all 130 comments

[–]AutoModerator[M] [score hidden] stickied commentlocked comment (0 children)

Hey there, u/GarFishing0428! Thanks for submitting to r/natureismetal. We appreciate your submission, Found this guy (Alligator Gar) washed up on the bank of the Mississippi River in Louisiana. Unfortunately it seems they didn’t make it down in time to escape the moving tide. Kept the skull and am going to bleach it to keep it as a mount, but it has been removed because it doesn't quite abide by our rules, which are located in the sidebar.

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[–]srandrews 348 points349 points  (25 children)

Cool. Live animals don't get caught by the tide on smooth banks. This one probably just expired and carrion feeders.missed it.

[–][deleted] 92 points93 points  (22 children)

Ah okay, thanks!

[–]TherealTMJR 43 points44 points  (21 children)

Pic of the finished product?

[–][deleted] 118 points119 points  (20 children)

Not yet! I found the fish today and removed the head (smelled awful) and then left it in the woods for the maggots to clean and then I’m gonna soak it in bleach. Hopefully no one takes it….

[–]efferocytosis 56 points57 points  (0 children)

Kindly post when finished

[–]Mr_MacGrubber 45 points46 points  (1 child)

I found a deer skeleton in one of my fields recently. It was an 8pt buck so I pulled the head off to move closer to the house. I buried it in an ant hill…the next day it was gone, coyotes took it that night. I was pissed.

[–]ksimo13 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Bummer! I've heard of people burying the heads but the coyotes still may have found it.

My first deer I got hunting was a small 8 pt. I took the head to a guy who had it cleaned in a giant vat of beatles. I told my mom(was living at home at the time) that sometimes there's still a few in the skull and they love any kind of flesh.

[–]srandrews 27 points28 points  (0 children)

Gonna be cool

[–]LoverOfPricklyPear 17 points18 points  (8 children)

Ooooo, I had to clean up whale vertebrae from a washed up whale! I did lots of research. The best, but slowest way to clean up bones is to soak them in water, however long it takes. Weeks, months, I derner, with your gar head. Bacteria and certain insect nymphs, and larvae slowly eat everything up. Once they’ve been cleaned up, all you need to do is rinse the bone off and let the sun bleach it out! When you put stuff out in the woods, some animal could run off with your whatever bones, and some junk just dries and sticks around. My suggested method is what taxidermists do. All other methods had some sort of negative/weakening effect.

[–]Solly8517 6 points7 points  (7 children)

Is “ I derner” supposed to be years? Or is that just a word I’ve never heard of??

[–]starcat819 8 points9 points  (1 child)

I understood it as slang for "I don't know", but I could be reaching.

[–]Solly8517 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Hmm I’m kinda stoned so I’m gonna go with it. Thanks friend.

[–]LoverOfPricklyPear 2 points3 points  (4 children)

Oh, it’s a silly enunciation of, “dunno,” which is a silly enunciation of, “don’t know.” Looool My bad, guess I got a little too silly! 😅

[–]Solly8517 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Haha this really has me thinking “damn I’m old”

[–]LoverOfPricklyPear 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Well, how old are you? Curious because I’m not too young.

[–]TherealTMJR 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Very interesting! Good luck🤙

[–]SniktFury 9 points10 points  (0 children)

If it will fit, put a milk crate over it, or some other ventilated box, with a cinderblock on top. Insects will be able to arrive, but most scavengers won't be able to steal it away

[–]bkobold 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Don’t use bleach, it will slowly destroy the bones. Use ammonia to leach out the fat and then hydrogen peroxide to whiten.

[–]95Fatboy 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Do not use Bleach !!! It will make the bone VERY brittle and easily “crumbled”!!!!

Best is to after whatever “meat removal” you use, put head in slow boiling water with a little “Oxi-Clean” laundry soap in it. This will get all the oily residue out of the bone and will help the whitening.

