Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ency of syrup; in the former case it should be dusted upon the skin by means of a small sieve; in the latter it is necessary to apply it with a brush. Arsenical soap should be used only upon skins which are intended to be kept for a long time before being mounted. It is composed of the following ingredients : powdered arsenic 4 lb., camphor 11 lb., salts of tartar 3 oz., powdered lime 1 oz., bar soap 1 lb.

The soap should be cut into very fine slices, put into a tin dish with warm water, and stirred over a moderate fire until thoroughly dissolved; the powdered lime and salts of tartar should then be added and mixed with the soap. The preparation should next be removed from the fire, the powdered arsenic, and lastly the camphor (powdered and dissolved in a little alcohol) added, stirring the mixture all the while. The whole should have the consistency of flour paste; if it be too thick add a little water, taking care not to hold it over the fire after the camphor has been added, as heat will cause the latter to evaporate speedily. After cooling it place it in a jar with a brush passing through the stopper, and label the jar "poison.” In extreme cases when the above preparations cannot be obtained, the skin should be rubbed with salt or with alum, or filled with spices and strong smelling herbs. These are by no means a substitute for arsenic, and are to be used only when the latter cannot be obtained. The skins of large animals should be soaked in a solution of alum, arsenic and salt, or in weak arseniated alcohol for several days. Directions for preliminary work. – When a specimen has

a been killed the mouth should be opened, cleaned and filled with cotton or tow; the nostrils and vent, and any wounds should be treated in the same way to prevent blood or other secretions from exuding. It is essential to remove the skin as soon as possible after death. Should this be inconvenient, the internal organs should be taken out and the cavity filled with powdered charcoal if it can be had, if not, salt should be used. Previous to removing the skin, an accurate meas

AMER. NATURALIST, VOL. III.

18

urement should be taken of the subject in the manner indicated below. *

The color and general character of the hair, as well as any change of the same at different seasons of the year, the sex, and any other peculiarity known should be carefully written

Fig. 29.4

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

down and preserved. Skins should never be packed for transportation until thoroughly dry; they should then be placed in a box containing plenty of camphor, having its sides and joints perfectly closed with pitch to prevent the invasion of insects. It is well to saturate the inside of the box with benzine before placing the skins within. Never allow a box containing skins to be placed in any damp place.

Instruments and materials used.- Of instruments and materials useful to the taxidermist in mounting mammals, birds, fishes and reptiles, the following are needed : A scalpel (Fig. 30, a); a pair of pincers for bending wire (C); a pair of wire cutters (b); a pair of small forceps for stuffing the necks of small birds and mammals and arranging feathers (e); a pair of larger ones, at least fifteen inches long, for stuffing the necks of large birds and mammals (h); a pair of dissecting scissors for cutting flesh and ligaments during the process of skinning (d); another larger and stronger pair for cutting tow; a large knitting needle inserted into a handle and sharpened at the end, for perforating the tarsi of birds previous to the insertion of the wires (i); a tin sieve with a cover for dusting powdered arsenic upon the skin (9); a wide

*The following are the general measurements which should be taken of a quadru. ped:

Total length; nose to occiput; nose to eye; nose to ear; nose to end of tail; length and width of ears; tail from root to end of vertebræ; tail from root to end of hairs; length of the different joints of the forelegs; length of the different joints of the hind legs; forefeet from wrist; hind feet from heel; length of toes; length of nails.

† Explanation of Fig. 29:—b, eye; c, occiput; d, cervical vertebræ; e, dorsal do.; s; lumbar do.; g, sacral do; h, caudal do; i, scapula; k, humerus; 1, radius; n, ulna; m, carpal bones; 0, metacarpal bones; p, pelvis; r, femur; s, fibula; t, tibia; u, tarsal bones; v, metatarsal bones; w, phalanges.

Fig. 30.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

h

a

mouthed jar, with a brush passing through the stopper, for holding arsenical soap (f); tow for stuffing small birds and mammals (the finest quality being used for filling the necks); also hay, dried moss, etc., for those of larger size; needles for sewing up incisions; thread for winding; a large fishhook with the barb filed off, for suspending specimens while skinning them. Annealed iron wire of various sizes, varying from 10 to 26,- No. 10 being used for supporting large specimens, No. 26 for humming birds, warblers, etc. A flat file of medium coarseness for pointing wire; a set of Aiken's

[ocr errors]

tools, containing various sizes of bradawls; a small gouge, chisels, etc., will be found very useful.

Method of skinning a mammal.— When an animal is ready for skinning, the mouth, nostrils and shot holes, should be filled with cotton or tow. Place the animal upon its back, take the scalpel in the right hand and with the left separate the hair to the right and left in a line from the front of the pubis quite down to the vent, so that the skin beneath can be plainly seen. Make a longitudinal incision along the course, directed in as straight a line as possible, taking care not to cut so deep as to expose the intestines. The skin should then be turned back on either side with the aid of the scalpel, working downward toward the back. When the thigh has been laid bare sever it from the pelvis at its junction with the femur or thigh bone. Layers of cotton or tow should, from time to time, be placed between the skin and body, as it will prevent the hair from being soiled. This operation should be repeated with the other side. Next the intestinal canal should be cut off a little way above the anus, and the tail separated close to the body. The skin should then be loosened from the back and breast until the forelegs are visible. Sever these at the shoulder joint or the base of the humerus. Remove the skin from the neck and the back part of the skull will appear. In skinning over the skull, care should be taken to sever the ears as close to it as possible; also not to injure the eyelids or cut too close to the lips. The carcass should next be separated from the skull at the first vertebræ, or the junction of the skull and neck. The next operation is to remove the tongue, eyes, and all the muscles attached to the head. Through an opening in the occipital bone, carefully clean out the brain. Next the legs should be skinned quite down to the claws of the feet, removing all muscles, but leaving the ligaments and tendons of the knees. The hind legs should undergo the same operation. Lastly, skin the tail as far back as the first three joints of the vertebræ, and to this stump fix a stout cord, which should be fastened to a hook or other projecting object on the wall. A strong piece of wood is then prepared, flat, and sharpened upon both edges. This should be introduced between the skin and the vertebræ, and by working it around the latter, the attachments will be severed and the vertebræ within can be easily pulled from the enveloping skin. In skinning the tail of the beaver an incision should be made upon the under side, running lengthwise from the base to the tip. The skin should then be loosened, beginning upon either side of the incision, until the flesh is entirely free, when it can be removed, the arsenic added, the skin restored to position, and the incision sewed up.

The foregoing method is practiced only upon the smaller quadrupeds; with the larger mammalia a different course is pursued. An incision is made from beneath the under jaw, in a straight line to the anus ; transverse cuts are also made, running down the inside of both fore and hind legs. These being made upon the inner side will render the seams less conspicuous after the specimen has been mounted. To detach the hoofs, place them upon a stone and strike them repeatedly with a mallet; they will soon loosen and can be separated from the bone. After the operation of skinning has been completed, every part of the skin should be anointed thoroughly with arsenical soap. Turpentine applied to the nostrils and lips will prevent the approach of noxious insects. When the skin is too large for the application of the soap, it should be thoroughly saturated with a solution of "alum and water.” The different bones left in the skin should all be thoroughly anointed with the preservative, and the eye-sockets and cavity of the brain filled with cotton or cut tow before replacing the skull in its natural position. If the animal be not too large the carcass should be preserved, as it will greatly aid the operator in his work of modelling a body. If immersed in alcohol, it can be kept any length of time.

To mount the skin; for instance that of a squirrel. — First

a

« AnteriorContinuar »