New Jersey has the highest density of black bears in the lower continental United States. It’s not uncommon to see them in some of our large state forest and park areas or even around town on garbage day. Know the Bear Facts New Jersey
While exploring a new forest area I came across the sun-bleached skull and bones of a black bear. Seems that the voracious appetite of beetles cleaned up the flesh saving me the challenge of using a toothbrush to scrub it clean. After spraying it with hydrogen peroxide to rid it of any germs and help continue the whitening process it should make for a nice display piece. It looks fine the way it is but often a simmer with a scoop oxyclean will help clean-up the appearance for display. A painted on application of Salon 40 crème will continue to whiten the skulls and some Mop & Glow product will give it a shine.
Since that first skull and skeleton, I’ve come across more skulls and bones and an abundance of tracks, scat and bears themselves. I often keep plaster in my car just incase I find perfect tracks dried up in the mud for a mold.
David Alexander is author of the Buzz Into Action & Hop Into Action Science Curricula. He specializes in making nature accessible to people and wildlife. You can follow him at www.natureintoaction.com