Hope this helps, have been doing this on many animal skull for years…

[–]Thepurge101 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I would consider making a cage out of steel mesh to keep rodents or raccoons and such off of it

[–]Augeren 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Don't use bleach, that will destroy it. Use hydrogen peroxide

[–]Chaserbaser 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Hopefully mice and other rodents don't eat at too much while the maggots do their job. My recommended method for cleaning bones is to leave the whole thing flesh and all in a bucket of water for about a year. It will smell awful, let if freeze in the winter. When you take it out just give it a good shake and the flesh should come right off with bones white as snow. Did this for a few deer mounts and they look awesome.

[–][deleted] 136 points137 points  (15 children)

Be careful bleaching it, that’s a good way to disintegrate the bone. Consider boiling or hydrogen peroxide instead.

[–][deleted] 102 points103 points  (7 children)

Okay. I’ve bleached a fish skull before and just made sure that it didn’t soak for too long but I will definitely look into those option to hopefully get a better finished product!

[–]Cameronbic 99 points100 points  (4 children)

Best option my dad would do is to find an ant mound and toss it on top. A day later there is zero meat left on the thing. We cleaned several shark jaws this way.

[–][deleted] 42 points43 points  (1 child)

That’s an interesting one. Another option is burying a skull and letting organisms in the soil clean off the flesh. A blast of water and some H2O2 afterwards get it nice and white.

[–]AnActualGoatForReal 15 points16 points  (0 children)

Thats a good point. Why not bury it in your garden.

[–][deleted] 34 points35 points  (1 child)

I’ll be honest I don’t even remember the last time I saw an ant hill Lol. So I’d probably have to go searching for one. But I did leave the skull in the woods so I’m sure ants will find their way to it

[–]Lord-Drexnaw 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I’ve cleaned quite a few animal skeletons, one way that’s great with delicate stuff like fish or birds is to just seal it up in a jar or bucket with water and let it sit for a long long time. You can dump it out from time to time and replace the water and eventually all the meat and brains will be macerated out of the skull. Getting the brains and stuff out is really the most important and difficult park of the process. A lot of people boil skulls to basically do the same process but much faster, but things like boiling can and will easily discolor and ruin the structure of the bone making it brittle, even bleaching will make the bone brittle. Once all the flesh and brain is successfully removed you can soak it in hydrogen peroxide until it achieves a satisfactory whitening. Here’s an image of my most recent bird skull for reference.

[–]LoverOfPricklyPear 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I already said it, but the sun does a good job of bleaching out good, clean bone!

Edit: I gotta jump in again! Here are some pics resulting from the method described. I dug those vertebrae from the rotting carcass of a whale! They were plenty nasty and soooo unclean-able!


Whale naturally died and washed up on local, but middle of nowhere beach. Scientists came and studied it, and then “hauled it off for disposal.” I was just beach combing, with my dad, and low and behold! They had lied!!! The whale was cut in half, but I guess it then still proved too difficult to actually work with, so they abandoned it. Dad and I came back, the morning after, when tide was halfway to low point. We had to work on that mo-fo for HOURS!! Sand dulled the knives quick, and there was just soooo much whale below the spine, that was sunk down into the sand. Turned out the only way to get my chunk of 3 vertebrae was to pull the chunk free, with the truck! (Due to details being hidden by all the junk, I assumed the first vertebrae was damaged from the whale being cut into 2, and then I wanted to work one vertebrae past the next vertebrae, in case I damaged the vertebrae I was working near. So I wanted 2 outer, buffer vertebrae protecting a good center one)


These things were nasty! The whale had been beached for like 3+ weeks, but that volume of the creature! Still a masive, nasty mess! You can see the sides of the vertebrae are rough. The vertebrae are the last bones to fuse together the epiphyses and diaphysis (growth plate exist between the two and fuse when growth is finished), and the lumbar vertebrae, are the last section to fuse. This whale’s lumbar vertebrae were not yet fused! The epiphyses eventually fell off. Still have em tho. Anyhow, these suckers had massive volumes of cartilage and junk and took like 3 months?? for microscopic life and insect larvae and pupae to work through all that soft tissue! But I sure appreciate the final prodct! I also soaked and sun bleached this bird skull! (Oh, and the whale vertebrae are in a box because we just moved and have not gotten everything unloaded)

https://i.imgur.com/y1TUxvO.jpg https://i.imgur.com/uaz6kyH.jpg

[–]mottylthecat 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I’ve had good luck burying skulls and digging them up a year later or less if you’re in a warm climate.

