How to skin a snake

How to skin a snake

snake © by LongitudeLatitude

Taxidermists are just people and I can tell you that people are afraid of snakes! In fact, there are several taxidermists who won’t even go near the animal, no matter the sum of money involved! Whether this is because of the fear of the animal, or because of the difficultly involved in the process, one can never be sure. However, done properly, a snake can be a beautiful addition to a taxidermists collection

If you live in certain areas of Australia, America or Africa then encountering a snake is quite a common experience and therefore a specimen can be easily obtained if you are prepared to kill the creature. This is most easily done by hitting the animal with a large stick. However, I do not recommend you hunt for your own specimen as many snakes can be poisonous and dangerous, therefore it’s easier to buy a recently killed specimen. So don’t try to kill a snake on your own, buy a specimen instead.

It’s relatively easy to skin a snake compared to most animals used in taxidermy. When doing so, you will find that snake skins are easier to remove on recently killed animals.

Keep in mind that snakes shed their skins naturally by having a break in their old skin around the area of the neck and then crawling out of this location. But when you skin a snake, a different process should be applied.

A long slit through the entire underside length of the snake should be cut (from the tail end up to be base of the skull). From this, the snakes skin can then be pulled out, removing the bones and flesh found in the process. This method is much more preferable than to skin the snake in the same way that it itself in nature i.e. cutting round the neck and dragging down – as doing so usually involves the damaging of scales.

The remaining bones and skulls inside the head can be removed by using tweezers and small metal tools. With the skin removed, it should then be placed in taxidermy preserving chemicals.

Mounting the snake

I will now discuss an unconventional method of mounting a snake skin. To find a more conventional approach check out book Taxidermy Made Easy by clicking here.

After the snake has been dried from the preserving chemicals, fill the insides of it with sand or preferably sawdust. This should be started from the tail and then sewn using a fine thread and needle that matches the color of the skin.

This method requires you to compact the sand or sawdust every couple of inches or so. This process of sewing is continued so that the shape of the snake is firm but is not bloated past its original size. Also, keep in mind when using this method that you should position the snake in the final position you want it laid in, as it can become more difficult to move and mold the snake after this process is complete.

Alternatively before applying the compacted sawdust, a wire can be placed inside the snake and extended to the whole length. This allows it to be modelled and positioned more easily later on and can also allow for some upright poses.

To find out more details on how to easily mount a snake then check out the latest book: Taxidermy Made Easy – available now!

It is possible to identify the specie of a snake based on its shed skin. If you happen to stumble on one, you must not in any case pick the shed up with your bare hands, rather, you must wear a glove to ensure or make use of a plastic bag. The presence of a shed skin indicates that a snake has been living within the vicinity for a while. Most snakes often undergo some colour changes prior to the time they shed their skins, for instance Boas and Pythons will generally go dull or darker, while boids will generate lighter colour bellies. You must not pick a shed snake skin because it is believed that between 15 and 90% of snakes carry some strains of Salmonella bacteria on their shed skins, thus you must avoid any body contact if you want to avoid bacterial infection.

How to skin a snake

Shedding skins is not fun for most snakes, because they don’t want to be touched around such times. Most snakes will often get cranky prior to their shedding period, and even if they try to shed their skins in one piece, many snakes will become snappy and they may have patchy sheds.

Once you detect the she snake skin, make sure you identify the place where the shed skin is found as such will guide you into detecting where the snake itself has been hiding. Secondly, experts suggest that you check the snake shell skin head to ensure that both eyecaps (spectacles) have come out and if not you will have to remove the retained eyecaps.

If you have to get into their enclosure while searching for other parts of their sheds, make sure you don’t handle the snakes with your bare hands, as they become aggressive around such period. Secondly, you should consider making use of snake shell Aid products- you only need this if you keep a snake as a pet and I is finding it difficult to shed its skin in one piece. A typical Shell aid product will contain water, humidifier and emollients and you can sprinkle them on the snake’s body to speed up the shedding of its skin.

Fresh snake skins will normally attract mites if not discovered on time, therefore you need to ensure that a snake shell is properly disposed off with the use of a hand glove , into a plastic and inside a waste disposal or bin. Once the skin has been disposed off, then you need to search for the location of the skin, you may call an animal control agency to help you in this case to make it easier for handling.

Go back to the How to get rid of snakes home page.

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How to skin a snake

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You may have seen them in one of the roadside tourist shops in Florida, Texas or any number of other states. Perhaps you were coming around the corner, browsing the snow globes and other knickknacks, when you saw the raised face of a rattlesnake ready to strike. Luckily, this wasn’t a lost reptile looking for food, it was a stuffed, very dead rattlesnake. Taxidermy for most small animals is a process that is more about detail than it is about speed. A stuffed rattlesnake sells in those stores, or else they wouldn’t carry them–and someone has to stuff them.

