28 June 2017

Natural Mummification for Small Specimens

About a year ago Megan found an evening bat in the museum we work at. The little creature appeared to have died of natural causes and she made the right decision in putting the bat aside for me to get later. The moment she told me about it I started researching a natural way to mummify specimens. Finally, after some hardcore searching, I came across this amazing site called Wolftea.

To my surprise, it was pretty easy. All it entailed was borax, pickling salt and some knowledge (and maybe a strong stomach). Being the documenter that I am, I wanted to share the information here, for my records. And who knows, maybe it will help some of you out there who are wanting to do the same thing! Please keep in mind that this works with smaller specimens and the actual mummification time could take longer for larger ones.

HOW TO DRY SMALL SPECIMENS WITH SALT & BORAX

ITEMS NEEDED:
  • Borax Detergent Booster
  • Morton Pickling Salt
  • Tupperware container
  • Rosemary sprigs
DIRECTIONS:
Make a mixture of borax and salt, using a ration of one to one. Add aromatic herbs if wanted.

Take salt/borax mixture and pour a layer to the bottom of the container, about half an inch. Place the specimen inside.

Pour in the rest of the salt/borax mixture until they are completely submerged.

It is extremely important that the container you use is able to breath - don't put an air tight lid on it. I placed some loose clingwrap over the top.

Leave to dry in a well ventilated space for a few weeks. For wings and smaller items, it takes 3-4 weeks. Small bird heads take up to 5 weeks.

Exchange the mixture around the 2nd week to keep it fresh – however, it isn’t fully necessary.

If you’re salting anything for longer than 3 weeks, you'll need to exchange the salt/borax mixture. This is so NO odor sets in. For humid areas: it could take a little longer.

Once the specimens are dry (they will be firm, with no moisture) you can brush off any salt/borax with an old toothbrush.

If you notice ANY odor, allow it to air dry in a well ventilated space for a few days.

Then soak it in a dry bath of aromatic herbs (cedar, clove, flower petals, mint… etc). You can also use smoke to help with odor, all you do is allow any smoke or fumes to further dry/absorb into your specimen by burning cedar, incense or other good smelling things nearby.

Tips: Rub borax or salt solution under as much of the skin as you can.
The goal is to wait until ALL the moisture is gone and item is no longer flexible. The longer it’s cured, the better. For odors, mix in rosemary sprigs.

Luna, My Little Evening Bat

As you can see, this natural mummification process did an excellent job at preserving her. The fur is still soft and pretty and if you look close enough in the first photo you can see her little fangs. This is something that I am very proud of and thoroughly impressed with how it turned out. Especially for my first time.


If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to leave me a message below. I will do my best to give you an answer.


Original source: Wolftea

2 comments:

  1. Well, this is information I will never use, but I did find it interesting.

    ReplyDelete