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Wet Specimen Fixing--what To Use?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Clematron600, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. Clematron600

    Clematron600 New Member

    Back when I was in high school, I just stuck things in 70% isopropyl. but as I've learned, things decay in iso over time. It worked great (3 years + no discoloration) on a frog I had that escaped, and then pretty much mummified itself in the dry house.

    I know it's best to inject and fix in formalin. I could get some formalin, but I don't have any safe place to use it and no idea how to dispose of it.

    I was wondering if there were any other chemicals that are effective for fixing (before transferring to iso)? I've even tried fixing in 90% iso first, but I've found it degrades things quicker. I can't find any info online about this, aside from some offhanded things like "wet specimens are sometimes perserved in a, b, or c" with no more specific info.

    Any help appreciated. I've got lots of feeder mice and rats in the feezer that are too old for my snakes (but not in any state of decay--I skinned one of them for some experimental taxidermy, and it didn't have green belly or loose skin or anything. At most, some are freezer burned.) I'd like to be able to do something with them.
  2. Deadfish

    Deadfish New Member

    The only thing I know for fixing the specimen is formalin, however you dont want to use it for long term storage as it is too acidic.

    Once the specimen is fixed (a few days for mice, longer for bigger things, the formalin should be allowed to fully penetrate everything. ) it should be transfered through incrimentally increasing % of whatever your holding fluid will be. Museums use pure ethonal however its very expensive and many people choose to use either isopropyl or denatured alcohol as the final holding fluid. The gradual switch is used to prevent lysis and dehydration of the cells.

    As for disposal and working with formalin, you can mix it with amonia and that will neutralize it for safe disposal. Working with it i would just reccomend working outside with a respirator, gloves and goggles if you can manage it. Im not sure of any fixing solution that wouldnt require that sort of procedure.

    A good source of info: http://mickeyalicekwapis.com/blog/2015/9/10/wet-specimens-a-general-guide]p