What liquid preservative

Submitted by Randal R. Waites on 1/4/05 at 3:28 PM. ( rwenglish1@aol.com )

I got a call, a hunter shot a doe, in the Dec archery season. Upon dressing it, he found a small fawn that was developing. He wants to know, how, or what liquid to preserve it in?

He tried a funeral home, they told him, no go. He called other taxidermist, and they had nothing also. So I am asking for some product names to be mentioned here, something that will be clear.

Return to The Taxidermy Industry Category Menu


This response submitted by George on 1/4/05 at 3:34 PM. ( georoof@aol.com )

Randall, go to your local pharmacy (preferably not a big chain) and ask the pharmacist. It can be ordered and you can buy it though you'll likely have to provide credentials and sign for it.


This response submitted by Old Fart on 1/4/05 at 3:38 PM. ( )

It can also be preserved in a jar of methyl alcohol.


This response submitted by rick on 1/4/05 at 4:14 PM. ( )

I bought some at a pet store that sells outdoor pond supplies.


This response submitted by Doug Bridges on 1/4/05 at 4:16 PM. ( doug@ddtaxidermy.com )

come on. You know that you cannot possess a whitetail fawn in michigan without the right permits. Don't you? Man, that must be a little sucker. Should only be 3 to 4 weeks of justation.



This response submitted by cur on 1/4/05 at 4:19 PM. ( )

Wet mammal specimens may be prepared and stored in either alcohol or formalin. I think it best to first fix tissue in formalin and then flush and subsequently store in alcohol.

Long term storage in formalin will cause the specimen to harden, while alcohol will cause some slight shrinkage but specimens will bemain more flexible.

You can purchase formaldehyde in 40% solution through some pharmacies or by ordering from vendors. Formaldehyde may also be purchased in crystal form which can be made into formalin solutions.

The only alcohol to use for such storage is C2H5OH, Ethyl Alcohol. The alcohol shoude be pure and then diluted to a 70% solution for storage. To dilute, add seven parts C2H5OH and three parts DISTILLED water to a container and stir. Formalin solutions should be 10% for storage or fixing. Add one part 40% formaldehyde solution to three parts DISTILLED water to make formalin.

To fix, inject the foetus with a 10% formalin solution using a hypodermic syringe inserted at various points in the larger muscle groups and into the body cavity, taking care not puncture organs. The foetal skin is fragile, so handle with care. You may then store the injected specimen in a glass container filled with a well constructed lid.

If you wish to store in Ethanol (C2H5OH) then the specimen should be stored for a few days in the formalin solution and then flushed by soaking in ethanol for a period before placing into a 70% alcohol solution.

Formaldehyde is a substance. Formalin is a dilute solution of formaldehyde in water. Should you chose to forego the formalin process, inject the foetus with alcohol in the same manner and then store. Injection material should be a 70% solution. In a pinch or if budget restricts, denatured alcohol will probably work as well. Be careful which brand you buy, some denatured alcohol compositions are pigmented green and will restrict viewablity.

There are more modern and better ways, but none so practical.

Slight correction

This response submitted by The Taxidermologist on 1/4/05 at 6:44 PM. ( )

100% Formalin is 40% dissolved formaldehyde gas in water. Thus you only need 1 part reagent grade formaldehyde and 9 parts water to make a preserving solution. 10% formalin equals 4% formaldehyde.

Second, depending on the size of the fawn (i.e. if it is thicker than 1 inch at mid body) then if it is simply placed in ethanol, the inside of the animal will decay as it sets in the solution. Ultimately it will preserve, but there will be decay internally unless large slits are made to allow free-flow of fluid into the body. Alcohol itself does a poor job of initial fixation. Formaldehyde is essentially a necessity as Cur has pointed out.

If you are reading this Glen - transfer that bit I wrote to hide-tanning if you wish.

Return to The Taxidermy Industry Category Menu