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Few Quickies On Rabbit Skinning

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Claudia, Feb 21, 2019.

  1. Claudia

    Claudia Member

    Hello lovely peeps, got a couple of questions on skinning a small rabbit.
    Is it alright to leave the ears in as it's not muscle flesh as such? I've seen both being done.
    Second, how far down the feet and forearms do you need to flesh? If it's into the toes I mean, how do you get in there? They're tiny! Also, I've looked at muscle anatomy and it seems that there is no muscle into the paw areas so what would you be fleshing in there? If I can get away with not fleshing in there I'd rather not.
    Thank you
  2. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Skin down to the claw nail. Invert all the skin to the claw nail. Flesh to the claw nail. Very little in taxidermy is easy, so, if you want to do taxidermy, plan on it being hard at first. Nobody wants to skin and flesh and wash and......, but, it is necessary. You can't cut corners for the most part and expect it to all work out. It's not too hard. It's a tough challenge.

    When something like this seems too hard, which, is the case with most taxidermy projects that I do when I'm learning something new, I treat it not as why is this so hard, but, this is a great challenge and I challenge myself to get down to that claw no matter how long it takes or how hard it is. To me, doing the ears is too hard as well as doing the nose, eyes, feet, skin prep and even mounting it. All daunting challenges that you can rise to!

  3. Claudia

    Claudia Member

    Hi, absolutely, it's not that I'm finding it hard at all, in fact it's coming quite easily to me, its just that I'm finding there are so many different ways to do the same animal and if it can be done in an easier way and still be OK I will, but if skinning to the claw is the way then I'll do that
    I've been told that where there is no muscle, skinning is not required as there's nothing to flesh and apparently tendons don't rot like muscle flesh does? Again its what I was told by another taxidermist. And so, apparently, rabbits don't have flesh that can rot past their ankles?
  4. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I hope you didn't take my post as a lecture. I intended it to be a pep talk, however, after re-reading it I realize it sounded more like a lecture.

    Any way, a rabbits foot down to the claw is mainly tendon and bone for sure, however, there are muscles on the foot and toes that if left untreated, could cause an oder and if it doesn't, it will surely shrink up as it dries. I always go all the way when it comes to removal of any meat no matter how small. I had to learn that because I wasn't always like that and my early mounts show that.

    Keep at it, you are doing fine!
  5. Claudia

    Claudia Member

    Haha not at all. Lectures are fine
    Yeah right, I was hoping there wasn't any flesh only because I'm scared of ruining the foot because of it being so small. Thats all. What about baby rabbits?
  6. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I use a #11 small scalpel. An exacto knife will work also as long as it has a blade that comes to a point, not curved like a normal knife. Work the toe skin down the toes tubing them out. Not much fleshing of the skin is involved. Those tubed toes will be filled with clay when mounting. Remove the foot at the joint where the claw meets the toes. I do this on squirrels and try to on rats also.

    If you can do all the toes without putting more than two or three little hoes in them, then you are better at it than me. It will get confusing at times and it will take a long time, however, speed and accuracy comes with time and practice. None of your mounts are going to be great mounts for a while so treat them as practice not masterpieces. Masterpieces will come much later.

    When I started mounting deer heads, I spent months practicing on changeout heads for eye sets noses and such. Spent hours altering forms that, when done, got thrown away. When you treat these mounts as practice pieces instead of special mounts you want so much to be perfect, then, You will not be afraid to try different methods and if you fail, just throw it away and start another.

    I'm not saying you are you think you are creating masterpieces, I'm just encouraging you to just go for it and expect some measure of success and a lot of failure. My first bird was a 1/2 feathered piece of swiss cheese when I was finished.
    Claudia likes this.
  7. Claudia

    Claudia Member

    Awesome thank you. Why can I ask if there's not much fleshing in the toe area do we need to cut got it and also remove the foot? I would've hoped to be able to leave the foot in from the ankle joint as the support structure?
    Problem here is I can't get stuff to make forms out of easily
  8. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    The meat's not on the skin, so you don't need to flesh the skin. The meat is on the foot. You can remove the foot and wire and clay replaces and forms your foot. Or you can take the skin down to the claw nail, remove all the meat from the bones, clean the bones well and use clay around the bones to replicate the muscle you took out. You really need to invest in a book or DVD. They would make everything much easier. Paying $120 for a DVD or $50 for a book would save you hours of trial and error, as well as money spent on materials. I have spent over a thousand dollars on them and regret none of it. I still get DVDs even though I don't do taxidermy anymore. It is well worth the cost. Oops, there I go preaching again. I can't help it.
  9. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    If you cut the fingers off at the hand you can then pull each finger to the claw individually. Use borax to get a firm grip. I use needle nose pliers to hold the finger and use my finger nails and #11 exacto knife to pry the finger down to the nail.
    D.Price from Outback Taxidermy did a tutorial on mounting a jackrabbit in Taxidermy Today back in the fall of 2015. You might still be able to google for the tutorial.
  10. Here is an album of pics showing how to skin out the toes with a similar method to what socalmountainman described
    Honey the Bean and magicmick like this.
  11. Claudia

    Claudia Member

    Thank you everyone
  12. Rae

    Rae New Member


    I have also read keeping that last knuckle and then injecting with a preservative to prevent shrinkage. Any opinions on this method?
  13. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    My opinion on injecting a preservative is; don't do it. My opinion as stated above is to remove the foot from the skin, tan the footless skin or dry preserve it and not worry about an injection that may or may not work.

    If you keep the toe or even the foot bones in, clean them from ALL meat and tan or dry preserve the bones along with the skin as they will be attached to each other at the nail.

    NO MEAT. NO NEED TO INJECT. That's the best way.

    Clay in the foot to replicate the foot as in life is the best way to not have shrinkage in the foot.