7 - Raccoon

Abigail Black 11/15/2023
November 16, 2022. My brother yelled into the house for me to come outside. He led me to the base of a tree in the backyard, where a dead raccoon rested in the weeds. I was enthused! However, since it did not die by any obvious means, I was not allowed to keep it in my decomposition box, because of disease and such. So, I chucked it into the forest beyond our property. From the grayness of the fur, I'm pretty sure it was old age that did this one in.

November 26. I was surprised not to see bloating, although it did get wan and drawn.

November 30. Something got curious and dragged it several feet across the ground but no signs of nibbling. Flies had laid eggs in the raccoon's mouth. The fur was starting to fall off.

December 3. The larvae worked from the mouth down, it looked like. The skin quickly retreated from around the mouth and eye sockets.

December 5. As the skin dried it, it pulled the mandible with it. It made an interesting time lapse. The gums were gone at this point. The skin also started cracking and developing holes.

December 8. I came back to check on it and found it dragged several more feet. The fur was sloughing off in earnest at this point and the torso looked very hollow beneath the skin, which refused to slump.

December 10 Something ate one hind leg. Yuck.

December 12. Fearing that the raccoon would soon disappear to carrion eaters, I grabbed a knife and donned some gloves and removed the skull and mandible. It was an easy job, because while the skin was tough it was also thin, and my knife was very sharp. I put the skull into the decomposition box next to a few other projects because the brains wasn't all gone yet. The next day, I went to check on the body and it was completely gone. Just in time!

March 10, 2023. I pulled out the raccoon skull and gave it an aluminum tin, which I filled with hydrogen peroxide. It only took a few days to whiten just in the bath. There was no scrubbing with a toothbrush needed. I put the skull in the sun for a week or two.

March 25. I glued a few loose teeth back into place and done! Isn't it handsome?

Here's the raccoon with the old raccoon skull that started me on this hobby. My brother found it buried in the backyard several years ago.