The tiny corpse stayed in our freezer (swathed in multiple layers of plastic) until May, a cryogenic interlude intended to kill some subset of whatever microbia might be on board. Then I took it out, thinking to dissect the flesh off, but mouse bodies have a much higher moisture content than birds -- it was frozen solid, much too hard to use a knife on.
I whipped up a burial cage out of window screening and wire, and dug a shallow grave under the dogwood tree in my tiny front yard. (Very shallow...
Twice in two months, weather or squirrel activity unearthed the tiny cage and I covered it up again with loose dirt.)
By early July, nothing remained of the remains except bones, bits of fur, and the cartilaginous tail, along with a fair amount of dirt and empty insect casings inside the mesh envelope. I sifted and rinsed the debris, soaked the bones overnight in soapy water (using liquid dish soap), rinsed them again, and then soaked them in (3%) hydrogen peroxide for three hours or so.
|After soap, before peroxide. (Guitar pick for scale.)|
The skeleton is missing some ribs and toes, one patella, and probably some other bits. But it's mostly there. Next step, deciding what to make...
I would definitely use the burial-cage method again, preferably with a volunteer a little bit larger than a mouse (those tiny bones were a struggle to rinse! Each rib was the size of an eyelash). I would use an actual trowel and bury it a few inches deeper to reduce disruptions. Our neighborhood squirrels are industrious.