SNAKES—HOW TO SKIN AND TAN
SNAKES—HOW TO SKIN AND TAN—Can you tell me how to skin a snake and tan its skin?
It is easy enough to skin the snake, but I can’t tell you a good way to tan the skin. To skin it, cut the skin loose around the neck and split it down on the underside in a straight line to the point of the tail, then you can strip the skin off easily. I have seen rattlesnakes skinned and tanned, but never any other kind of snake. Don’t skin one that has bit itself. You can tell that by the color of the flesh— if the flesh isn’t clear white leave it alone. The way these skins were tanned was by tacking them onto a board, flesh side out, the tacks close together along the edges. Powdered salt and alum, about equal parts I think, was then spread all over the skin, and it was left to dry. When dry it is softened by rubbing on the flesh side with the bowl of a spoon, but they never get perfectly soft and always rustle like paper. After it is worn or handled a while the scales will begin to come off and they get ugly then. I don’t know of any other way to tan them or of any way to fix the scales solidly.
Harding, A.R.. 3001 Questions and Answers. Columbus, Oh: A.R. Harding, 1913.
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