opossum skeleton

4

Monster is cleaned up and part of the collection now.

I took some photos of him with Mama, the female opossum I picked up a few years ago. She’s the only other opossum skull currently in my collection. The size difference is staggering!

Monster is missing a few pieces and teeth, but I have a few others in the box with the rest of his bones that I need to dig through. He was found dead, mostly skeletonized, on my property a few weeks ago.

Monster makes the fourth opossum skeleton I’ve found on my small property. I believe he was hit by a car and wandered to a safer place where he passed.

I’m extremely happy to have such a huge opossum as part of my collection, but boy do I wish I could have seen him alive. I bet that was a sight!

5

My father ran into a large momma opossum stumbling around in the area very nearly dead. A few hours later when she finally passed, he went and picked her up and discovered she was not alone. 9 little babies, only three were even alive and were too young to save. They hadn’t even opened their eyes yet. All of them had clearly starved including the mother, her own death caused by a very large abscess in her mouth. 
This all happened while I was gone. He froze the babies and tested some preserving techniques which obviously went very well!! The babies that are too far gone will be shaved down to bone and dried as a skeleton. The others have their insides removed and are put in denatured alcohol to dehydrate them until we dry them out. Probably with Borax and salt. Since they are so small it is pretty easy to do. The skeleton is a bit more work as the ribs are totally rubber and you have to pin and shape everything to dry. 

Saving the mother didn’t go exactly as planned.. her fur was falling out in clumps so she was too mangy to save her whole body. So we’re using her as practice and saving the bones.

7

It’s been a beautiful day around here so I hiked down to my creek this afternoon. After picking up a bunch of fossils and enough beaver-chewed sticks to build my own dam I spotted this possum skull sticking up out of a gravel bar. When I first saw it I figured it would just be part of the skull since opossum skulls are so fragile and usually fall to pieces but that wasn’t the case with this little beauty! I pulled it out and not only was the skull intact but the lower jaws and most of the teeth were still with it!

I decided since it was so intact that there might still be some more bones below it so I started digging and sure enough, pulled up almost the entire skeleton out of the sand and gravel!

Super cool find! I guess my new skull bag is lucky for finding bones, haha.

2

My poor Opossum skeleton has some major issues! I’ve never ran into anything like this, in all my time collecting and cleaning bones. The bone seems to have deteriorated, although the bones were relatively fresh, and still had some meat on them when I found them. The poor critter must have had some type of disease. The spinal bones are the only ones that are effected, all the other bones are fine, and strong. I have no idea what kind of problem this is, but I would love to know! And, if it’s safe to keep! 

What a surprise I woke up to today! My dad was at his friend’s and brought home Voldy the opossum’s body for me! I’m going to challenge myself to make this my first puzzle and lay him out together as best as I can. I’m sure it’ll look like a disaster/deformed opossum but you gotta start somewhere C:

But before I get to have fun I have to clean this stinky skeleton. Threw him in some warm water with a bit of Dawn dish soap and we’ll see if that does anything for him. I may have to get out the crock-pot and really give him a hot bath, but I’m lazy so I’m trying this first~

Edited to say I’ve just decided to throw him in the crock-pot. Now I’ve got to buy my mom a new one for her.