Instructables

Your Own Squirrel Pelt - The Envy Of The Neighborhood

In this articale/tutorial I will show you how to skin and preserve a squirrels hide. Watch for my later tutorial on how to gut and prepare the carcass for the freezer.
 
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Step 1: Items Required

1 x Dead Squirrel
1 x Sharp Knife
1 x Lb of Salt
2 x Rags
1 x Cutting Board
1 x Non Queasy Stomach

Step 4: Peel

Start peeling the skin back from the body. I find it easiest to pull it at a right angle. You might have to wiggle the knife around under the skin a bit to help part it from the flesh.



When you get to the legs you have to slit the skin from the center of the body out towards the feet. It helps if you make a circular cut around the ankle/wrist.

Step 6: More Peeling

Slowly and gently pull the skin straight back along the length of the body. It should come off without to much trouble. If you have an issue use the knife to gently convince it to come off.

When you get to the tail all you have to do is tug along the length of it and the tailbone should slid free.

Step 7: Preservation

Fat and other tissues left attached to the skin are your enemy. They will rot causeing the pelt to decay over time. As you can see in the first picture there will be lots of fat on the skin when your done with it. At this point you could scrape it with a knife a bit, but I am lazy so I use salt to dry out the fat a bit before I scrape it.

When i say salt it, I mean salt the living heck out of it. I normally use one pound of salt per pelt. You should have a good quarter inch of salt on it to soak up the water in the fat and tissues left.

Make sure you stick some salt in the tail. If you dont your tail will rot off.

******Important******
After the salt sits for a day it will have a crust. You will need to remove the salt and GENTLY scrape at any remaining fat. You have to repeat this process till the pelt is dried out and is stiff like a board. I would check it in the morning when you wakt up and then again at night before you pass out.

Step 8: Enjoy

You should now have a nice little squirrel pelt to call your own. Use it how you see fit. I use mine to display items I have liberated in my travels around the world.

This may not be the fastest way to do this, but as I have never seen a site with directions on how to do this I figured what the heck as it is how I go about it and I know it works.

As it is my first tutorial go ahead and flame it as you see fit.


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Kurtis8 years ago
We think this tutorial is great, but how do you get a pelt that has the head and feet and tail along with the skin?
geekchic Kurtis4 years ago
This skinning method gives you what you call an "open fur" which means that the belly is cut open so that when the hide is dried there is one fur side and one skin side. To keep the head you should use the "closed fur" method, which basically takes the hide off the animal like a sweater and have only one main cut between the back ankles across the anus.
Check out these pdf's for more detailed info on skinning and drying furs:
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/TEM_Chapt_17_206599_7.pdf
http://www.furharvesters.com/pdf/pelthandling.pdf
http://www.furharvesters.com/pelthandling.htm also has some other useful pdf's that may be helpful.