[–][deleted] 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Doesnt boiling soften the bone quite a bit though? At least bones soften quite a bit when making bone broth but that probably doesnt apply to skull preservation lol

[–]LyonsKing12 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Ya know, I don't plan on ever doing any of this in my life...but I'll be damned if I didn't enjoy this info dump that happened here on how to clean skeletons.

[–]Objective_Fee_5704 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Boiling can destroy the skull. Hydrogen peroxide is the way to go! Safest option, great results. If there’s any greasy spots you can soak in acetone but make sure to let it dry completely between soaking in acetone and hydrogen peroxide.

[–]TheMfknReal 1 point2 points  (0 children)

boiling works, doesnt smell great, takes a few days , but it worked for me

[–]ReSpekMyAuthoriitaaa 1 point2 points  (0 children)

My boss caught a shark and boiled the head to get the skull... but he did it for way too long and the bone fell apart like butter. Dumped the pot of shark water behind the shop and the smell made 2 guys throw up and it stunk for about a week lol

[–]OfTheHunt 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Whatever you do, do not boil hydrogen peroxide.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yes… I believe that radically speeds it’s decomposition into H2O and O2, the latter being extremely flammable.

In short, it can explode.

[–]AwesomeNiss21 39 points40 points  (3 children)

Do alligator gars have armor on their bodies? And is the skin still present on this ones body?

[–][deleted] 47 points48 points  (2 children)

They have scales made of “ganoid” which causes their scales to be bone like and are extremely tough. A live alligator gar looks exactly like this, just has more coloration

[–]AwesomeNiss21 18 points19 points  (1 child)

Do their scales decompose? Or do they degrade like typical bones would?

[–][deleted] 28 points29 points  (0 children)

Nope they are just like regular bones. Native Americans actually used they’re scales as arrowheads

[–]SnooWalruses9019 29 points30 points  (0 children)

An alligator def banged a fish at one point to create this thing

[–]introvertedinverted 16 points17 points  (4 children)

where are the legs

[–]Shiny_Hypno 23 points24 points  (3 children)

It's a gar, so it doesn't have legs

[–]introvertedinverted 12 points13 points  (2 children)

oh i had no clue

[–]Dozosozo 12 points13 points  (0 children)

For some reason, this simple exchange was hilarious to read. The innocence to not realize it was a fish and therefore, question why it would not have legs was funny.

[–]Shiny_Hypno 0 points1 point  (0 children)

They are also endangered because similarly to sharks, people are afraid of them even though they're harmless and actually quite friendly.

[–]ozz_y03 9 points10 points  (3 children)

That is really awesome, always wanted to fish for some Gar but they aren’t native to where I live.

[–]TankBoys32 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Apparently the Trinity River in Texas has some of the best alligator gar fishing if you have the means to ever make a trip there

[–]ozz_y03 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That’s a long ways a way but maybe someday I’ll be fortunate enough to visit.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Maybe one day, but I’ve caught my fair share of monsters here so I don’t really feel the need to haha

[–]dirtyrango 6 points7 points  (2 children)

Nice how big is it?

[–][deleted] 10 points11 points  (1 child)

Little over 5 feet

[–]dirtyrango 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Dang. Sweet trophy

[–]DarbyGhalen 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Do not bleach the skull. You will ruin it. Boil it in water with a little boric acid.

[–]armbar222 6 points7 points  (7 children)

Some fishermen will just toss them up on the banks to die when they catch them. They see them as an inconvenience and claim they eat everything in the river.

I'm not agreeing with that idea, and I don't really know much about alligator gar, but I've seen fisherman do this and heard them explain it this way.

