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Tanning Snakeskin

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Dragoness, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    A while ago I posted about my rat snake abscessing her glottis. She was being treated for it, and showing signs of improvement when she died rather suddenly.

    Postmortem exam showed that the abscess extended in a pocket several inches down parallel to her trachea. She also had only one kidney.

    She was a beautiful specimen, and I will probably try my hand at that species (Gonyosoma oxycephalus) again someday, but in the meantime, I wanted to keep her skin.

    I have never tanned a skin before, much less a reptile skin. I found a simple recipe, and decided she would be the guinea pig.

    A lot of her yellow hues leached out during the process, leaving her hide a beautiful blue-grey color. Overall, it went quite well.

    This is the recipe I used (Courtesy of The Tannery, Inc. - Cow Hides - Hide Tanning - Home Tanning Kits - Cowhides - Buffalo Hides - Skull Bleaching Kit

    1. Skin out the snake and make sure that all the meat and fat are removed from the flesh side of the skin.
    2. Mix a solution of equal parts pure glycerin and rubbing alcohol in a sealable container. Make enough to fully submerge the skin.
    3. Loosely roll the snakeskin, put it into the solution, and seal the container.
    4. Let the snakeskin sit for 2-3 days stirring once a day. Make sure that the skin is fully submerged.
    5. Remove the skin from the container and rinse with water.
    6. Use a dull knife and scrape the flesh side to remove any loose membrane. This will give the flesh side a nice clean look when you are finished.
    7. Spread a light coat of the pure glycerin on the flesh side and let it hang dry for 24 hours.
    8. Use a damp cloth to wipe any excess residue off the skin and you're all done


    Picture of her alive so you can see her beautiful coloration:

    25112308913_30e424df92_k.jpg

    The skin, after tanning: Different, but still beautiful.
    30740263875_bd65c82d49_k.jpg

    The recipe does not specify which grade of alcohol to use. I used 91% Isopropyl, but because of the leaching, I may try something lighter next time (70%) and see if I get different results.
     
    Darkbird and Rich like this.

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