Cleaning a gator skull?

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PeaRiverOpossum
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Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by PeaRiverOpossum » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:06 pm

What's the best way to "flesh" a gator skull?

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Junker
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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by Junker » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:22 pm

Ant pile ??
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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by dougeey » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:22 pm

put it in hot water not boiling 180 to200 till meat and skin falls off :old_glory: :florida: :alabama:

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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by Batch » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:28 pm

Ants,

Pressure cookers soften bones as does boiling the bones.

Most people I talked to said boiling.

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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by whitetailjunky » Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:34 pm

if you have a fish cooker and can get a metal drum cut down to make a pot, put the head in the drum fill it up until the head is submerged, remove the head bring water to a boil and add 2 to 3 cups of borax and a few dropps of dawn dish detergent, put the head back in the pot and boil until its clean it should only take about 30 minutes, Im a Taxidermist and i clean skulls all the time, you can over boil a skull but by doing it this way it cleans it very fast. Another thing you need to do first is try and get as much meat off as posible before you boil it. When you put a skull in ants or burry it you will most of the time stain the skull and then you spend countless hours trying to whiten it, i have a simple way of doing that also. check out my picture gallery i have a Gator head on there.

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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by Rad Ripper » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:19 am

You didn't do any of GobblerD's taxidermy work by any chance? :lol:

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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by cehurt » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:45 am

Don't boil it the teeth will loosen. Get a rubber maid tub with a tight fitting lid and soak the skull in plain water. The meat and skin will rot off, you have to change water ever so often and it will smell like hell. But it works well, takes time maybe a couple months, this process is called mascerate :stirpot: . I do all my skulls this way. When they are clean soak in hydrogen peroxide to get a nice white finish.

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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by :) » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:41 am

I seen the ant bed thing work b4
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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by PeaRiverOpossum » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:14 am

Thanks guys! I think I will try the borax/dawn/water cook method. The plain water method might work too but sounds much less pleasant. I have a few to experiment with so I'll try different ways. I've tried ants in the past and didn't have much luck. My ants must be getting govt assistance bc they only eat what they want and leave a stinking mess. I also have crabs and other salt water critters at my disposal. I thought about throwing one in a crab trap and see how that works.

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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by mixedbag » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:26 am

They do sell flesh eating beetles which are suppose to remove everything including the brain. Considered them on one of my skull mounts. I ended up slow boiling them came out fine.
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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by heater17 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:40 am

I live on the coast and I put mine in a bait pen in salt water and tied it off the dock. After two weeks it was perfect, I don't know if you have access to salt water but it was clean and easy. The current drug the smell and nastiness away

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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by lanny haff » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:43 am

ant pile works good

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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by InSight » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:00 am

What is the best preservative? Spray polyurethane?

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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by AirRanger » Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:15 pm

The ant pile trick worked good for me until a neighborhood kid "found it" and took it home to finish the job. I have heard that the beetles do the best job.
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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by Christie » Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:33 pm

I'm with the "cook it" process others have mentioned and you don't want to boil it so much that all of the cartilage comes out from between the teeth and sutures on the skull or you'll just end up with a jigsaw puzzle. I just cook it long enough for the skin and meat to loosen up, then I go after it with the pressure washer. It will take the meat right off the skull and not let it stain so much. Pressure washer also works good for getting the meat out of the inside of the lower jaw and getting the stuff out of the nasal cavity. Lately, I've been pulling each tooth in order to get the root out of them. They are really bloody inside and stain the skull when you let it sit. Trick is to pull them and put them in an egg carton for the top and bottom set of teeth to keep them in order. After all of that, I let the skull set out for a few days and the crypt flies will be first on the scene and they'll lay eggs on it immediately and get all the hard to reach places. Not a lot of meat left on the skull so there's not a lot of stink and the flies will do the rest.

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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by PeaRiverOpossum » Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:52 am

Thanks for all the input. I guess I will try one at a time and see what works.

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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by Riverrunner32333 » Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:10 am

I like the bait pin idea, just toss it off the dock at your work and letem' eat. I've done the boil/borax/dawn, then Pressure wash trick to few deer skulls and it was very time consuming.

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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by Stuffer Steve » Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:12 pm

If you boil you can also use Sal Soda instead of dish detergents, borax. Boiling gets out the layers of grease that are imbedded in the bone and preps for a permanent seal. Any satin clear will work after head has dried out a couple of days to finish the job.... A pot large enough to cover half of the head will work but you will have to turn head over as you boil to get the complete head boiled down. Add a half pot of water, 1 cup of sal soda, 2.5 hrs of boil at temp that prevents over boil out of pot should be enough if you cut as much of the heavy meat, inside upper mouth palate and tongue out of head. Keep adding in water and Sal soda as needed as some will boli out and evaporate during the boil. I use a pressure washer to assist in removing meat but be careful as teeth, etc.. can be blown out. Put a piece of metal screen under your head in cooker to catch teeth, necessary bone pieces that you will need to super glue back in place if you want a complete professional job. I would recommend looking up WASCO supply, buy small qty. of sal soda and a spray can of polytranspar fungicidal sealer. This also works for deer & hog skulls. You will end up with a nice piece
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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by PeaRiverOpossum » Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:49 pm

I just wanted to update the thread with the results. We ended up "cooking" the skulls in almost boiling water for a while (2-3 hours) with 2-3 cups of Borax and a squirt of Dawn. We reused the water for the second one without adding any Borax but added some purple power to kill the floating grease and it just seemed like a good idea after a few beers. They came out very nice. One of them is yellower than the other but I'm not sure whether it was the first or the second. After we cooked them we used the pressure washer (at a little above idle) with a wide tip to remove the meat. It was a NASTY job but I think they turned out pretty damn good. FYI we left them in the basket when we pressure washed them to keep meat scraps from flying all over the yard and that worked good also. Here they are used as props yesterday:

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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by Christie » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:01 pm

Turned out really good. The one on the left has a round hole in his top jaw that looks like an old bite wound. I had an 11 1/2 footer that had a .22 slug wedged into the corner of his eye socket. Did ya pull the teeth and glue them back in? They can really look like a darned T-Rex if you cheat the teeth out a bit when you're glueing them in.

Suppose you could always overspray the slightly stained one with a flat white paint. Otherwise you'd probably have to peroxide the heck out of it again to whiten it more.

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Re: Cleaning a gator skull?

Post by PeaRiverOpossum » Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:47 pm

The hole is an old bite. It actually still has the other gators tooth still in there. There are also holes in the roof of the mouth.

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