Tanning Boa skin .....

Submitted by Alan Hall on 10/28/04 at 8:08 PM. ( junglehabitats@charter.net )

Ok few questions on process.

I have just had to put down one of my very pricy boas, with that said i intend on keeping the actual skin and building a nice display to go over my office desk . I also would like to attempt a skeletol reconstruction of the snake.

Ok so here is where I am at so far .
* Skinned snake last night
* clean all flesh from the skin today
* washed in liquid detergent
* Have stretched & pinned skin to a Plastic runner
* Have coated in borax
now heres where im not sure whats next.I dont plan on making anything other then a sealed display for this skin that will be air tight. I have read on the tanning solution listed on the site but wanted to know if its absolutely a must since the skin wont really need to be "pliable" as it will be sealed on a display with a resin epoxy so discoloring and air wont be a issue. what steps do i need to apply next to this skin?

Now to the carcus for skeletol reconstruction i had a site saved but lost it in a PC crash on this.Was mentioning the use of a specific beetle to remove all the flesh from the bones and that they would actually clean the bones bare or using ants for this ? which method here is best, beetles or ants? it then stated best of me recollection once the bones were cleaned to bleach all the bones ( after creating sections for rebuild) and that the vertabra & rib bones need to be drilled for wiring them together. once this was done to form the desired shape and use a epoxy glue to secure the bone structure in the desired shape.

I am by profession a Boa breeder and also do educational shows at schools here i would like to have the skeleton as something to show the kids the immense number of bones that make up a snakes body to show them how a snake actually works so to speak.

I wouldgreatly appreciate any info / help in what steps need to be done or a website that may refer to this.

Lastly i see many pple here ask for reptiles for doing mounts etc. I have a good friend here in NC that runs a reptile onle shop that does have many DOA reptiles he normaly keeps in a chest freezer . He keeps from small corn snakes upto large constrictors and occasionally venomous aswell as various lizards , im not sure if he still has it but he did a few weeks ago have a frozen 4-5 ft nile monitor lizard that im sure would make a AWSOME project if any one is interested in aqcuiring some i might can possibly get you in contact with him and he may be willing to offerthem to you.
Thanks for any replies on this

I also remeber seeing a few post about wanting to putdown / kill healthy reptile for the purposeof doing mounts etc i would urge you not do that , if you want DOA reptiles please contact me i know NUMEROUS parties in the reptile trade that may have what you ar looking for so you do not have to kill a healthy reptile just for mounting or skinning needs

Thanks again

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This response submitted by Ryan on 11/4/04 at 3:22 PM. ( BloodZebra@aol.com )

Well Alan, the beetles you want are dermistad beetles, i might have spelled that wrong. They have dark furry larvae that look like little catapillers and they will go to town on any carcas. Just put the carcas in a tuperware tub with a few inches of cottonbals in the bottom for a bedding, then cover the top with a cloth to keep maggots or other carrion feeders out. The larvae work best in very warm and humid conditions, but out of direct light. As for your skin denatured alcohol will keep the colors the best, but it is too stiff for clothes. It should be perfect for what you need.
I've been doing tax for a couple years and I specialize in reptiles, my freinds breed pythons and anacondas so I get all their casualties. I would even be interested in getting your freind's number if he gets cool and unique stuff like a nile monitor. Hope this helps.

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