Most of bones I collect are mostly clean already, because all the flesh has been eaten off them already by animals and bugs. But they all need cleaning up a little bit, and this is how I do it. This is how I cleaned up the skeleton of the red deer that I found here.
After I brought back the bones, I put them in a bucket to store them. This is about half of them. All together, the bones filled this bucket. There were 157 bone parts in all.
Getting the dirt off
All the bones had dirt, bugs and pine needles on them. I took out the small and delicate bones, and washed the rest with a hosepipe and a brush to get the worst off.
One of the most important steps is to leave them in peroxide, which is an
Rinsing the bones
We left these ones in the peroxide for about a week. When we took them out, we rinsed them in fresh water to get the peroxide off. If you don't rinse them, you get a white powder on the outside.
Drying the bones
After we rinsed them, Dad and I went through each bone, dried them, and got any last bits of dirt off with a toothbrush. Then we left the bones to dry inside on old newspaper. You need to leave them for at least two days inside. If you don't dry , you can get white fuzzy bits growing on them.
Gluing the bones
After the bones dried I started to put some of the bits back together with glue. Here is a front and a back metatarsal. Because it was a young deer, the ends of the bones weren't properly fused, and had to be glued back together. I held the bits together with elastic bands while we did that,
In young deer, the bottom of the braincase isn't fused on. Here you see the skull with the bottom bit to the left in the middle. I glued that back on carefully.
Here are some more of the bones we glued back together. You can see the toes(the front and back bits come apart in young deer), the hips (which we found in four pieces - all young deer hips seem to do this), the jaws (they always come apart into two bits, however old), the leg bones and one of the next bones which was fractured.
Storing the bones
After we did all that, we put the bones in a special box, so they wouldn't get lost or mixed up with other bones. We called this deer Alice. we haven't given any other deer names, but it was getting confusing without names. We also put on the box where and when we found them.
Now that we've done some of the glueing, I think we have 139 different bits of bones, but there are still some bits to be glued together. And I think I know how this deer died, but I'll write more about that later.
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