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    Can anyone tell me what to use to clean and get the smell out of turtle shells. I thank for any help I can get

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  • #2
    I have a few shells that I've done some work with. After butchering the turtles, I cleaned as much of the meat and skin off the shells as possible. Then I salted the shells really well and let them sit in the garage to dry out for a few months. (Hot summer months are the best for drying.) This also lets them air out, so they won't smell as bad. Then you have to make sure all the algae and muck is off the outside of the shell (that stuff really stinks). To do this, I used a wire brush (the kind that you can attach to a drill). It took all the muck off and really polished them up nice. After that, it's up to you to do what you want with them. What do you have planned to use them for, if I may ask?

    [This message has been edited by MWP (edited March 21, 2001).]

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    • #3
      Some more tips -- make sure you scrap as much of the meat and membrane as possible out of the shell. A crooked knife works well for this. Ants will find the shells and clean out the rest -- a trick used by some Creek friends who make shells for stomp dances. Be careful about just placing the shells outside on an ant mound -- the neighbor's dog might steal your hard work. Once the shells are fully dried, any remaining material inside the shell is easily removed. Hope this helps.

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      • #4
        Thestogs is right about the Ant hill trick. Works very well. Especially if you can find a red ant hill. Cleans em out nicely and you will also lose the smell. You can put a varnish on the shell once it's cleaned out to. Makes it look real nice and shiny.

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        • #5
          BORAX WORKS WELL.

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          • #6
            :( Well I have no advice on this topic, I just wanted to say that I had a turtle for a pet, it is heartbreaking to read the advice about butchering turtles and putting them on ant hills...I called him/her (I never was sure)"Toots"...he/she used to smile at me ,and bat those big green turtle eyes...until I gave it up for adoption...turtles are people too (sike)
            just hangin'

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            • #7
              She:kon, Sewakwekon:
              When I have made Iroquois style turtle rattles from snapping turtles, I have used alum powder to get the smell out. What style shells are you using? There are several varieties of turtle rattles that are made depending on the type of turtle. Personally I prefer the Irouqoian rattles that I and other Iroquois people make. We use the whole turtle with just the legs and tail removed.

              I remember once, a long time ago, using a turtle rattle, that I had just made, in a sweat. I was in such a hurry to use the rattle that I didn't let it dry properly. Once inside the sweat, with all the steam and hot air, the smell just about did everybody in. They were only too happy to end that sweat. ha ha ha. Take care and stay strong. Onen.
              ~Tree~
              Skennen enhsenontonnion':hake - May you have peace in your mind and heart.

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              • #8
                Hmmm. It sounds interesting. Do the members of your tribe kill turtles specifically to use their shells for ceremonial purposes, or do you only use shells from turtles that have experienced natural deaths and been given to you or found by you?
                just hangin'

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                • #9
                  She:kon Cree:
                  Once again it depends on the individual. I have only made turtle rattles out of turtles that were brought to me. Even then there have been times after offering prayers for that turtle that I have refused and had the person who brought me the turtle take it to someone else. There are other individuals I know who actively go out and collect turtles for the sole purpose of making rattles to sell. I don't agree with that but it is done.

                  As far as the turtles being dead when they are given to me, they have all been alive. But when they are killed, there is a way we do it that offers thanks to the turtle and to Creator for allowing us to use it as a rattle. Everything is done very respectfully. Nothing is misused or wasted. I hope this helps to answer your questions. Take care and stay strong. Onen.
                  ~Tree~
                  Skennen enhsenontonnion':hake - May you have peace in your mind and heart.

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                  • #10
                    The turtles I have died because the weather or been killed by something in the wild. I'm not sure what kind of rattal I will make. I'm just getting in to this and I'm open to any in put from any one.

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