Collection: Ostrich Skull

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I gave this ostrich skull to M as a Christmas present this past year. He loves ostriches and even wants a farm full of them one day.

Ostriches are large, flightless birds native to Africa. They are the largest species of bird still alive today and also lay the largest eggs. They can run up to 43 mph, the fastest land speed of any bird.

They can weigh anywhere from 139-320 lbs, and the males grow to be between 6’11” and 9’2″ while the females are from 5’7″ to 6’7″. Their lifespan is up to 40-45 years.

Ostriches are also known for their very large eyes- they have largest eyes of any land vertebrate, measuring 2 inches in diameter.

It is a myth that ostriches hide their heads in the sand when they feel threatened. They actually either lay flat on the ground to blend in with their surroundings or they will attack if they feel threatened enough. They can kick very powerfully with their legs, so much so that they can disembowel and kill a person with their long claws in a single blow.

Ostrich skull
An ostrich skull with a detached lower jaw is the biggest skull in our collection.
Size: 7.5″ long x 3.5″ wide x 3.25″ tall
From: Clear Creek Trading- Etsy
Price: $20-$50

Collection: Cow Eye

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This cow eyeball was given to us by a friend who collects curiosities like us!

Cow eyeballs are commonly used for dissection in science classes because of their similarity to human eyes, though they are quite bigger.

Cow eye
Preserved cow eyeball wet specimen
Size: 2 1/4″ wide x 1 1/2″ tall; jar 2 3/4″ tall
From: Given as a gift
Price: Unknown, but you can find them online for just a few dollars

Collection: Butterfly

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This is one of the first butterflies we ever added to our collection (it’s technically M’s). We went to the World of Wings exhibit in New Jersey in February of 2014. There were some reptiles on display, but the main attraction was their butterfly exhibit, where every hour they would release the butterflies all around you in a special climate controlled room just for them.

Honestly I’m a little scared of butterflies because I don’t like bugs that can fly but this was a cool experience and I like how beautiful they are (as long as they’re dead).

We unfortunately don’t know what species of butterfly this one is, but it has beautiful black, white, orange, and yellow markings. We highly recommend the World of Wings exhibit if you’re ever in the area!

Butterfly
A butterfly displayed in glass with a wooden frame.
Size: butterfly 3″ wide x 1 1/2″ tall; frame 4 1/2″ wide x 4″ tall x 2″ deep
From: World of Wings Museum
Price: $20-$50

Wishlist: Jackalope

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A jackalope is a well-known taxidermy gaff (a fake specimen). One is made by attaching any kind of antlers to a regular taxidermied rabbit. They are usually displayed as a head mount on a wall, but sometimes you can find a full-bodied one.

This is one of only a couple of gaffs that we’re interested in procuring. We like real animals better, but as this one is so infamous we would like to add one to our collection.

Collection: Baby quail

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Quail is a collective name for many species of mid-sized birds in the order Galliformes. There are Old World quails and New World quails, which are two different families (Phasianidae and Odontophoridae, respectively). They are kept as pets, hunted for food, or used for their eggs.

We unfortunately do not know what species of quail we have, but it is cute!

Baby quail
A common kind of bird preserved in a glass jar.
Size: 1.5″ diameter x 3.25″ tall
From: Black Bear Bath Salts – Etsy
Price: $10-$20

Wishlist: Bear Skeleton

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The pictures I included are of a polar bear skeleton, a grizzly bear, a cave bear skeleton, and a chart to show how big the cave bear was.

While we’re not too picky on what kind of bear, it would be really cool if we one day could get our hands on a cave bear skeleton or fossil! The cave bear went extinct about 27,500 years ago. Cave bears are most closely related to brown bears, with a last common ancestor dating to 1.2 to 1.4 million years ago.

Hopefully one day we’ll have a cave bear, but before that we’d love to acquire another species of bear skeleton too!

Collection: Snake Wine

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Snake wine is an alcoholic beverage that is made by infusing whole snakes in rice wine or grain alcohol. It is most common in China, and was first made during Western Zhou dynasty (1046-771 BCE). The snakes used are preferably venomous, such as cobras, and are sometimes infused with other species such as scorpions. Snake wine is thought to cure many things from farsightedness to hair loss, and is supposedly an aphrodisiac and general health aide. The snake venom is denatured by the ethanol so it’s ok to drink.

We love our bottle of snake wine. It’s definitely a favorite in our collection!

Snake Wine
A snake and scorpion steeped in rice wine or grain alcohol
Size: 6″ wide x 3″ deep x 9″ tall
From Obscura
$50-$100