How to "skin" and "mount" a Madagascan Giant Hissing cockroach...
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Taxidermy.Net Forum  |  Beginners, Training & Tutorials  |  Tutorials  |  Topic: How to "skin" and "mount" a Madagascan Giant Hissing cockroach... « previous next »
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Author Topic: How to "skin" and "mount" a Madagascan Giant Hissing cockroach...  (Read 12081 times)
Lizardfeathers
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« on: January 10, 2014, 11:14:33 AM »

Ok everyone, here is my first tutorial on how to prepare and preserve insects. Many of you wouldn't think to spend valuable time on insects which you could spend on actual taxidermy. However, you can use the  techniques of drying insects and arachnids to incorporate prey into your taxidermy mounts. You can have a duck eating an insect. Have a small bird eating a cicada or a squirrel chasing one. Just incorporating real insects can add a lot to a mount. With that said, here is how I have found is the best way to preserve a big "meaty" insect.




Madagascan Giant Hissing cockroaches are one of the largest roach species, therefore the most eye catching species to mount. I have a breeding colony in a large heated tub with another species of tropical roach (Dubia roaches) that I feed my reptiles. Hissers have a very fat abdomen that is full of internal organs and other innards that would make it difficult to make look realistic if let to dry on it's own. They would more likely rot than dry, not to mention they stink like crazy when dead...

Here is what you need to have to prepare a roach like this using my method.

Silicone (I use the 3 hour rain ready kind because that's just what I had)

Tweezers

Scissors (the thinner the blades, the better)

Scalpel blade (having it not attached to a handle makes it easier and more precise.)

Pins (I just use sewing pins from Walmart $1 to $2 for about 100-150 pins) insect pins would make it easier.



The first thing I do is turn the roach on it's side and use either the scalpel blade or a pin to try to separate the area between the exoskeleton on the "rim" of the abdomen.



What you want to do is cut the part that attaches the top and bottom of the exoskeleton together. This soft area is where the insect breaths and forces air out to make the "hissing" sound. You will want to be careful not to rip the segments apart. Use the scalpel blade to slide in this area and saw back and fourth up the side of the roach to separate the top from the bottom. There will be a "ligament" on every segment that will be what you have to cut through.


 Do this on both sides and on the rear of the abdomen.

(Tutorial continued by next post...)
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Lizardfeathers
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2014, 11:25:44 AM »

Ok, now you have both top and bottom separated, you  will want to pull them apart like this.


Now scrape the guts out using your scalpel blade on it's side. Be careful you don't rip the segments of either the top or bottom doing this. It can be fixed, but makes it easier if it's together.


Clean the insides of both top and bottom this way...
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Lizardfeathers
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2014, 11:39:12 AM »

Once both top and bottom are cleaned, I put rubbing alcohol on a Q-tip and rub the insides with it. You don't have to do this, but I think it would help with the smell.

Now use your tweezers to reach back into the thorax (area where the legs are) and try to pull out any innards that might be in there...


Now you can use silicone to fill the abdomen cavity. Put the nozzle of the silicone tube into the thorax area and fill that area with silicone, like this...


Continue squirting the silicone on into the abdomen area. You can see from the pic about how much to use. It's better to put more in than not enough because you can wipe the extra off once you put the top and bottom together.
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Lizardfeathers
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2014, 11:46:04 AM »

Now that you have the abdomen filled, just fold the top and bottom back together and squeeze the silicone to the edges to seal the whole thing closed.


Make sure you don't squeeze all the silicone from the middle. Do it enough just to get an even amount of silicone that gives the abdomen a natural look. Wipe and extra silicone that comes out of the "rim" of the abdomen off so it doesn't dry on there.


Now you can flip the roach over and start pinning the legs!
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Lizardfeathers
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2014, 11:59:13 AM »

Place the roach on a block of foam of any kind. Start by placing four pins one on each side of the thorax to stabilize it. Then two on each side of the abdomen to keep it straight as the silicone starts to cure...


 Now use your tweezers to position each leg in a natural way. Place a pin on each side of the leg in the mid leg area and two at the end of the leg. You can pin in whatever pattern that works for you, but I will show how I usually pin them. Do the same procedure with the antennae...


Here is a top view of the pin positioning...
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Lizardfeathers
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2014, 12:15:38 PM »

Now let it dry for a few days and check using a pin to poke one of the legs to see when it is dry. I wanted to mount it on a silk leaf that wasn't perfectly flat, so I took the pins out once the roach was slightly dry so I could hot glue it to the leaf. This way the legs could be positioned to look like the roach was actually climbing on the leaf. If you are going to display it flat, just let it dry completely before removing the pins.

Here is a picture of it hot glued (I hot glued the bottom of the abdomen to the leaf) to the silk leaf. I will post a picture of the finished base once I get it done...


On a side note, the roaches will stink until they are dry so don't sit it in your kitchen! ;D Live Hissers can be bought online. They are "expensive" as adults because once you set up a tub for them, they will reproduce and give you roaches out the Wazoo! The way I "put down" roaches (and other large insects for that matter) is by injecting rubbing alcohol into the base of their "neck" with a syringe. They die within 10 seconds...

I certainly hope this helps anyone crazy enough to mount a cockroach! ;D

If you have any questions about the process or even on how to care for live roaches, feel free to post your questions! Good luck!

--- Lizardfeathers :)
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CrabCrazy
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2014, 01:03:24 PM »

Heres another one

How to Taxidermy a Tarantula
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_7QaqGJ758
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The Ojibwa
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2014, 05:15:11 PM »

Excellent tutorial...some borax would help soak up that juice in the body cavity I think. Those would be saweet for Halloween!

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tazzymoto
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2014, 05:37:22 PM »

Thanks for sharing!
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Lizardfeathers
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2014, 09:46:28 PM »

Can you imagine how many phone calls you would receive from angry parents because you gave their children giant cockroaches! ;D
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Inari
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2014, 07:23:29 PM »

Wow, amazing tutorial! I have some hissers and mightttt try this when they've passed. A bit squicky about the insides but might be an interesting challenge!
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Lizardfeathers
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2014, 08:31:58 PM »

Thanks for the kind words everyone! :D These roaches have a lot more guts than one would think! They are easy to get out and it can be done quickly, but they still make you want to throw up! :o

I haven't quite decided what kind of base I want to put this leaf on yet, but I will post a pic once I get it done...
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Todd B
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2014, 09:27:20 PM »

That was actually more interesting than I thought it would be,  Never put any thought into doing one.   Your method of putting the roach down differs from mine though.  Mine involves smashing with my foot.
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Todd Buchanan
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Lizardfeathers
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2014, 09:41:32 PM »

Haha, most would probably do just that and it would get the guts out in half a second! ;D The rubbing alcohol also helps preserve the soft tissue that holds the head and legs together. A tiny amount to the neck, and the roach it dead in about 5 seconds without any damage...

Another interesting thing about Madagascan Hissers is that the males have horns like the one I used in the tutorial! The females have two slight bumps rather than the horns of the males. They actually use them to fight each other. Once in awhile I will hear scraping and bumping sounds coming from the tubs. I know that two males are fighting over the same egg carton! ;D
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kingwolf
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« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2014, 02:12:56 AM »

Awesome tutorial, thanks! I have hissers myself and have never thought of mounting them, but I might just have to try in the future. Be sure to post pics when completed !
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Taxidermy.Net Forum  |  Beginners, Training & Tutorials  |  Tutorials  |  Topic: How to "skin" and "mount" a Madagascan Giant Hissing cockroach... « previous next »
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