Maceration is just one technique used for stripping meat from bone by bone and skull collectors. It is easily done by placing a skull in a bucket with enough water to cover and let it sit for several days. Variables to this method of cleaning skulls are -
     Length of Time - the amount of time you leave it soaking.
     Size of Skull - the bigger the skull, the more to remove, the longer it takes.
     Temperature - outside temperature in which your operation is taking place.
           Freezing weather does not help the process.
     Smell Factor - a consideration for your neighbors.

The length of time you leave a skull in the water is dependent on the size of the skull and how hot the climate is - warmer weather tends to speed up the process a bit. Now if you are good at putting together pieces and love puzzles then time is not a problem. Your smaller skulls can turn into puzzles when all the flesh has soften and the water begins to loosen the paper-thin seams where the cranial bones are joined. Although this makes it easy to remove the brain rather than trying to pick it out through that tiny hole the need to reassemble itty-bitty pieces of bone is not something most skull enthusiasts look forward too.

To solve the time problem because there are so many variables, make sure you check on your skulls daily.

A helpful hint for ease of checking is to use bags. Use a mesh bag (pillow cases work too) with larger skulls placing them in the bag then into the container of water. For smaller skulls instead of a bucket use a gallon size resealable plastic bag in a bucket. Use enough water to thoroughly cover the skull. Remove almost all of the excess air leaving lots of extra space for the bag to expand. Remember that as the maceration is in full swing gases (nasty smelly gases) are let off and can explode a sealed bag. Check that bag daily and release excess gases from it to prevent any mishaps.

Once the flesh of your project falls away from the bone (with a small amount of swishing in the water) remove the skull from the water and rinse it well. Some species, such as deer, in some areas might carry unwanted bacteria/diseases you might want to do the safe thing and soak each finished skull in a bucket of bleach water (ratio 1 to 10 parts respectively) for a short period of time (an hour or so), then rinse them thoroughly. Don't forget to check for lost teeth at the bottom of the bucket (or bag) before dumping the original water or any other container you used to soak your skull. This is where the gloves come in very handy. Skulls look so much more professional with most or all of their teeth.

Here is a list of items that might be useful and handy to have before starting:
       Skull(s) - roadkill is a good source for these.
       Buckets - various sizes depending on the size of item to be macerated.
       Elbow-length rubber gloves - for the big jobs.
       Surgical gloves - for the small jobs.
       Apron - personal choice but handy for splashes.
       Tweezers - to get the little bits off that are left.
       Vicks Vapor Rub - helps to put a dab on your upperlip to cover some of the smell.

Maceration is a couch potato's way of cleaning skulls and bones - the water does most of the work for you.

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