By Dante Zuniga-West
As seen in the Jan/Feb 2018 Issue of Bear Hunting Magazine!
First of all, a “baculum” is a bone found in the penis of many mammals. The baculum of various animals come with a great deal of Americana and folklore attached. Most male mammals have baculum, although no two species are identical. Raccoon, bear and skunk baculum are the most common to be found in a taxidermist’s possession. Known in the south as “Texas toothpicks,” or “Abrahams,” it would not be uncommon for baculum to be used in bridal bouquets, as toothpicks, or worn as charms by women attempting to conceive. In Alaska, the baculum of black bear and grizzlies are used as cocktail stirrers. Polar bear baculum have been used traditionally by the Inuit people as knife handles. In 2007 a fossilized walrus baculum that was over four-and-a-half feet long sold for $8,000. Some Hollywood stars have even worn raccoon baculum earrings. What you do with yours is up to you, but they make interesting conversation pieces and every bear hunter should have one.
So, what do you do once you have your baculum? You could spend the money to have it treated by your local taxidermist, or you could spend less and have the satisfaction of doing it yourself. It’s easy, and this method will work for any baculum.
- Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Measuring Cup
- If your baculum still has tissue attached to it, soak the bone in a bowl of bleach in thirty-minute intervals until it dissolves. Prolonged exposure to bleach can damage the bone, so don’t leave it too long.
- Fill a small pot about halfway with water. Measure out half a cup of baking soda and pour into the water. Bring the water to boil.
- Place baculum in water and let it boil for six to ten minutes.
- Remove from pot. Using an old toothbrush, scrub hydrogen peroxide on the bone to help whiten it up to desired coloring.
The penis bone of mammals is de-signed to allow breeding to take place longer, increasing reproductive success. Adult male black bears’ baculum are typically between five and seven inches long. Other animals that have baculum include gorillas, chimpanzees, skunks, rodents, cats, otters, weasels, bats and dogs (and many others).
*Interesting: Some believe that the “rib” in the biblical creation story is a mistranslation of a biblical Hebrew euphemism for baculum, and it was the bone removed from Adam to create woman explaining its absence in humans but presence in other primates.