Adventures in taxidermy continue: Larder Beetles

If you’ve been following me in any way over the last few months, you’ll know that I’ve been playing about with taxidermy and in particular, setting animal bones in resin.

It’s really interesting work, but ye gods, is it grim.  I’ve boiled, skinned, dissolved (using caustic soda among other things), over-dissolved (it’s *amazing* what sink and drain cleaner will eat through…), mummified and I’ve still not found a way of getting flesh off bone that totally preserves the skeleton with minimal ick.

I own a flat, but only have access to a communal garden which is filled with children and drunk students so a death box (where you can leave a carcass to rot as nature intended) is out.  Skinning mice is icky, smelly and really difficult because they’re so tiny, and have you ever smelled boiled mouse?  I *do not* recommend it.

So, I really did dance for joy when a lovely friend suggested I buy some larder beetles, which are used in taxidermy to clean animal skeletons.  Could I have found my non-ick solution?

We’ll just have to wait and see because I’ve ordered some!

Will keep you posted…

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4 Comments

Filed under Inspiration, Random Ramblings

4 responses to “Adventures in taxidermy continue: Larder Beetles

  1. Is there any way to find an Australian bird or any kinds of exotic small bird taxidermic specimen (morally)? I want to use this as a piece of art.

  2. I have a small larder beetle colony that I started from wild-caught (well, around my cat’s food dish caught) beetles. They are considered a “pest” beetle in homes, and being a natural part of the scavenging food chain are often found where greasy or dried foods are kept (pet food areas, cooking areas, pantries, etc.) You may even have larder beetles skulking around your place – you can try to bait some by setting out some dry dog or cat food on the floor for a few days. I started the larder beetle colony as an experiment, as I’ve only ever heard of their close relatives, the hide beetle, being used in museums for skeleton cleaning.

    These larder beetles are efficient! About 10 days ago I gave them a small bird that had been given to our museum’s osteology collection (feathers, guts, and all) and it is nearly cleaned now. There is a little bit of an odor associated with a colony, but it’s much less than that of boiling or chemical methods. The bones come out a pale yellowish-tan colour.

    Good luck with your colony!

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