Respectfully Dead Processing; Tucson, AZ- Bugs & Bone Cleaning

Vulture Culture; Dermestid beetles, processing skulls & skeletons, snake skin tanning & more . . .

Professional Cleaning, Pet Memorials & Crafted Displays


Blog cover photo

Respectfully Dead Processing Blog💀

Blog Under Construction, Coming Soon!

Commissions are currently CLOSED

Introduction – Respectfully Dead (Chelsea Richardson) and partner The Heathenry (Alex Wolfe) is here to provide a wide range of services (listed above) to southern AZ, as well as information & knowledge on how to do some of these things yourself! We have both been in this unique hobby for a few years+ now and there has been so much to learn, from both experience and from the wonderful community that shares our interests. I hope this blog will help others on their bone processing journey, navigate the varied processes and avoid some of the common mistakes; or just hit us up to do the work for you, or maybe lets collaborate! Start from the beginning or jump to different sections above! Each section contains its own photo gallery! 

Here are a few of my favorite learning/information sources;

Facebook Grp- Changin the Game Skull Processing – Fantastic info and methods being shared in this group

FB Group- Backroad Bones Necropsies and Preservation – Reptile focused group!

FB Group- Oxidation Nation

FB Group- Wet Specimen Preservation

OddArticulations Skeleton Articulations 

BoneLust Blog by Jana Miller 

Bone Building Books I have 3 of these myself, and they have priceless information!

& Don’t forget to check out the list for Other Recommended Artists/Processors! 
& Respectfully Dead & The Heathenry Media Links Here!

snake skeleton

Crafted Displays & Commissions

Crafted displays come in a wide variety of size and content, small to large, domes, boxes, wets & more, these can be both Commission pieces or Pre-crafted displays for sale. Check out our social media pages for any pre-stocked displays for sale, or text Respectfully Dead at 520-909-1420 to discuss custom pieces! At this time we are only doing AZ local commission work. See pricing notes below! 
Commission work is generally the client giving us a main item to work around, small items or accents are welcome as well, or maybe you have a specific display box or dome you’d like to use. We can work with as many or as little supplies as you give us! 

$ Pricing Notes: $
Pre-stocked displays for sale, price will be listed with posting. 
Commission work ranges with size, level of project & processing steps, this includes small animal Pet Memorials:
Smaller displays, insects, small skulls.. Base price of $100-120
Medium sizes, domes or shadowboxes, roughly 9-12″.. $150+
Large displays, anything larger than 12×12”, ~$220+

 * * NOTE: Time frame on any work / commissions averages 6-8 months+,
processing is slow work, patience is a needed to process quality products.

Pricing listed above is an average estimate but will vary with each piece, amount of work needed, size & supplies used; countless hours and investment goes into sourcing our supplies and accents, majority are hand collected by us locally.

Pet Memorials

Our pets are loved, a part of our lives and hearts, no matter the size, species, or number of legs. Pet Memorial Commission pieces are available! Ranging from the family dog or cat, the loved snake, or a scorpion, we will help immortalize their being and memory forever! Displays & options vary greatly, let’s talk, we will do our best to assist and create a customized memorial for your pet! Small items or accents are welcome, or maybe you have a specific display you’d like to use. 

Dog & Cat memorial work is open in addition to smaller exotic pets. 

Collaborations & Donations!

One of the main goals of The Heathenry & Respectfully Dead in southern Arizona is to work with our own diverse local community and unique artists, come together and do wonderful things! We hope to not only produce our own displays and art but to be the supplier for other creators with ethically & legally sourced supplies such as bone & pelts that are also processed properly.
* * Are you a local vulture, artist or creator and want to work with us? A local hunter looking to donate some or all of your legal hunt? Maybe you just have supplies, like working or non-working chest freezers, water heaters, or your own experience and knowledge to lend, let’s talk! * * 

What Not To Do!

Say NO to Boiling & Bleaching! Though these methods were the original old school way of doing things, a fast method that produced ‘clean’ skulls ready to go for the customers.. these two practices will cause irreversible damage to the bone and it will be extremely noticeable a couple years down the line. Majority of these poorly done heads are from deer hunters who want their trophy heads back within days, and don’t care about the actual quality of work, & processors who just want to make a fast buck, or simply don’t know better. 

Boiling: NO! Water begins to actually boil at about 212f, a rolling boil at those temps for any length of time at all will absolutely cause bone damage and disintegrate any nasal turbines. Temperatures above 160+f  is going to start breaking down the collagen inside the bone, ‘simmering’ water is roughly about 180f.
Simmering skulls can be done for a couple of hours with little damage to the bone but this can be an ‘advanced’ and trickier method to use, as it must be continually monitored and watched during that time, and this generally just causes any remaining flesh to be soft enough to scrub or wash off, not just melting off. Power washing skulls afterwards is a common method, but can again cause serious damage due to water pressure and the higher temps the bone was exposed to. This is to only be done by experienced people, or when there are no other options available.

Bleach: NO! The chlorine content in bleach wreaks absolute havoc on organic matter and will literally eat away at bone, it interferes with and damages the molecular cellular structure of the collagen inside the bone, thus why you experience flaking and loss of bone. Once any bone has been treated with bleach, it is damaged and will only get worse with time until it literally just crumbles apart like a crushed cracker.

No Boiling & No Bleach! Please continue on to learn the alternative methods, they may take longer, but they will give you quality without compare! Check out the Skull Restoration & Clean Up if you have an old greasy head that needs some work!

Sourcing, Prepping & Supplies


The Dermestid Beetles & Larvae



Degreasing is Key!


Whitening the Bone


Reptile Skin Tanning


Hair Hide Tanning


Nature Cleaned, Rot Cages, Mummification, Oxidation & Fixation

Repair or Clean-up Service

Other Processor Recommendations