Taxidermists are just people and I can tell you that people are afraid of snakes! In fact, there are several taxidermists who won’t even go near the animal, no matter the sum of money involved! Whether this is because of the fear of the animal, or because of the difficultly involved in the process, one can never be sure. However, done properly, a snake can be a beautiful addition to a taxidermists collection
If you live in certain areas of Australia, America or Africa then encountering a snake is quite a common experience and therefore a specimen can be easily obtained if you are prepared to kill the creature. This is most easily done by hitting the animal with a large stick. However, I do not recommend you hunt for your own specimen as many snakes can be poisonous and dangerous, therefore it’s easier to buy a recently killed specimen. So don’t try to kill a snake on your own, buy a specimen instead.
It’s relatively easy to skin a snake compared to most animals used in taxidermy. When doing so, you will find that snake skins are easier to remove on recently killed animals.
Keep in mind that snakes shed their skins naturally by having a break in their old skin around the area of the neck and then crawling out of this location. But when you skin a snake, a different process should be applied.
A long slit through the entire underside length of the snake should be cut (from the tail end up to be base of the skull). From this, the snakes skin can then be pulled out, removing the bones and flesh found in the process. This method is much more preferable than to skin the snake in the same way that it itself in nature i.e. cutting round the neck and dragging down – as doing so usually involves the damaging of scales.
The remaining bones and skulls inside the head can be removed by using tweezers and small metal tools. With the skin removed, it should then be placed in taxidermy preserving chemicals.
Mounting the snake
I will now discuss an unconventional method of mounting a snake skin. To find a more conventional approach check out book Taxidermy Made Easy by clicking here.
After the snake has been dried from the preserving chemicals, fill the insides of it with sand or preferably sawdust. This should be started from the tail and then sewn using a fine thread and needle that matches the color of the skin.
This method requires you to compact the sand or sawdust every couple of inches or so. This process of sewing is continued so that the shape of the snake is firm but is not bloated past its original size. Also, keep in mind when using this method that you should position the snake in the final position you want it laid in, as it can become more difficult to move and mold the snake after this process is complete.
Alternatively before applying the compacted sawdust, a wire can be placed inside the snake and extended to the whole length. This allows it to be modelled and positioned more easily later on and can also allow for some upright poses.
To find out more details on how to easily mount a snake then check out the latest book: Taxidermy Made Easy – available now!