Skinning and De-Fleshing the Snake

Kill the rattlesnake. It’s pretty obvious that you don’t want to try to stuff a live poisonous reptile. But even seemingly dead rattlesnakes can produce venom. One easy way to ensure that the rattler is dead is to put it in a freezer for seven days to let it freeze solid. Be sure to leave it for seven days–people have been bitten by rattlers that were in the freezer for just a day or two.

Thaw out the snake in your refrigerator for a day and let the outer skin get loose. Note where you put the snake and leave the door shut. If you open it and the snake is in a different spot, you should put it back in the freezer. If it hasn’t moved, you are ready to begin.

Measure the length and width of the head using the measuring tape. You must use these measurements to order your snake head mold. If the mold is too big, you will stretch the skin; if it’s too small, the skin will bunch up or hang down.

Pull the fangs and teeth from the mouth using vice grips. Taxidermists disagree on the best time for this step, but because a dead snake with fangs can still bite, sooner is always better than later. Use caution here, as some of the venom may have thawed and can remain deadly for years.

Cut the skin loose beginning at the snake’s anus. This will be the vent-looking slit in the snake’s tail. Use manicure scissors and cut an even split, first working down from the vent to the rattle and then working upward toward the neck. Loosen the skin around the vent and work your fingers around, separating the meat from the skin. Use caution so you don’t tear the skin.

Cut the upper lip loose from the snake head. Cut the lower jaw skin and then through the cartilage on the nose. Cut the skin around both eyes loose so that you can separate the nose, jaw and lips from the skull. Scrape the lower jaw, the lip line and the nose area to remove the flesh from the skin. Lift the skin from the head area. Remove any excess flesh from the skin.

Set the meat aside in a bowl of ice water and salt. The rattlesnake meat can be used for food and is considered a delicacy in many areas.

Tanning the Hide

Pin the skin to a long board with small nails or pins. Do not stretch the skin. Start in the center of the skin and the board and pin the outer edges flat. Work your way up the sides of the skin until the entire length of the skin is secured to the board.

Dry the skin for about 10 hours and apply a generous coat of tanning oil using a new paintbrush. Let the coat dry for 10 hours, remove the pins, flip the skin over and apply another generous coat of tanning oil. At this point, the skin should not curl. If it does, flatten it out again with the pins.

Set two sheets of paper towel over the length of the skin and gently set a flat board on top of the board the skin is on. Let this sit for about an hour and then remove the top board and paper towels. Lightly brush with the grain of the scales to remove the scale covers.

Mounting the Snake

Rinse the skin in a relaxer before mounting it to prevent drying.

Cut a 1/8-inch gauge wire to the exact length of your snake. Twist the wire into the pose in which you wish the snake to be mounted. Insert the back of the foam head onto the wire and secure it with some super glue.

Cut off a small portion of the rattlesnake nose on the foam head. The cartilage from the actual nose should still be on the skin. Drill small holes into the foam head for the pits. Slide the skin over the foam head and position the glass eyes so that the pupils are vertical. Using a small amount of Critter Clay behind the eyes on the foam head will help hold them in place. Adjust the lip line and eye area with the rest of the head.

Fill the skin cavity with vermiculite. As you move your way up from the tail, sew up the split in the skin with some Spiderwire fishing line. Massage the vermiculite into the body of the snake gently and pack it in. At this point the body should be still a little flexible. Mount it in the desired pose and use glue to secure it.


Senior Member

I know that some of you on here have skinned out Rattlesnakes before and put them on a board?

I’ve skinned the snake, got the barn wood, but I’m just now sure how I want to attach it. I’ve thought about cutting a piece of felt out, putting the skin on the felt, then attaching the felt to the board.

Any ideas or pictures.



Trizey, a snake skin on old barnwood looks good attached with antiqued furniture tacks. You can find them at craft stores.

A light wipe on the skin with Armorall will make the skin shine like it did on the snake.


Senior Member


Senior Member

I’ve used borax or table salt to preserve skins in the past, In you post sounds like you need to preserve the skin first, then attach to barn board.

I turn the skin inside up and attach to different piece of wood than the barn wood (due to staining) using small brads or pins attach to wood stretching as you go, scrape excess goodies from inside of skin and cover with salt or regular old “twenty mule team borax” from the store(laundry soap area), wait a couple of days then replace. after a couple of weeks, brush borax from skin and remove nails, then you’re ready to stick to the barn wood. In a nutshell thats how I do it.
Somebody jump in hear with other ideas.

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How to skin a snake

Making a snakeskin hatband can take several days. But don’t rush through the process, as improperly prepared snakeskin can mold or become messy. If you don’t want to kill a snake for its skin, snakeskin can be purchased through many online vendors. Snakeskin prepping kits can also be purchased online or where hunting supplies are sold. Before removing a snake’s skin, make sure it is dead.

