Snake skeleton

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Snake skeleton

Postby swazi » Wed Oct 31, 2007 5:19 pm

There was a discussion on venomdoc in January, BV also participated, on how to (don't know how to phrase this..) clean / create / extract a snakes skeleton.

They discussed 3 methods:

1. Boil the snake until the meat fall off the bone
2. Give the mealworms a treat..
3. Use ... beetles

The boiling method sounded the easiest, so in went the snake - and out came at least 10 pieces of snake (and my lunch) :smt078 with the meat sill tough as hell.

The beetles are not an option, I have no idea how or where to find these critters so it's down to the mealworms...

If say, the python is 2m long, how many worms will I need and how long will the whole process take?
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Postby Bushviper » Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:48 pm

This is going to take a while. Clean off the body as much as possible. Cut off any meat that you can and then put the rest in a meal worm culture.

If you do not remove as much of the meat as possible then it will attract flies and the maggots are horrible and mess up the bones of the skull.

If you put this out in the veld you will have wild beetles that will also come and help themselves. You do run the risk of a jackal running off with your dead python.

Once there are just bones left you can clean off the connective tissue with a tweezer and a scalpel. Wash it in bleach (but not too long or else it disintegrates) and leave to dry. The ribs are probably going to all fall off and then you can superglue them back on again.
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Postby Iggy » Wed Oct 31, 2007 8:29 pm

swazi, I sympathise, we also tried the boiling method, my husband boiled it in our kombuis in our little flat where we stayed at the time, just below the lodge, and I couldn't figure out how to get the stink out of the air, let alone our flat, for days....it was AWFUL!!!!
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Postby armata » Wed Oct 31, 2007 9:31 pm

has anyone tried ants?
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Postby swazi » Thu Nov 01, 2007 7:58 am

Iggy: did it work?
We boiled the pot outside on a gas stove, must say it was a horrible experience.
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Postby boing » Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:28 am

We just give the snake to our Taxidermist who does the boiling thing and then the whole puzzle of building it back together for us. He loves that kind of thing and we get a nicely mounted skeleton to use in the end!! I guess not everyone has their own Taxidermist floating around though...
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Postby Iggy » Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:55 am

Swazi, no it didn't work for us either, the whole thing pretty much disintegrated...I'm actually glad, since we haven't done it again since and I don't think my stomach could have handled it!! What we did try later with a little python was putting it in a mesh bag and burying it for about 6 months. The bones came out very clean but didn't remain fully intact and as it was very small we never got around to gluing all the vertebrae and ribs together again.
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Postby Bushviper » Thu Nov 01, 2007 5:38 pm

At about R1000 a metre I know there was someone who did these skeletons. I have no idea of the price still stands because this was a long time ago.
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Postby Graeme » Thu Nov 01, 2007 5:47 pm

Ha ha, this comes full circle back to yesterdays discussion of barf inducing jobs.
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Postby swazi » Fri Nov 02, 2007 2:24 pm

There must be a way to do this, I am going to keep on trying. Think the worms are next.
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Postby gaboon » Sat Nov 03, 2007 11:19 am

There was a episode on dirty jobs, only swa from when they introduced the skull to the beetles and most of the meat was already off. I think the trick is to boil it at a low heat for a good 10 hours or so (like you would an oxtail stew). not sure what beetles they were. does anyone know what it would cost to have a 1.5 metre gaboon stuffed?
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Postby elapid » Sat Nov 03, 2007 1:02 pm

The beetle they use are called "dermestid beetles" , I bought mind from SABS in PTA

The best way i have found to do skulls and bones is a process called "maceration".

Maceration is a process by letting the meat rot off in water. overseas they heat the water (as seen on "Dirty Jobs"). However in SA we don't need to heat the water because our climate is warm enough in summer months.
Basically what i do is submerge the skull/skeleton in water and add 1 tea spoon of yeast per +-5 liters of water to accelerate bateria growth. The process takes about 3 to 4 weeks and the product comes out clean, but yellow. Then I take the skull/skeleton after that and put it in 30vol peroxide for 3 hours to give it a white finish.

I have had success with boiling however i have found the bones to be soft and break easily where as in maceration they stay hard.

Hope this helps.

PS if you think the boiling method stinks, you in for a big surprise with maceration.
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Postby Long John Silver » Fri Nov 09, 2007 6:28 pm

Sounds nice on toast!!
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Postby bugs » Sat Nov 10, 2007 11:35 am

Got a request for you guys. I want to tattoo a snake skeleton on my arm and I'm looking for some nice pics and designs if anyonecan help please
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Postby elapid » Sat Nov 10, 2007 5:36 pm

Ill see what i can do bugs, Pm me details
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