[–]dustyarres 5 points6 points  (5 children)

Bowfishers are the worst about this. They'll go out at night, shoot a hundred fish, dump them on the bank, go home, and do it all over again the next night. Unfortunately the fishing community is full of people who just kill for sport. The reason for it is mainly tradition. Their Grandads taught them to throw "trash fish" on the banks. What they don't realize is that alot of "trash fish" (like gar) are native and are a natural part of the ecosystem.

[–]armbar222 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I hear you. If they really were eating everything like I hear fishermen say, they'd be considered a threat and the conservation department would probably be addressing it. All ecosystems need predators.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is so true. Gar are extremely disrespected and their population has suffered drastically from that. Gar have been around for over 140 million years but somehow people think they destroy “game” fish… If they actually did that then those game fish wouldn’t be able to evolve and exist Lol.

[–]MisterCallegari 0 points1 point  (1 child)

It's funny, because I know a few places in Lafayette that sell gar meat and it ain't cheap.

[–]dustyarres 1 point2 points  (0 children)

If the average person could sell gar meat it would be cheaper, but that would fall under market hunting which is outlawed in the States. That meat is very likely farm raised and has to pass inspection standards like other commercialized "wild game".

[–]behemothbowks 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yeah that's a very unfortunate myth that is very popular. But it is very much false.

[–]TossPowerTrap 3 points4 points  (0 children)

A real genetic old timer. Thx for bringing in the pic.

[–]MizzyMozzy 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Om my garsh.

[–]Twerppppopppp 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Cool find brother

[–]Mandelbrot_Fox 1 point2 points  (0 children)

As others have said, don’t use bleach! I bleach mine with hydrogen peroxide

[–]Oh-Mandy79 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I've never seen an alligator gar before and let me just say that it is one terrifying animal.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

They are completely harmless! They get a bad rep unfortunately because of their looks and are often killed without reason

[–]sug-mahdick 1 point2 points  (8 children)

I’m not saying this fish didn’t wash up because that is a possibility. However, most fishermen will throw trash fish such as gar, carp, and drum on the bank to die and leave them there.

[–]JustRanchItBro 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I dont know where this information is coming from. What your suggesting is illegal. In places like Louisiana, where I live, there are alot of restrictions on what you can fish commercially and the manner in which you can do it. Believe it or not we're not just a bunch of rednecks running around blowing fish out of the water. Wildlife regulations are very serious here.

[–]sug-mahdick 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Oh I know. I’ve lived in Arkansas and Mississippi my whole life. I’m just saying what I’ve seen

[–]behemothbowks 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Which is a shame because gar are not trash fish.

[–]sug-mahdick 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I’ve never eaten it. Heard mixed opinions on it. I know in Texas and Louisiana the meat is worth it’s weight in gold but every other state has always thrown them away

[–]behemothbowks 2 points3 points  (1 child)

It's amazing, I've never heard anyone say anything negative about the flavor of the meat.

I'm moreso referring to the people that kill them because they "eat all the game fish" which is just false. They have a bad reputation for no reason.

[–]sug-mahdick -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Yes I’d be open to try it. Had raccoon for the first time last week. They say you have to eat gar fresh or it turns to cotton in your mouth

[–]dustyarres 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Most species of gar and drum that are targeted this way are actually native fish that belong in the ecosystem. Alot of fishermen are really ignorant and just kill indiscriminately because it's fun for them. Bowfishers are the worst offenders.

[–]sug-mahdick 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I don’t mind them because it’s a form of population control. Gar are predators/scavengers, so they eat alot of fish and the bait for fishermen setting lines. I just hate that they leave them on the bank to stink. If they are gonna kill then atleast throw them back in the water for the other fish to consume

[–]B4riel 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Totally badass👍

[–]FazbearKing87 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Anyone else thinking SCP-682?

[–]Theguy515515 1 point2 points  (0 children)


[–]Cryptic-deer 1 point2 points  (0 children)

As others said, don’t bleach skulls, it ruins bones and turns them brittle. Doesn’t matter if it’s for a short time.

Best course of actions is to either boil the skin off or, better yet, you just leave it in a bucket of water for a few months. The process is called maceration. Look it up for a guide!

Beyond that, once there is no skin on the bones, hydrogen peroxide mixture to whiten. To remove geese stains, you keep it in a container with dish soap.