Prepping the Snakeskin

Kill the snake by chopping off its head with a sharp tool. Shovels work well for decapitating snakes.

Turn over the snake belly-side up and insert the scissors at the neck. Cut down the length of the skin. Peel the skin from the snake.

Scrape away any remaining meat and fat from the inside of the skin.

Mix 1 part glycerin with 1 part rubbing alcohol. You need enough liquid so the snakeskin will be fully covered.

Place the snakeskin in the container and cover for 48 hours, stirring once at the 24-hour mark.

Remove the skin from the container. Rinse with warm water and rub with glycerin.

Hang the skin for another 24 hours, wiping with a clean cloth when done.

Making the Hatband

Measure the area of the hat where the snakeskin will be placed.

Lay the snakeskin on a flat surface. Cut the snakeskin to match the length of the area on the hat the snakeskin will wrap.

Turn the snakeskin over flesh-side out, and sew the ends together lengthwise. This will create a long tube.

Turn the snakeskin right-side out so the skin is visible. Properly prepared snakeskin is very pliable.

Sew the ends of the snakeskin tube together to create a circle, then fit over the hat.

Introduction: How to Cook a Snake

How to skin a snake

How to skin a snake

How to skin a snake

Roadkill. It’s what’s for dinner when the apocalypse comes.

Learn how to cook snake, and you’ll be ready for almost anything.

1 snake
1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
1/2 c egg whites (I used the pre-packaged eggwhites to avoid wasting yolks)
splash black pepper
1/2″ oil (depends on pan size)

Step 1: Acquire Fresh Snake

This is probably going to be the hard part.

Snakes do a fine job keeping the world free of unnecessary rodents; don’t kill them unless absolutely necessary! That said, if you do kill a snake, or find one dead, don’t let it go to waste.

The snake in this Instructable was run over by a car; Eric found it a couple minutes later, its heart still beating, in the process of expiring by the side of the road. Since we knew both time and cause 1 of death, and refrigerated the carcass promptly, it was safe to eat.

A bit of internet research identified it as a probable Black Rat Snake, a non-poisonous Indiana resident.

1 Note that snakes can also die from eating poisoned rodents. You dont want to eat a snake dosed up with warfarin or other toxin 2 . Pay attention to context.

2 It’s apparently fine to cook and eat poisonous snakes- cooking is sufficient to inactivate any venomous residue.

Step 2: Skin and Clean Snake

Cut off the head, strip off the skin, and remove the guts as described in this Instructable.

Rinse the carcass, and wipe down with a clean paper towel, then cut the body in to manageable lengths with a sharp knife or pair of poultry shears.

Step 3: Dredge

We’re going to treat the snake much like you would a small lake fish, though you can also treat it like chicken. This is my favorite way to cook bluegill.

I dipped the segments in a bit of egg white (milk would also do) before dredging them in a pepper and sweet cornmeal mix (actually just Jiffy mix with some extra black pepper).

Knock off the excess.

Step 4: Fry

Heat about 3/4″ of canola, vegetable, or peanut oil in a heavy frying pan (I prefer cast iron) until quite hot. A bit of dry batter should bubble nicely.

Add the snake pieces one at a time to avoid dropping the temperature in the pan too quickly.
Use tongs to keep your fingers away from the sizzling hot oil, watch for dangerous splatters, and use a screen if necessary to prevent mess.

Turn the snake pieces just as the batter begins to turn golden- by the time it starts to brown the snake will be overcooked. There’s not much meat on the bones, and the muscles are thin and lean. (Yes, we mostly overcooked ours, but it was still tasty.)

Step 5: Drain and Cool

Remove the snake pieces before they’re quite done- they’ll continue to cook after removal from the pan- and set them on paper towels to drain and cool.

If you’ve still got more batter, chop up some veggies, dip them in the egg whites and/or milk, dredge in batter, and fry. You can also just mix the liquid into the batter and fry hushpuppies. It’s all good.

We fried some fresh okra from the farmers’ market.

Step 6: Serve

Serve your fried snake bits warm, and provide napkins- this is finger food. Accompany with most anything you’d serve with fried fish.

There should be a line of muscle along either side of the spine; this is the thickest piece of meat on the snake’s body. The ribs are quite firmly attached to the spine, so scrape your teeth over them firmly to remove the rest of the meat from the ribs.

Since our snake was a bit overcooked it mostly tasted fried, but some of the thicker bits had a distinctive nutty snake flavor. I’m definitely looking forward to getting my hands on another (hopefully bigger) snake and trying this again!

