For the last 34 years, we have specialized in the preparation of museum- and display-quality skulls and skeletons for hunters, schools, zoos, museums, and collectors. To accomplish this, we use dermestid beetles or "bugs". We just finished a couple of domestic cats (one stalking and one sitting), and last year finished a swimming Magellanic penguin from Uruguay, a five foot long Gaboon viper from central Africa, a loggerhead sea turtle from the Washington coast, a wolverine from Alaska, and an Asian elephant skull and arthritic hind limb.
We are currently preparing the skeletons of a gray whale, an African lioness, cougar, moles, ermine, mink, raccoon, and many others along with dozens of skulls of deer, elk, antelope, black bear, bison, wolf, wolverine, fox, lynx and bobcat. In the more than 30 years that we have been doing this work, we have prepared thousands of specimens of hundreds of species from rattlesnakes and raccoons, gerbils and giraffe, bats and bison, frogs and fish, turtles and turkeys, and everything in between (photo album). Check out our table at a recent show!
Ever stop to look at a road kill or find a dead animal while hunting or hiking? The beetles and larvae that you saw may have been dermestids. The black adult beetle is about 6-7 mm long and the brown, hairy caterpillar-like larval stages range from about two to 11-12 mm long. These larvae are voracious meat eaters and consume all the flesh, soft tissue, and connective tissue and leave the bone stripped clean. The bugs in our facility often strip a bear or cougar skull overnight!
Many folks have buried a skull in an anthill or the garden for a year or more, or boiled and used laundry bleach to clean a skull. These methods damage, separate, etch, and discolor the bone, and severely impact the visual appearance of the final product. And dogs and coyotes usually drag off the skull from the anthill or out of the tree. We, on the other hand, produce the finest specimens available using the most widely accepted and best practices employed by museums and universities around the world. This is our specialty, having had colonies of bugs and having been preparing osteological specimens for over 30 years. This ensures you of the finest product on the market today! Here is an unsolicited testimonial about a wolverine skull we prepared for a customer:
"This skull is perfect in so many ways that I cannot begin to list them all. I have never owned a specimen of this quality even though I have other beetle cleaned skulls. You are a pro in your field. I now classify this one as my very best. I am very pleased." Jay M., New York
We have done specimens for Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Mule Deer Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Safari Club, the University of Pennsylvania Museum, Michigan State University Museum, the MSU School of Veterinary Medicine, the Oregon State University School of Veterinary Medicine, the western band "Riders in the Sky", private collectors (as far away as Belgium), biologists with the Oregon and Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife, the Pt. Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, the Seattle Aquarium, and taxidermists and hunters all over the United States. No job or specimen is too big or too small. We want to do a European mount for you!
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