SKINNING A SNAKE
Thanks to Bob Myers at the Albuquerque International Rattlesnake Museum for supplying this information
- Use scissors to cut through belly crawlers, starting in anal opening
and working toward head. Try to stay in the middle and cut an even line. Starting
at the tail, use a sharp knife to separate the skin from the body of the snake by holding
the skin tautly away from the body.
- When you have the skin free about 6" from the tail, grasp the skin firmly and pull toward the head being careful not to tear the skin. The head can be skinned if it is to be used. But, be careful not to break your skin on the fangs. Otherwise the head can be cut off just behind the head.
- Lay the skin out scales side down being careful not to wrinkle the scales.
- Use a serrated kitchen knife to scrape the flesh off the skin. Most of the flesh will be on the back of the crawlers.
- Wipe the hide off on both sides with paper towels. Wipe from the head to the tail so the scales don't get bent. At this point the skin can be rolled up (flesh side inside) and placed in a plastic sack and frozen. Squeeze all the air out of the sack.
TANNING SNAKE SKINS
(DO NOT STRETCH, DO NOT SALT, DO NOT WASH SNAKE SKINS)
- Lay skin scales down on long flat board. Arrange skin so pattern
seems even. DO NOT STRETCH HIDE.
- Place one nail, pin or tack in center of pattern
at each end of snake hide. Fasten a string between the pins. String should
be taut and not touching skin. This is to help you get the pattern straight.
- Place pins in center of the pattern under the string. Center the pattern under the string.
- STRETCHING THE SKIN WILL CAUSE THE HIDE TO PULL OFF OF THE PINS AND THE HIDE WILL BUCKLE AND WILL NOT FLATTEN OUT AGAIN.
- Starting in the middle of the skin, flatten the hide and place pins in the outer edges of the crawlers and both ends.
- Continue pinning until your pins are no more than one-half inch
apart. This will reduce the chances of the skin pulling loose.
- Remove the pins
under the string and pin closed any bullet holes or tears in the skin.
- Let skin dry about 8 to 10 hours, then apply one generous coat of the tanning oil with a clean paint brush. Do not wipe off excess.
- Wait about 8 to 10 hours before removing all of the pins and turning
the skin over.
- Apply one coat of the oil as before. Wait about 8 to 10 hours
- Press excess oil from skin by laying skin between several layers of paper toweling
in between two flat boards weighted on top. Be careful skin doesn't get wrinkled.
- After excess oil is removed, the skin is ready to be made into a hat band, belt or
rug. The skin can be glued onto a belt blank or hat band blank with Tandy's All Purpose
- Lightly brushing the skin with a wire brush will remove the scale covers.
Be sure not to brush against the direction of the scales as this will make them stand
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