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How to skin a snake

The other thing is that the grasshoppers needed to fear the frogs as that’s their natural predator but the snakes help save the grasshoppers by eating the frogs. If all the snakes went extinct, there’ll be less animals to hunt the frogs, therefore the grasshoppers would be in a more vulnerable risk of getting eaten by the frogs. There is a terrible situation which is if the hawks went extinct. The hawks needed to be there to try to get rid of the snakes. Snakes sounds scary because their venomous bite can be strong enough to kill some people. If hawks went extinct, the snake would overpopulate and humans needed to fear more and would be in a more vulnerable risk of snakebites. In 1970, the bald eagle was threatened by the government decided to restrict hunting because the bald eagle eats some small scary animals like the mouse, rat, snake, worm, etc. and these animal overpopulation might occur if the bald eagle went extinct and it would affect and harm human beings so much. If hunting bald eagle didn’t stop, some parts of America would be overwhelmed by snakes which sounds very scary. The snakes would start to eat the frogs up and there might be more grasshoppers. The frogs are fun to observe, which affects some people. The other thing is that the frogs needed to fear the snakes as that’s their natural predator but hawks help save the frogs by eating the snakes. If all the hawks went extinct, there’ll be less animals to hunt the snakes, therefore the frogs wowould be in a more vulnerable risk of getting eaten by the snakes.

How to skin a snake

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How To Skin A Snake For Bow Backing

how to skin a snake and dry it for bow backing. i catch live venomous snakes so that they have less damage to skin. i use it for backing bows as decoration, etc. in this primitive bow building video clay hayes shows how to back a selfbow with artificial snake skin. these artificial skins are available from a snake skin bow backing can be a beautiful addition to any traditional bow. in this video clay hayes shows how to back a sinew backed osage recurve bow. a detailed tutorial on applying snake skins to primitive bows. for inquiries of primitive bows or snake skins, visit huntprimitive snake skins properly a detailed video on applying snake skin backing to traditional bows. at least once a week we get a message asking us how we prepare our snakes for bows and leatherwork so allison cleaned out our freezer and put a full video this video provides a detailed, step by step instruction for applying snake skin to the back of a bow using a yew self bow, a rattlesnake skin and natural hide glue how to back a self bow or laminated bow with artificial snake skin #selfbow #longbow #snakeskin #tradarchery #primitive #primitivebow. tanning a snake skin. do not do this at home! john shows how to kill, skin, and gut a rattlesnake and also how to tan a snake hide. part 1; putting copperhead snake skins on the back of a longbow. part 2, putting copperhead skins on the back of a longbow. part 5, finished mulberry bow with copperhead snake skins and leather wraps.

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Want a snakeskin belt but have issues with either the price or the idea of using some animal’s skin? No fear–you can have your snakeskin belt for a fraction of the cost and make it from real or faux snakeskin by simply sewing your own. While sewing with various hides is usually complicated, making a belt is a great way to determine if this type of project is for you. The process is simple and you will likely find that sewing your own accessories is far more accessible than you previously believed.

Take your measurements to determine how long the belt should be. If you wear your pants around your hips, measure there instead. Measure over your clothes because they will factor into the length of the belt. Add six inches to the measurement to determine how long your canvas piece should be and six inches to determine how long your snakeskin piece should be. Therefore, if you want a belt that is 32 inches long because your waist is 26 inches, your canvas piece will be 32 inches long and the snakeskin piece will be 34 inches long.

The canvas piece should be the actual width that you want the belt to be (probably not less than one inch) and the snakeskin piece will need to be twice this plus about 1/2 inch. Therefore, if you want a belt that is two inches wide, your canvas piece should be two inches wide and your snakeskin piece 4 1/2 inches wide.

Cut the pieces of fabric using your measurements. Use the metal ruler to guide your scissors as you cut the canvas. To cut the snakeskin, lay it flat on the cutting board and cut it with the razor knife. Use the metal ruler to keep these cuts straight as well.

Sew the canvas strip into the snakeskin. This will increase the durability of your belt and make it a little more substantial. Place the canvas strip in the center of the snakeskin. The side of the skin you want to show when the belt is done should be face down at this time. Leave an inch of extra fabric on each end of the canvas. Fold the snakeskin over the canvas strip so the edges of the skin overlap in the middle. Pin them in place, then sew down the center of the strip using a zigzag stitch. This will secure the snakeskin around the canvas strip and will not show on the front of the belt.

Sew the ends of the belt over. One end can be folded on an angle if you like. The other end should be looped around the middle bar of the loop buckle before being sewn securely. You can use the machine and a zigzag stitch for this or you can hand sew the ends using the needle and thread. Once you are done, your new snakeskin belt is ready to wear. Simply thread the angled end of the belt through the loop buckle, pull it as tight as you want and enjoy your glamorous (and homemade) snakeskin belt.