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Thread: How can I preserve snake skin?

  1. #1

    Default How can I preserve snake skin?

    I'v been out camping all weekend and stumbled across a badly injured adder on the road that some @*:~! head ran over and naturally, put it out of its misery. Such a shame that such a beautiful thing had to be in agony and eventually killed. I made use of it by...skinning it and bunging it in the frying pan to find that there was little but a few strings of meat on it. Anywho, I'd like to preserve the skin that I took off. Iv stuck it in some olive oil for the time being in the hopes that it will stop it from rotting for a bit till I figure out how to preserve it permanently.

    Whats a good recipe to preserve it, whilst making it soft and supple at the same time? Afterall, I don't want some crispy thing.

    I'v heard of a few concoctions over the internet to use on snakeskin, such as alum, salt and neatsfoot oil, as well as pure glycerol and denatured alcohol...whatever that is.

    Which is the best to use? Are there better ways to do it? I need some fairly urgent response before the skin goes to spoil.

    Thanks,

    Sharp.
    "See that - fifty no's and a yes means yes"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    sneck
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    I've not done snake skins before, but what about brain tanning it? This makes all other hides soft, may work for snakes. What was the snake like to eat? Did you gut it?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishy1 View Post
    I've not done snake skins before, but what about brain tanning it? This makes all other hides soft, may work for snakes. What was the snake like to eat? Did you gut it?
    Yes, I cut off the damaged head and pulled the skin downwards, holding onto the neck meat. The guts came off with the skin and the intestines attached to the anus.

    Alot of people say this, but it does actually taste just like chicken.
    "See that - fifty no's and a yes means yes"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    There is quite a lot of good info on this at Paleoplanet - http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/forums/5 - that's the leather forum link

  5. #5

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    I was wondering about this myself, but are there any legal implications for preserving skins of protected british wildlife? I doubt its legal to make anything from the skin and sell it (or even give it away) because you are unable to prove to any authority you didnt kill it for the purpose of having its skin. Having it the house I presume is ok though.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by firecrest View Post
    I was wondering about this myself, but are there any legal implications for preserving skins of protected british wildlife? I doubt its legal to make anything from the skin and sell it (or even give it away) because you are unable to prove to any authority you didnt kill it for the purpose of having its skin. Having it the house I presume is ok though.
    Theres no way I could prove that it was run over, because I chopped off all the ragged bits that were damaged by the car's tires. Anywho, I actually killed it because there was no way it could survive with among other things, a crushed jaw. It was squirming around in agony with guts all over the place. What decent person wouldn't end its life and make use of it's meat and beautiful skin. I like snakes and I much prefer seeing them alive and healthy. I have a strong suspicion that it was run over on perpose because of some people's hatred for snakes.

    Lets not get political about all this. You'l just have to take my word on the matter.

    I opened the jar thismorning in the shed and a huge putrid guff came out...I can't say it was easy prepping the skin and putting it into salt water.

    My next step is to flesh it tommorow and find somewhere to get some glycerin, borax and alum.
    "See that - fifty no's and a yes means yes"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharp88 View Post
    Alot of people say this, but it does actually taste just like chicken.
    Or maybe, chicken
    tastes just like snake!



  8. #8

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    hey I wasnt accusing you of anything Sharp88 ! WE know how it died. Im just saying in matters of law you might have a problem being seen public with adder skin, so best just keep it in the home.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by firecrest View Post
    hey I wasnt accusing you of anything Sharp88 ! WE know how it died. Im just saying in matters of law you might have a problem being seen public with adder skin, so best just keep it in the home.
    Yeah I wasn't being harsh or anything. Im thinking of wrapping it round my knife sheath. Which isn't displayed around town or anything. No hard feelings.
    "See that - fifty no's and a yes means yes"

  10. #10

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    Snakeskins are easy to use. Just flesh it, roll it, bag it and put it in the freezer until you are ready to use it. A lot of people here in the US use them for bow backing. When they are ready to put them on their bow they thaw it out, soak up as much of the moisture as they can and then glue it to the bow. When both the skin and the glue are dry, they de-scale it by laying masking tape over it and then pulling the tape off. This will pull the scales off. Then coat it with a polyurethane varnish. You could use the same method for your knife.

  11. #11

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    It seems that alum, borax and gylcerol are not easily obtained here nowadays. For some reason pharmacies can't get gylcerol in anymore

    I think Im gonna have to flesh it and dry it out in the sun with a wee bit of salt on the flesh side I could stick it on the wall I suppose or work some oil into it to make it supple. Not sure. I think its my only option, so I'l have to give it a try.

    Either that or bung it in the freezer. But it is rather stinky and I don't think my mum would want it in there with the brazing steak
    "See that - fifty no's and a yes means yes"

  12. #12

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    I checked with my buddy this morning who does quite a few snakeskins. It's the flesh that is smelling. Wash it in mild detergent, very carefully flesh it. If it's a small adder don't even bother fleshing it as you will probably end up tearing the skin. Tack it out on a board and let it dry. Once it's dry, descale it using the tape, but make sure to go with the scale and not against them. If you are not going to use it straight away, just roll it up, pop it into a freezer bag and stick it in the freezer. Don't use anything on it like glycerin or salt, as that will spoil the glue or finish that you are going to use on it later. We have plenty of snakes here, some not quite so friendly as your adder.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by ukarcher View Post
    I checked with my buddy this morning who does quite a few snakeskins. It's the flesh that is smelling. Wash it in mild detergent, very carefully flesh it. If it's a small adder don't even bother fleshing it as you will probably end up tearing the skin. Tack it out on a board and let it dry. Once it's dry, descale it using the tape, but make sure to go with the scale and not against them. If you are not going to use it straight away, just roll it up, pop it into a freezer bag and stick it in the freezer. Don't use anything on it like glycerin or salt, as that will spoil the glue or finish that you are going to use on it later. We have plenty of snakes here, some not quite so friendly as your adder.
    I don't get it. Why take the scales off? Thats the best bit.
    "See that - fifty no's and a yes means yes"

  14. #14

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    They will eventually fall off anyway, but the pattern is in the skin not the scales. If you were to put a finish over the scales, after a while you will have patches where the scales have lifted and no finish. Taking the scales off you still have the pattern and the finish will stay put.

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