Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Today I did quite a few things! Firstly I skinned the four squirrels I got in the post... Two were very good, but two had a bit of fur falling out in their tails. I'm not sure why this is happening as I know they were frozen right after shooting. We'll see what happens though, even if it means replacement tails! That'll be a challenge!

I also soaked two hare pelts I received from someone on ebay to get rid of as much blood and dirt as I could. They had skinned the bodies out, but left the heads, legs and paws in. I removed the heads and kept the skulls. I noticed the pelts had a lot of tiny holes in them. These will be a challenge also. In the end if the pelts REALLY aren't suitable for mounting, maybe I can do pedestal mounts, as the faces are fine. I already have some lead hare earliners in, too. I need to buy some eyes for them, though. And I left the feet in again as I am not sure how to remove them... I left a post on, hopefully I'll get a reply.

Finally, I skinned some small rats out as I am trying to make space in my freezer. Got some stoats coming from Ireland and also some other ermine etc soon, I hope! And two more squirrels. Drowning in specimens!

Two of the rats are good for taxidermy so I tagged them and froze the skins. One was rotten so I threw it away, and the other, I made a hole in the eyelid and mouth, so I am salting it. I will dry it as a pelt.

That reminds me, my boyfriend skinned his first rat the other day! It was a cute little white one! I'm experimenting in salting them dry (they are currently hanging), before rehydrating in salt water and boraxing, and then mounting. I want to see if it makes any different, as I have lost many small animals and young animals to fur slip.

Tomorrow I have a lot of ebay post to prepare for postage, and hopefully I can get my mouse commissions, and those small rats done!

At least I now have five squirrels in the freezer to use for practice! One has white on the back of his ears, he's my favourite :)


  1. Hiya, was curious about salting pelts dry then rehydrating them - Could you elaborate on that a little?;o As in what exactly would you be doing, and what do you hope it will achieve? Had a problem with fur on my first attempt so I'm interested!

    1. Hi! Salting sets the fur and absorbs the moisture and undesirables out of the skin. It's also an essential step before tanning, to avoid the skins being too greasy (which will leak through the skin, and is pretty gross!)

      Salted skins can stay that way for ages! I tanned a polecat and a stoat I skinned in 2010 last month and although the tan was a bit dark, they turned out fine :)

      Basically the little rats always seem to slip, so by leeching out the fat and grease with the salt, and then mounting them with borax, I am hoping it will have altered the skin so that the fur won't slip this time. We'll see though!

  2. Ahhh.:D And for rehydrating them, just set them in a tub of water, or is it a more delicate process than that?^_^<3

    1. Yeah, put them in some water with some salt in it, and some detergent to degrease the skin (I use one called Fairy, it's blue. If you're in the States, then Dawn is the one to use - they have formaldehyde in them!)

      Then rinse it clean and put it in the tan, or dry-preserve/borax it.

  3. Ahh wonderful, thank you.^O^<3 Fairy it is.:D