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Has anyone attempted to tan their own snake skin? I've been researching through youtube mainly and found that practically all the tutorials are on rattlesnakes. I recently purchased three python skins from a taxidermist who only wanted the bones. I am attempting to tan them myself. So far I have only started with one to see if I can figure it out. 

Has anyone tanned both a rattlesnake and a python? The skins I got were not exactly "tube peeled" and so there is a very large band of tissue running down the spine. I tried to flesh it as best as I could. I got the fascia off for the most part but this band seems to be something else. At times I was able to get a bit lifted up and peeled off but in some areas no matter how much I scraped it would not come up. It was getting to the point where I began cutting some holes in the skin. I ended up leaving it on and I'm hoping that it works out. I put it in the tanning solution (50/50 isopropyl/glycerine), shook it twice a day for a week, and just pulled it out today to dry. In the video I watched the guy mentioned that when I pull it out I shouldn't smell anything but the isopropyl alcohol. I smelled the alcohol but there was also a hint of ... a death smell... not rotting, but dead. Have I totally messed it up? 

Should that smell have dissipated in the alcohol/glycerin solution? 

Here's the vid I watched on the solution portion: 

 

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I used that method with a cleaned dried corn snake skin and it worked ok. If I had to do it again I'd get one of the rep tan kits instead. 

I bought some home tanned boa skins that were not well tanned, stiff but usable for some smaller craft projects. There were similar fleshy parts along the spine and parts of the sides. I suspect that the constrictors either have thicker muscles there or have extra muscles that non-constrictors do not.  I soaked in lubristretch 2000 http://shop.trubondtanning.com/Lubri-Stretch-2000-Quart-LS2000qt.htm and was able then to work the skins softer and when the fleshy parts had soaked up enough, then scrape and peel off the stuck bits. 

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11 hours ago, Tiara said:

I used that method with a cleaned dried corn snake skin and it worked ok. If I had to do it again I'd get one of the rep tan kits instead. 

I bought some home tanned boa skins that were not well tanned, stiff but usable for some smaller craft projects. There were similar fleshy parts along the spine and parts of the sides. I suspect that the constrictors either have thicker muscles there or have extra muscles that non-constrictors do not.  I soaked in lubristretch 2000 http://shop.trubondtanning.com/Lubri-Stretch-2000-Quart-LS2000qt.htm and was able then to work the skins softer and when the fleshy parts had soaked up enough, then scrape and peel off the stuck bits. 

awesome! I will see if I can get ahold of some of that stuff. Right now my biggest concern is the smell. It has disappated some but do you know if that will go away? Does the lubristretch help with that?

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I use the 50/50 all the time.  But you have to clean the skin before you but it in the solution.  I use a knife that I haven't finished yet (no edge at all) and run it down the skin after tacking it to a 2x8 board scape it clean of flesh and membrane and it will be fine.

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The only true way to "TAN" a snake skin is with one of the reptile tanning kits Tiara mentioned. The solution of 50/50 alcohol/glycerin is NOT a tanning solution, it is strictly a preservative. I have had people use that method on copperhead skins and then want me to make them something with the skin. It doesn't work out well. When you use a true tanning solution you will see a change in the skin, instead of being almost see through the back side of the skin will be almost white. Tanning is a multi step process that changes the structure of the skin.

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On 10/28/2020 at 1:43 PM, Yankee said:

I use the 50/50 all the time.  But you have to clean the skin before you but it in the solution.  I use a knife that I haven't finished yet (no edge at all) and run it down the skin after tacking it to a 2x8 board scape it clean of flesh and membrane and it will be fine.

I did scrape the flesh side but the skins had been sitting in the freezer for a time, I also got them from a taxidermist in Iowa so I wonder if I would have had an easier time with a fresher kill. 

On 10/28/2020 at 2:35 PM, Ed in Tx said:

The only true way to "TAN" a snake skin is with one of the reptile tanning kits Tiara mentioned. The solution of 50/50 alcohol/glycerin is NOT a tanning solution, it is strictly a preservative. I have had people use that method on copperhead skins and then want me to make them something with the skin. It doesn't work out well. When you use a true tanning solution you will see a change in the skin, instead of being almost see through the back side of the skin will be almost white. Tanning is a multi step process that changes the structure of the skin.

Do you have a recommended tanning method? 

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On 11/4/2020 at 6:16 PM, Chief Filipino said:

I did scrape the flesh side but the skins had been sitting in the freezer for a time, I also got them from a taxidermist in Iowa so I wonder if I would have had an easier time with a fresher kill. 

Do you have a recommended tanning method? 

Tasco/Ritells tanning solution works well. Taxidermy arts carries the kit. www.taxidermyarts.com. 

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On 11/8/2020 at 1:43 PM, Ed in Tx said:

Tasco/Ritells tanning solution works well. Taxidermy arts carries the kit. www.taxidermyarts.com. 

Awesome thanks! I'll look into that :)

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