Maybe it's your first attempt at taxidermy or you just want to try your hand at something new. You can mount rattlesnake skins to a board with or without experience. Rattlesnakes, native to the Southern and Western United States, are venomous. Their skins are attractive, however, and mount well. With a little effort you can mount one.
Use a knife to cut off the rattlesnakes head. Make a cut from the neck of the snake to just above the rattles of the tail. This cut should be on the belly of the snake. Remove the skin from the snake’s body. Run your finger under the skin starting at the neck and sliding it down towards the tail. Remove the flesh as you go. Cut the rattle section off with your knife. The flesh should be completely removed from the skin. Discard the flesh, rattle and head (or use it for another chosen purpose). Keep the skin.
Place the skin on your work surface, scales side down. Use a putty knife to scrape away any flesh or tissue that is still attached to the skin. You can use a sharper knife, just don't cut through the skin as you scrape.
Use a paint brush to apply a commercial tanning solution to the inside of the snake’s skin. Place the skin in a shady location and allow it to dry completely.
Repeat Step 3 two more times, for three applications total. Allow the skin to dry between tanning applications.
Cut your display board to your desired shape and size. Use wood stain to color the wood. Use a wood sealant to protect the wood. Allow all stain and sealant to dry completely.
Use a paint brush to apply contact cement to the inside of the snake’s skin. Lay your snake skin out on your mounting board and position it as desired. Press the skin against the board with the contact cement down. Smooth the skin out so that it is flat against the mounting board. Let it dry to complete your rattlesnake skin mounting.
Things You'll Need
- Putty knife
- Paint brush
- Commercial tanning solution
- Display board
- Wood stain
- Wood sealant
- Contact cement
- Aruba Island rattlesnake image by spi4u2 from Fotolia.com