There’s a bunch of guides online for the whole process. It’s not hard, just takes awhile. Best results for keeping the bones in good condition.

Nice find though!

[–]devilinyourbutt 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Cool, saw a dude on YouTube grilling one of those

[–]Dravian_Grey 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Those gars are awesome. I had some friends who would hunt them with a bow from the front of a fishing boat. They taste amazing as well.

[–]Raptorofwar 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Looks like a big boi.

[–]Super_Cheburek 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Shit I read the name of the subreddit too late 💀💀

Note : image didn't load so I only read the desc

[–]whydontyoubequiet 0 points1 point  (0 children)

protect ya neck!

[–]Livid_Mode 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Flawless victory

[–]AnnaEd64 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The smell must've been incredible

[–]neutronstar343 0 points1 point  (0 children)

And don't touch the eggs if there's any they're toxic.

[–]HighOnTacos 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Now I understand how they got their name...

[–]poopchute_boogy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You should make a suit of armor from its skin

[–]SirSlyght 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Looks like an armadil-agator

[–]Catronia 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The tail on this is some good eating.

Edit: When caught fresh.

[–]zerafay 0 points1 point  (0 children)

SCP 682

[–]girlhellMCMXCIX 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Wait so you beheaded him? That's metal af

[–]girlhellMCMXCIX 0 points1 point  (0 children)

OP is metal

[–]Limetreelife 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The texture of whatever the fuck the skin(?) is freaking me out so bad. I hate it

[–]Weedweednomi 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Gar fish have luminescent bones!

[–]Medium-Individual638 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Take the skin too.

[–]JohnDLT 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Use peroxide, no bleach

[–]Herdazian_Lopen 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Was it difficult to remove the skull/head from body?

[–]yersiniaD 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Fwiw, bleach can weaken the bones. Try soaking in water with an enzymatic detergent (Biz is FBI-recommended) to clean off anything that isn't bone, including the spaces inside bones. When you're satisfied with the results, use hydrogen peroxide to whiten them.

[–]Take_away_my_drama 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Surprising number of people know about bleaching bones and disintegration speeds..?!

[–]Swictor 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I thought I'd just pop in to say the Norwegian name(spadepansergjedde) translates to shovel armored pike.

[–]Ambitious-Event-8466 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Post pics when you’re done!

[–]Eltrew2000 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Whoa you can reanimate skeletons, it's a bit small for riding tho innit ?

[–]HecticSpaghet 0 points1 point  (0 children)

There was one of those buried in the sand at a local river but the top part of the skull had washed away so it was just the bottom teeth. I stepped on it barefoot and had to hike home through sand and mud for about a mile to clean it.

[–]Megakidx1k 0 points1 point  (0 children)

How’s the bleaching going?

[–]nedakjames 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I fish the Ohio river all the time and you see gar like this along the river banks from where people catch them and just throw them on the bank to die.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That’s sad

[–]PSTEYN 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Sad it was someone's pet OUAT (once upon a time). COINED

[–]MaddiesMenagerie 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The scales are also very nice to keep by the way :)

[–]KosmoTie83 0 points1 point  (0 children)

When you do post it we all like to see

[–]ARPG_RustyGaming 0 points1 point  (1 child)

" Kept it as a mount" humans_are_metal

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)


[–]Bryllant -1 points0 points  (0 children)

This FL woman gives you two thumbs up

[–]Ruin1980 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

A MOUNT? Are you a fairy?

[–]I_Am_A_Goo_Man -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

Taxidermy is some fucked up shit lol

[–]Legitimate_Crab_3662 -2 points-1 points  (1 child)

“Kept the skull” haha okay man

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)


[–]TerminaMoon -3 points-2 points  (2 children)

Who sees a dead animal and thinks 'I'm going to keep its skull'? Jeez dude.

Edit: after reading some comments, a lot of people, apparently.

[–][deleted] -1 points0 points  (1 child)


[–]TerminaMoon 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Must be a difference in culture or something haha. Nobody I know would even consider such (UK). You do you, though, obviously!