Although I ended up spending more time in Arizona than I’d anticipated, it meant I had plenty of time to check up on those fox bones I had found and buried back in March. After exactly eight weeks of decomposing in the desert, I dug up everything to see how things were going so far.
Lining the hole with chicken wire turned out to be a good call, since all I had to do was find the edges and then carefully lift everything out!
From what I could tell, the fox bones seemed to be cleaning up nicely, if a little slower than I’d like. If I was able to macerate these and change the water regularly, I feel like they’d be much cleaner by now… and they probably wouldn’t be covered in fungus and that dark, slimy stuff, either. (Is it mold? Is it flesh? I don’t know, but whatever it is, it smells terrible, trust me.)
Still, all of the bones look to be in good shape, and – more importantly – it doesn’t seem like the dry climate is slowing down the process of decomposition too much. There’s almost no skin or soft tissue left on the bones with the exception of the connective tissues, and those always take longer to break down, anyway. After spending a few more months underground, I’m hoping they’ll be clean enough to rinse, bag, and mail home to join the rest of my collection sometime in the fall. I can’t wait to have these bones cleaned up and on display!