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My friend Eddie the pagan goldsmith has inadvertently discovered an unusual way to acquire a clean mink skeleton. Here’s what you do.

  1. Set some crayfish traps in a lake.

  2. A mink will break into one of the traps to get at the crayfish, get stuck and drown.
  3. When retrieving your traps with their catch, fail to find the one the mink has thrashed around in.
  4. Since you have lost the trap, crayfish and other scavengers will have ample time to clean the mink’s bones.
  5. The following year, set the traps again along the same lake shore. When you retrieve them, find the trap you lost last year.
  6. The mink’s skeleton will be clean but still partly articulated by sinews.

Comments

  1. #1 Anon
    September 30, 2009

    Works for a toddler’s skeleton, too!

    … wait… have I said too much?

  2. #2 Bob O'H
    October 1, 2009

    I’ve got a friend who found a new species of rodent which she caught in her pitfall traps she’d left out to catch insects.

    She also has a parasitic fly named after her.

  3. #3 Leif
    October 1, 2009

    I guess the method smell less than some other methods. I usually put the dead animal close to an ants nest. If the animal is fairly small i use a netbasket and if it is a skull with antlers or so I tie it to a tree.

    At the moment I have a roedeer skull (great antlers on that one) and two ram skulls hanging in trees for the birds to pick (and maggots to feast upon).

  4. #4 Martin R
    October 1, 2009

    Even a tiny carrion smells incredibly strongly. On a dig I was on the osteologists found a dead juvenile hedgehog, put it in a punctured plastic cookie box and hung it on a tree some ways from the excavation. The animal was the size of a fist, but it stunk up the entire area.

    Still, the punctured cookie box method is pretty good. Everything stays in place and the insects find their way in.

  5. #5 IanW
    October 1, 2009

    You’ve given us the bones of an idea. When are you going to flesh it out?

  6. #6 Tom
    October 2, 2009

    I’ve used big anthills for cleaning. The biggest object cleaned this way was probably an elk’s skull that we left there for a year. A disadvantage here is that the ants carry away anything that’s not hard bone, keratin or enamel. If you left that mink for the ants to clean, they’d probably chew away the cartilage and sinew and use the ribs for scaffoldings.

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