bone had already started to grow around the pellet and the skin was, obviously, completely healed.
Finally, a few comparison photos. Directly below is the coyote next to Z dog, the Great Dane. 
xoxo


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31 Comments

  1. Wow- that is so impressive! Thanks for sharing!

    Greetings from Germany and something sweet:

    http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/2014/03/something-sweet-sunrise-cake.html

    Love,

    Bambi

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  2. This is awesome! I'm tanning a deer hide for the first time now. I tried to clean bones once but it did seem to work and just got really icky. How do you do it?

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  3. Oh wow! That's so neat. Bones kind of gross me out but, I stumble across skulls every once in a while outing the fields on my farm. I'll have to be on the look out so I can send one to you instead of just letting it sit outside.

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  4. After my eight year old saw your blog last night and all your curiosities, he and I looked up info on the 2 headed duckling. Which lead us to a six inch alligator head for sale on Etsy. He is doing chores around the house to earn this earn a few more bucks so we can make the purchase. Thank you for sparking his interest. #heartswell

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  5. It's interesting that the Great Dane skull looks basically the same as coyote but bigger. You may have said this before but did you know the Great Dane while it was alive? I bet it would be hard skinning an animal you loved. But maybe you don't think so. Bummer also about that coyote getting shot but cool it healed and also probably a neat surprise for you when you saw it. Ha.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, she was the family dog. I definitely didn't skin her though! We buried her and dug her up a year later. She was almost entirely clean and just needed a peroxide bath.

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  6. Such a cool hobby.
    Love the look of this skull. c:
    Interesting shot wound in it too.

    <3
    Harlynn
    mindyourmadness.blogspot.com

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  7. Wow, you are so strong to be able to remove the flesh and the skin of your skull yourself! I always get mines either completely decomposed or partially. The only one I had to wash was my moose head and it took 3 hours. I only have 4 complete skulls and lots of bones. I don't bleach them though; I'm too scared I am going to break them, because they are very fragile. Two of them were found in the forest; already dead (very young moose head and little bird skull) and two of them were killed on a farm (sheep skulls).

    You have quite an amazing collection! the great Dane and the coyote looks so much alike!

    xxx
    http://enil-orac.blogspot.ca/

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  8. I would love to take up skull cleaning as a hobby. Unfortunately I'm not sure where to even start on finding animals, another reason why I wish I lived somewhere rural! But maybe I'll just have to go on more nature hikes and keep my eyes peeled :) I love your skull collection, actually I love lots of your collections. I am still searching for items that I'd like to collect, and I definitely think skulls are it.
    Forever in love with your blog lady!
    Caitlin.

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  9. Thats very impressive! And that is pretty neat that the pellet is still there. Yes, not cool at all that he got shot, but neat to see.
    Jordyn
    Pretty Lovely

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  10. I think this is a really interesting feature. Though I do wonder, are your skulls ethically sourced?

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  11. Amazing! what do you use to clean these skulls? I have a deer jaw that's just sitting around waiting to be spruced up... it hasn't got any tissue or fat anything, just dirt from lying around in the forest. I'm just so scared of ruining it!

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    Replies
    1. A scalpel, peroxide and some elbow grease. ;)

      If it's just dirt, rinse it off. If you'd like to whiten it, try peroxide.

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  12. Thats awesome. Please someday post about what process you use. I have cleaned bones and have yet to perfect the process, but yours look great! Also, I hope to someday have the balls to clean the bones of a pet. I think it's very respectful and kind to admire a part of them so.

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  13. I have exactly the same hurty issue, with a scar on my thumb! I guess we cut some nerve endings :(

    Love your skull collection :) x

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  14. Awesome! The pellet, while really sad, is also a really neat feature. And so cool to see how yucky their teeth get!!! Great job chicka!! :D and I am sure that wound will hurt for a while...looked like it was a deep one! ouchie! :)

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  15. Beautiful! Bone posts are my favorite posts!

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  16. I really enjoyed your last post about cleaning skulls and it's a perfect excuse to share more photos. It's fascinating to look at the skull shapes and the teeth and see how different animals are similar and different all at the same time :)
    Can't wait to see some more :)

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  17. Wow it looks great! That is pretty neat how that pellet is still lodged in there. I love your skull collection! I didn't realize you had Z Dog's skull, that's sweet.

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  18. Wish I had the patience/resources to do this! They all look so perfect ��

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  19. ah, i covet your skull collection!! i LOVE skulls...they're so beautiful!

    i realize this may be a grotesque and insensitive question, but...do you think you'll hang on to the skulls of your kitties and dog? it's something i've been thinking about with my own dog, but when i try to talk to anyone about it, i am quickly shut down. XD

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    Replies
    1. I definitely want my animals skulls. But there's no way I could clean them myself.

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  20. Looks great! Very awesomely shaped skull. And that is one nasty gouge! Glad you're healed up.

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  21. I love that you are so open with your quirky interests. It's so refreshing!

    Speaking of which, I saw an installation recently that made me think of you and Mickey - here is a link, I think you'll like it

    http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/utilities/faux-lightbox-image-and-caption?imageID=INST020103

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  22. I love skulls! I have several of my own, and am always on the lookout, but I'm never lucky enough to find any bones when out in the woods. Not sure quite how I'd deal with having to skin it though!

    tinygreycat.blogspot.com

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  23. Hi! How do you clean your skulls? I recently found a dead raccoon and got the skull but it still has some of the flesh on it and I can't find any ant beds to put it on.

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  24. Hello coyote skull!! Nice post, I love skulls, but I don´t have any, I don´t live close to the forest.

    xo

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  25. I'm so glad you've decided this will be a feature.
    The pellet in this guy is an amazing addition! Like you say, it's a real shame he got shot but it certainly makes for an interesting skull.

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