How to Tan a Rattlesnake Hide

For anyone who uses hiking trails, especially with their dogs, rattlesnakes are a real concern. With spring fast approaching the chances of encountering a snake becomes more likely. 

Rattlesnakes usually lay low for most of the winter and only come out of their holes when daytime temperatures are above 75 degrees and the ground is still cool. While they do much of their hunting at night, they tend to bask in the sun, often lying across trails during the spring and summer.

In the rare chance you are daring enough to capture and kill a large rattlesnake, there are several things to know to properly prepare the snake and preserve the skin. Youtube user Leatherwoodoutdoors2 offers an instructive lesson on cleaning and tanning a rattlesnake hide that can come in handy if the opportunity arises.

Cut off the head

First thing is first, cut off the head. Best way is to step on the head and cut it off with a knife. Be careful not to mess with the head as it can still bite. The entire body will keep squirming for that matter as you can see in the video. Quite a creepy sight! 

Cut down the middle

Next, take a scissor and cut down the center of the snake. Now peel away the skin. Once you get it started near the top it should separate easily from the body. With the skin now removed, clean the cuts out like you would a fish. Grab a piece of innards at the top and the mess should pull right out.

Remove the membrane

Now to prepare the hide, remove the slimy membrane and remaining flesh left on the hide with a small knife. Be careful and take your time. The skin is now ready for curing. 

Soak in alcohol and glycerin

Place the hide in a jar of half alcohol and half glycerin oil. Let it sit for three days. After the curing process remove the hide and gently pin it to a piece of cardboard careful to stretch it flat. Keep the pins about a half inch apart. 

Pin it and dry

Let it dry for about a week and you’re finished. You now have a beautifully tanned rattlesnake hide perfect for a pair of boots or maybe even a snakeskin jacket if you get enough of them. 

For more facts about rattlesnakes click here.

Photo credit: Youtube