Vulture culture is a newer hobby that gets its roots from traditional taxidermy. The main difference is that vulture culture enthusiasts belong to an online subculture of hobbyist taxidermists who collect and preserve the remains of animals that were already killed as opposed to being hunted as a trophy. Usually, these animals died of natural causes, were killed by predators, or were victims to the roads. Practitioners, referred to as “vultures” may choose to preserve the entire animal, or they may want to buy dermestid beetles for vulture culture European mounts.

When Dermestid Beetles Clean the Dead Animals, what do Vulture Culture Community Members do with the Pristine Remains?

In some cases, a dead deer found in a wooded area may be roped to a car and taken home, beheaded, and the “vulture” would place the head into their large container of dermestid beetles to clean every bit of flesh and hair so a European mount can be created. However, most “vultures” engage in more unique and authentic projects. For example, a “vulture” may either butcher the animal himself, or have it professionally quartered, so that individual pieces can be left in dermestid beetle containers. 

Once only the cleaned bones are left, the “vulture” could do several unique projects such as carve chess pieces out of deer bone, design knife or sword handles carved from bone, or create house number signs, jewelry, make furniture, or other random household objects. Many of these vulture culture online groups will sell or trade their work with other members, open a stall at a farmer’s market and sell their pieces there, or create online craft stores where they can sell their goods. In some cases, “vultures” will even carve custom hardware for kitchen cabinets. The opportunities are endless. 

Why do Vulture Culture Artists Select Dermestid Beetles for Cleaning Carcasses? 

A true “vulture” will want to use what nature has provided. That said, the natural order for cleaning an animal of its flesh is left to beetles as opposed to human’s boiling the bones. When bones are boiled a rancid smell spreads everywhere, but more importantly, the bones turn a yellow color, and the intricate little bones in the nasal cavities become compromised. On the other hand, dermestid beetles can clean a deer skull in a day or two, no bad smell will spread through your property, the bone maintains its natural color, and the tiny bones in the nasal cavity are in perfect condition, and fully cleaned. 

Vulture Culture Artists Select Dermestid Beetles

Vulture Culture Artists Utilize Small Skulls

In some cases, “vultures” will find dead snakes or partially eaten woodland creatures, and save their skulls to make belt buckles, rustic napkin rings, hood ornaments, decorative clocks, and most other objects you can drum up in your imagination. Smaller skulls can suffer defects in the boiling process, so buying dermestid beetles for small animals and tiny skulls is ideal. 

Is Vulture Culture a Legitimate Hobby?

Started in 2010, Vulture Culture is in fact an artistic, green-friendly hobby that is growing in popularity all over the country. From Alaska to Florida, there are vulture culture communities in virtually every state dedicated to collecting dead animals in the woods or by the roadside, and turning their bones into works of art, and in some faces art that is functional. As more and more states are starting to legalize the collection of dead animals, vulture culture communities are growing, and with that growth comes a greater need for dermestid beetles–the only natural way to fully clean an animal of its fur and flesh, leaving only a sanitary skeleton behind. 

Gather Your Vulture Culture Group and Order Your First Dermestid Beetle Colony Today

Our experts at Kodiak Bugs and Bones are standing by to take your call, and help you determine what size colony you need, and what type of enclosure they should be kept in. When you call us, we treat you like a true partner and ensure you set everything up like a pro, from start to finish through our online and phone support. Call today and discover an easier and cleaner way to preserve your bones for all your best artistic projects.