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Reassembling snake bones?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Gryphonic, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. Gryphonic

    Gryphonic New Member

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    I'm extremely new to taxidermy (as in, I've only really be researching techniques the last few days), but a little while ago I found a set of two snake bones that had had the flesh stripped off them naturally, and for an art project I'm looking to try and reconstruct the snakes. They're mainly in tact, although since they are both so small I'm missing the skull or one of the and some of the extremely small bones from both of them that got lost among the grass area I found them in. I'm a little stuck on a few things though, so if anyone could help me out that would be extremely appreciated.

    I've kept the bones as-is in a small metal and glass container for the past few months from finding them (I found them probably at the start of this year) and they're still fairly sturdy, but if I was to now try to clean them, how would you recommend doing it? I was planning on initially soaking them in water and then putting them into a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution (as I've seen a few people recommend), but seeing as they have been left untouched for a while is there any precautions I should take to make sure the bones don't dissolve or break apart (especially in the latter)? They are very fragile, some of the ribs especially are probably only about a mm in width, so would this require any special care for them - should I dilute the solution further, if used?

    Also for the above, should I also soak the jawbones/teeth in the solution or leave them out so I don't risk the teeth coming off the jaw? It would be nearly impossible to glue them back in if that happened, so I'm hesitant to do anything which may cause them to come away from the head.

    As for reconstruction, I'm planning on putting them in set positions, so would regular super glue do the trick or should I use some other kind of brand? And in the reconstruction process, seeing as the bones are completely jumbled up, does anyone have any tips for organising them back into a vaguely correct order?

    Any tips at all would be appreciated and apologies if anything here sounds really simple to a lot of you, this is my first time doing anything with taxidermy and I want want to make sure it all comes together well!! Thank you in advance!
     
  2. Gryphonic

    Gryphonic New Member

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    Any help at all on this would be appreciated!!
     

  3. Hello, Gryphonic! Anyone reached out to you for any feedback regarding this?
     
  4. Gryphonic

    Gryphonic New Member

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    Hi GeorgeCrisp, not yet unfortunately!
     
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Try putting a similar post up in the Skulls and Skeletons section. There are several very accomplished snake skeleton folks that visit there. Snakes are a daunting project and not one I have tackled. Skulls only for me so far. It sounds like you have found bug cleaned skeletons. If you think there is any oil in the bones, soak them first in acetone for a week or two. Acetone will not react with the bones in any way but it will dissolve surface grease. You can also soak in ammonia but that will soften any ligament connections remaining and ones that are together may come apart unless you are very gentle. A soak in peroxide will sanitize and whiten up what you have when the other cleaning steps are done. Don't dilute your peroxide. At 3% it is already very weak. I use 12% with no dilution and it can be used over and over again multiple times. Maybe do the skull in a separate container. Try acetone only for that and then whiten. Reptile skulls come apart into the most annoying puzzle that you can imagine.
     
  6. Gryphonic

    Gryphonic New Member

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    Thanks you so much for the response! I'll look into getting some acetone, and thanks for the tip with separating the skull - I already have a long process ahead of me, so that'll definitely make it a bit easier. I really appreciate your help!