Wow. There's some good info in those links. Thanks.
just pull the skin over the head and pull the legs off along with the rest of the skin. Peel the tail off with the skin.
thanks, i hope this is going to work. I'm pretty quesy, I had someone skin the squirrel for me after I found it solidly dead in the road after a storm. So I leave the salt on for 24 hours, then scrape? I teach, and the fur will be a good teaching aid. Anybody want to eat the meat?
no.... must eat meat very fresh......you could get very sick..
touching the animal for the fur is safer... I never eat road kill unless
I personally saw it before I hit it... I did that for a quail and a squirrell..
they were very healthy before I hit them.. quite accidentally I assure you...
followed by a great big... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO..
then.. oh well I guess that was free dinner!
Don't ever try meat unless it is fresh..and you know what you are doing.
If the innerds were exploded.. you could be eating meat tainted with feces... and tons of bacteria!
Huckleberry6 years ago
Dear Botz, This information is wonderful. I am a teacher and I want to collect animal tails that live around us. There is so much road kill I could probably collect it all in the summer. This is just the information I need. If other people don't see the need then maybe they lack imagination. As for the instructions, you are a natural teacher. Thank you! Maybe I could make it into a puppet!
salting it is just the beginning of taxidermy.. it will leave your skin stiff as a board... great for tails...
your best bet for fur for puppets is to find a vintage salvage thrift store and ask them to save fur... especially fur from torn coats that they can't sell
the salt is a great way to save the tails and other parts for your collection as a teacher.. don't limit to tails, I have tails, skulls, teeth, antlers, bone jewlery and feathers... but don't forget some feathers.. many are illegal.
I salted wild turkey feathers for a couple of weeks to destroy mites, virus and bacteria and gave a feather to each child in my children's classes for thanksgiving
joye686 years ago
When you're hungry, you'll eat a squirrel. I never had to skin them but we've shot them (family time)! We stewed and fried ours. We ate what we killed. Yes, that includes deer... We also fish. Got any fish (mounting or otherwise) instructables coming up? It's only cruel to the animals if they're still living when you do this. It's not like you're cracking open a monkey brain while they're looking at you in Asia or anything. Sheez. OH... nice job, btw. Disclaimer: In no way did this instructable make me want to go out and kill a squirrel... yet...We have plenty of roadkill out here in these parts. I'm sure I can recycle something somewhere. I think someone nailed a skunk yesterday. The smell should be ok by now. If not, how would one go about handling that on fresh roadkill?
bleary2 joye682 years ago
my son brought home a perfect either baby skunk tail or chunk of momma skunk tail... a chunk of flesh that naturally sun dried. Gave it an overnight bath in vinegar and hung it on the wall! you need to get road kill very fresh or the skin starts disintegrating resulting in fur loss.... tails have less flesh and can be used much later.... unless it is really cold... you will have more time to get it on salt
when a taxedermist mounts fish they make a model of the fish.(at least i think so correct me if im wrong)
Yep, it's fiberglass. All the fishy bits wouldn't survive long otherwise.
*laughing hysterically* Honestly, I couldn't correct ya. I just catch 'em and eat 'em! ...and look at others mounts of sailfish and swordfish on the walls. Those suckers are huge.
McForten5 years ago
Where do you get that non-quesy stomach? I don't think I could handle doing this in real life. ;A; Would using a squirrel that had been turned into road kill work for this? A squirrel had recently got hit by a car near me, so why let it go to waste?
yes... you can use a road kill animal as long as it is fresh.. within a couple of hours depending on temperature the hide will start to spoil resulting in bacteria and it damages the folicles causing the fur to fall out
373hunt5 years ago
He makes it look easy. I tried it and ended up with a mess.
bleary2 373hunt2 years ago
what did you do to make a mess?

I have one squirrel hide,
one coyote tail,
one turkey skull
two turkey wings,
two pheasant wings
and one pheasant tail...
hmm no mess
hey are you interested in selling that coyote tail? my grampa gave me a coyote rug but he lost the tail. i really want one to get put on it. if you are interested, call me:
1-(204)-885-6717
jedwards53 years ago
can u cut off or cut down the tail?
mcaliber.503 years ago
my squirrel's tail did nothing like that. i had to cut the bone with a pair of pruning shears, and i still have a good amount left in it
mattgrant884 years ago
you are my kinda guy, I just ripped the skin off and am in the salting process. i plan to tan it after. just dont upload the pictures of your "human skinning" tutorial. you might get arrested this time.
what if you have a cadaver in school?
Dr.Squirrel3 years ago
You evil people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Screams!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
mcaliber.503 years ago
how do you make it so it's more pliable, so you can use it for hats/gloves/ect?
ok that is very disturbing to watch, truely worthy or a marlyn manson video
that's the circle of life. it ain't pretty, but you just gotta get over it.
meralgia3 years ago
you never really mentioned what to do with the head. dunk that in salt too?? remove the brain?
I usually use a machete to cut off paws/ head first, if it's not fresh. Fresh squirts everywhere.
how pleasant, cheers anyway
Thank you so much for this review. Like you said there are no other sites that explain it in detail. I have just one question. How would a squirrel tail be considered a weapon?
suffication my friend
15zhangfra5 years ago
if you do hunt an animal, make sure you take the pelt or eat it. god it's so annoying when people just kill off an animal and leave it there for maggots.
how long does this last?
jjlm935 years ago
I did this once and had great success... Although the second time left me with a little bit of a mess on my hands... Be very careful not to pierce the lining around the organs or they'll spit out and smell terrible
UltraMagnus6 years ago
so, if it is stiff like a board, how do you use it to make something? (coat, gloves, whatever)
BoTz (author)  UltraMagnus6 years ago
you need to smoke the hide or rub it over a board for a while :)
any plans on writing an instructable for smoking a hide?
BoTz (author)  UltraMagnus6 years ago
maybe I have just graduated college recently and am looking for a job if I can find some time ill put one together :)
Please do! I would really appreciate it. I very much want my pelt to be cloth-like. You can smoke it soft after it has been stiff for a while, right? By the way, this is a great method. I haven't found anything online that's half his easy and convenient. Great for beginners like me!
volman116785 years ago
is there a way to make the pelt flexible when you finish
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