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Hair Slip On 4 Consecutive Rodents...

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by RunaFox, May 23, 2022.

  1. RunaFox

    RunaFox New Member

    Hi Everyone,
    I've been peeking in on this forum for some time for the how-tos and stuff, and I would finally like to ask a question.

    I'm a complete beginner, and so far my mounting experience consists of several mice, two squirrels and a duck. I use a pet shop for buying feeder mice and rats because I don't have a huge setup, I'm working in a small room in my house, and rodents are perfect for practicing on... what does it matter if I make a few mistakes on them but at the same time learn? I bought a pack of 10 mice and everyone turned out fine. The rats however came in a pack of 4, and every since one of them slipped. I'm talking hair and dermis coming out in huge chunks.

    The first 3 I used just borax. I got to various stages between sewing up and two or three days after mounting before all the hair began to sip. But the fourth one I went to the expense of buying para-tan, tanning oil number 2, and a big bag of baking soda for the nuetralisation. I followed the para-tan instructions, making up one 10th of the batch size as I didn't have 5lb of drained skin (I didn't want to waste a whole bucket of solution on one rat!). I added the right amount of salt to the solution, also reduced down to a one-tenth amount. I basified properly cheking PH and all was good (I'm a stickler for instructions!).

    I have a sneaky suspicion it's one of two (or both things): 1) becase the rats are pet feeder food they've been defrosted and re-frozen a dozen times between the source and my work room. I read that repeated defrosting and feeezing before removing a pelt from any animal can cause baterial growth between freezeings and the hair to slip. Or 2) when drying the rats after washing with my hair dryer the heat is damaging the pelt. I don't have a cold function on it, but the coolest setting doesn't really feel warm.

    Can anyone think of any reason why the 10 mice from the same freezer turned out fine, but the whole 4 pack slipped?

    Thanks and nice to meet you all!
  2. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    You have no idea on how they were handled prior to you getting them, condition of them etc etc. Your probably not doing anything wrong it’s the specimens your getting which is the issue.
    RunaFox likes this.

  3. RunaFox

    RunaFox New Member

    Thank you, Frank, for the reply. I was hoping that was the case, otherwise I'd be doing something way off wrong. I guess I'll see if I can get out to another pet shop and try them from somewhere else.
    Frank E. Kotula likes this.
  4. Penczak

    Penczak Active Member


    I agree with Frank.

    I'd like to persuade you to try a coon or a squirrel something bigger and nicer then a rat. Perhaps a bird.
    Kudos to you for mounting all the mice. If you can skin all those little guys. I think you have what it takes.
    Please take my advice and skip the rats. Move on up... You're ready.
    I say this for no other reason than to help you progress faster.

    When I started mounting small animals all I ever used was Borax. You want it clean, but all the moisture can cause slipping too. You want that skin as dry as possible yet not to dry before it sets up. That Borax will help.
    I've mounted Leopards. Lions, Alaskan Kodiak Brown Bears even Elephants, I never mounted a mouse or rat.
    I think you can skip those, too. ;)
  5. rats tend to slip a lot, try soaking the skin in isopropyl alcohol or turpentine for a few days before mounting
  6. RunaFox

    RunaFox New Member

    Thank you, Penczac! What you said is real confidence boost! I have a couple squirels under my belt already, and I just came by another and a rabbit - so it seems I have plenty to do that's a little better than rats!

    I hope one day to come across a fox. Maybe even something bigger, but British wildlife doesn't come much bigger, I'm afraid.

    Thanks for your advice!
  7. RunaFox

    RunaFox New Member

    Hi bluebrush,

    Can the container be plastic or would metal/glass be better when working with turpentine? Would a small lidded bucket do the job.

    Thanks for the advice!
  8. yes a plastic container should be fine when working with either turpentine or iso, lidded is also preferable as both can evaporate quite quickly.
    RunaFox likes this.
  9. Similarly, I soak rats in denatured alcohol/methylated spirits while they thaw, I haven't had any slips since I began doing that. I then skin, flesh, split everything and soak again (clean solution) before applying borax and mounting.
  10. RunaFox

    RunaFox New Member

    Thanks for the advice, RoeBuck. I'll give that a go. I was defrosting them in a plastic bag just in the fridge. I'll try defrosting in methylated spirits next time :)
    RoeBuck likes this.
  11. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Never thaw anything in a closed sealed plastic bag , that is probably your issue, it’s not able to breath . Always take out , I won’t even let it sit on plastic, I put it on a towel or paper towels on top of the plastic . I thaw everything in a A/C room in a baby pool on top of towels with a towel thrown across the top . Your thawing much smaller critters but it would work the same . The towel helps it hold the clod and thaw slowly and at the same time breath .
    RoeBuck likes this.
  12. No worries! It helps a lot and strengthens the skin a lot, makes them a lot easier to work with :)

    And defrosting in a plastic bag is definately not helping the issue - it promotes bacteria and causes slip - found that out the hard way!