The Sheep Skull Saga

Last week on my Sunday afternoon walk through the fields with Toby, I came across a sheep skeleton. The poor animal must have perished in the recent bad weather. As I walked towards it a fox ran away, on closer inspection the bones had been completely stripped of all muscle, meat etc.  I had not been able to take this route for some months due to the terrible rain we had suffered with, the fields had been far to boggy to walk through.

When I arrived home I made the huge mistake of telling Joe what I had seen, his little face lit up. He had been learning about skeletons at school and it seemed it would fulfil a dream; obtaining his very own animal skull. So being a total mug I agreed to take him back to the location of the skull so he could retrieve it to keep. I know I must be mad but I agreed, isn’t this what little boys adventures were made of and who am I to stand in the way of that.

Joe,s Sheep Skull

Off we set wearing gloves and armed with plastic bags to retrieve the skull, Joe was soooo excited almost beside him-self with excitement. When we found the skull I felt a responsibility to say a prayer for the sheep, Joe was looking at me as if I had completely lost it, but I was about to boil this poor animals skull the least I could do was say a few words of respect. A bit of a mini funeral! What must I have looked like in my hat, gloves and waving a Tesco carrier bag saying a little prayer for a sheep skeleton?

The skull soaking in peroxide

I will never forget the smell of the skull as I boiled it. After an hour we decided that maybe we should soak it in bleach, we did this for an hour or so and it did come up very clean except its teeth. Mmm what next I thought, I decided there was nothing else for it I had to brush its teeth. This was the oddest experience.

The next day Joe proudly took his sheep skull into school, his teacher allowed him to show the class, but sent it home that very evening saying it was a health a safety risk. Poor Joe was devastated the children seemed interested but his teacher did not want it in school. I felt awful thinking the teacher would think I would risk infecting all these children with germs, so I started to research how to clean it even deeper, I read on the internet that soaking it in peroxide would do the job for once and for all, also harden the skull to preserve it long term.

Joe with his Super Clean Skull

The next day at work, I decided to telephone our science department to ask their opinion on soaking the skull in peroxide, quite frankly the reaction of the science technician shocked me, I thought she would offer advice on our exciting project when in fact she questioned my motives on allowing my children to have a skull and suggested it was sinister!! What is wrong with people have they never seen the world through the eyes of a child who had come across an archaeological find, if any one would understand it I would have expected a scientist to.  After explaining that I was not concerned about him being a budding serial killer just a child interested in science and bones, she confirmed peroxide would work.

Joe’s sheep skull is now as clean as it can be, I am glad he got the chance of experiencing this little adventure and to all those doubting Thomas’s; they clearly cant remember ever being young.


Author of Extraordinary Chaos a family lifestyle and travel blog from a 40+ mum of teenage boys, sharing our family travels, recipes, reviews and country living. Also the co editor of Cruising With Kids Family Cruise Blog

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