1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

How to skin a Porcupine

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by james_2000, Oct 25, 2007.

  1. james_2000

    james_2000 New Member


    I've just come into possesion of a porcupine and I was wanting to know if I had to skin it a certain way or not. What would be the best way to do it for a lifesize mount? Do I use the same tanning process as on deer and coyotes? Do I skin all the way down the to the last knuckle on the feet or just split the pads? I've noticed in some reference photos the quills on the back of the porcupine are standing up. Do they do this on their own or do I have to add something between the hide and the form to make them stand up? Is it necessary to degrease the skin? Any information anyone has would be extremely helpful. Thanks!!

  2. fursupplier

    fursupplier Guest

    Just free advice from one forumite...
    They are easy to skin, even cased. The secret, shhh.... is....
    You soak the whole porky in warm water for 30-45 minutes. (you can use cold water for an hour or so too) This softens and "debarbs" the quills ***temporarily*** - when they dry out again they are as sharp or sharper then before.

    Don't soak it any longer or you might get slippage. They are pretty tough though, like beavers.

    If you add Dawn to your pre-skinning soak you will get rid of a lot of the odor and mess in the quills.

    Once skinned, due to the quills it's almost impossible to flesh them on a beam like a coon or coyote. You can defat with scissors and flesh on a fleshing machine. They have a very thick, red meaty saddle that has to come off. There's some fat under it. The hide itself is white, thin, and feels bumpy.

    Once you have it fleshed, you can tan it. Leaving the quills soaking for too long can ruin them. Liqua-Tan or some other rub-on tan might be a better choice. I've rubbed tanning crystals in to the hide before and that seems to work well. Few years ago I did one full immersion with EZ-100 and that one also came out nice, but had some slippage.

    It is totally necessary to degrease the skin - they have oils in the quills that STINK, even when the hide is fully dry. Make sure to flesh around the base of the tail and near the anus, this is where most of the most of the super rancid smelling fat is. They are also very fatty, especially under that red meaty saddle. By cleaning and degreasing the skin, you also remove tons of germs, which makes it safer to work on once it's dry.

    Always wear gloves. They will take the quillings your fingers could have had.
    Keep your hands on the leather side only until you must touch the hair side. A thick paper bag between your hand and the fur (quills) side will do wonders to protect you.

    The quills can be made to stand up like any other fur. Grooming, babysitting, and carding. Use a good amount of hide paste if you want to get good stand-up effects.

    Truth be told I don't think anyone's going to care about the foot pads. People seem amazed that porkies can be mounted, period. LOL. Skin the feet as you want to skin them.

    You will lose some quills. Save and sell them. If the patch is less then about 3" x 3", or it's just quills falling out and the guard hair is ok, nobody is going to notice.

    Male porcupines have less guard hairs in the rump, so you see the quills on their lower back and rump more. Both sexes only raise the quills when they alarmed. pbase.com or other reference sites should help you to figure out the pose. You might want to save all the incisor teeth to embed in to the head of your form too.

    They aren't difficult, just tedious and smelly. Take your time.

    Best advice on porkies I got from the old forum: If you see it start to fall or you drop it, DON'T TRY TO CATCH IT. Let it fall. LOL.

  3. Frank from PA

    Frank from PA Frank's other brother, Frank.

    Great response FS. Very informative. Thanks, Frank.
  4. oldterryr

    oldterryr Terry's in Heaven with no worries at all.

    i tan mine in krowtann and flesh as normal but careful - i case skin them and always manage to get about 12-10000 in my hands - to get quills to stand up dry the porky upside down and groom him the way you want the quills to stay
  5. RF

    RF New Member

    Oldterryr are you leaving the Porky in the Krowtann for the 3 or 4 days? If so have you had any problems with slippage? I was thinking about trying the Krowtann.
  6. oldterryr

    oldterryr Terry's in Heaven with no worries at all.

    i have done about 6 in the last year and never had any slippage yet - leave in 3-4 days
  7. james_2000

    james_2000 New Member

    I just wanted to thank everyone for their info on the porky it has help out alot.But one more thing no one has said any hting about salting dont i have to salt him like i would do a deer and dry out the hide before i tanned it?
  8. I did 3 with Krowtann and never had them ship. Left them in three to four days.
  9. I also did mine in Krowtann and had no slippage...for the few loose quills there were I just put them in a box and let them dry out and supergulked them back on the hide.
  10. 1stManna

    1stManna Guest

    * :)
  11. not to start another debate but pickling is not as easy as just plain Krowtanning and degreasing of course degreasing first...easier to tan without too much handling and less chance of getting quilled..also forgot to mention newspaper is probably the best surface to work on (newspaper on board) so you don't loose too many quills altogether
  12. oldterryr

    oldterryr Terry's in Heaven with no worries at all.

    i did degrease with white gas too - i forgot to mention it - george's favorite degreasing liquid is whtie gas
  13. nina5150

    nina5150 Active Member

    what if you are going to use DP?????do you still have to degrease????
  14. Helicity

    Helicity Squirrels – Natures Road Bumps

    I just saw a porky on the side of the road today...you can sell the quills?
  15. even if you DP you still want to degrease...and Helocity yes you can dry and sell quills...alot of Native Americans have crafts made from real porky quills...if you decide to pull the quills and dry them I reccommend rolling the porky in newspaper to draw the quills out the pluck them from the newspaper...any heaveir material and you risk damaging the quills
  16. Jan

    Jan New Member

    I always degrease with white gas, and it works like a charm.
  17. nina5150

    nina5150 Active Member

    whats the other alternatives to "white gas"??will any degreaser work??and is it done before or after skinning?thanks