Vulture culture

Vulture culture.

In 2020 death was everywhere, and in 2021 it seems no different, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t find beauty in the death around us. That’s where vulture culture comes in. 

Vulture culture is a hobby usually pursued by goth individuals but is open to all who enjoy nature and the macabre. 

The most popular form of the hobby is going hiking and seeking out the skulls of naturally deceased animals. Like vultures, those who partake in this hobby never kill or hunt; they just pick up the remains for their own needs. Sometimes the bones have been picked clean by predators, but most of the time some flesh is left making the hobby a bit messy. 

The following is a helpful guide to beginning in vulture culture and as a bonus a small science experiment you can do with the bones. 

So you have decided to go bone hunting? Awesome, but before you even leave your house you need the following tools. Ziploc/sealable sandwich baggies, heavy gloves (preferably rubber), good hiking boots, a mask, a bucket and a healthy amount of respect for the woods. 

You have probably heard the line “take only pictures, leave only footprints.” With vulture culture that statement still needs to be heeded for the most part. Only take bones, rocks or shells. Leave plants alone, and make sure to pick up any and all trash. 

Once you get the bones home, clean them. The last thing you want is 400 new roommates when a spider sac pops open in an unwashed skull. 

So the first thing you want to do is get some water and boil it then, and then put your bones in. Boil for about an hour for smaller bones and two-three hours for larger bones like deer skulls. Don’t over boil though or else they will fall apart. 

Next, do a chemical wash. Put the bones in hot, not quite boiling water and bleach. Wearing gloves scrub at the bones and make sure you get every inch. Also, do this outside or in a garage cause, this will reek. 

Finally, wash with soap and cold water to remove any bleach residue. Do this every time you get bones and you will never have to worry about bugs or decay.

Now for the science project. Once you have cleaned your bones and you decide you want to add some extra flair, this project is a great one to try. For this project, you need a large pot, boiling water, borax laundry detergent and food coloring. You see borax when added to boiled water clings to certain fibers such as bone, and the leftover result is crystalized bones.  

To properly crystalize your bones, follow these steps.

  1. Sanitize as aforementioned.
  2. Grab your pot and start boiling the water.
  3. Once it’s at a rolling boil, add the food dye. 
  4. Stir in the borax till it stops dissolving.
  5. Add the bones.
  6. Check every hour to monitor results and leave it till the solution is completely cool.
  7. Pull out your bones and dry them off. 
  8. Enjoy your new crystalized bones.

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