Picture of How to Skin and Clean a Dead Snake
So you've got a dead snake- now what?

Learn a useful skill, and leverage roadkill for fun and profit.

A companion to How to Cook a Snake.
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Step 1: Acquire Snake

Picture of Acquire 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 cause1 of death, and refrigerated the carcass promptly, it was safe to eat. If you just want the skin, the time and mechanism of death isn't as relevant. Just be sensible, and make sure to clean yourself (and the snake parts) up properly.

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 toxin2. 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: Off with its head!

Picture of Off with its head!
Just like the queen of hearts says.

You can use a nice sharp knife, or a pair of kitchen/poultry shears. Just stay away from serrated knives, as they don't do very well with snakeskin.

This is also the time to make sure you've properly prepped your area- I put a large cutting board on top of several layers of newspapers in the driveway, and put a wad of paper towels and a plastic bag for trash nearby.
Make sure to leave space for your implements, and bring bags and/or a bowl to save the good bits. If your mother is willing to take pictures that's a bonus!

Step 3: Find the vent

Picture of Find the vent
Find the snake's anal vent.
This is an opening a couple of inches away from the tail, on the ventral (belly) side of the snake.
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zman120425 days ago
I am a 16 year old guy so this instructable is so thing awesome use of my time my friends call me when they run over snakes and other things I have gotten skilled enough to make a snake skin hat ( not completely snake skin) I only will do this to ones that have died of natural causes you can find them in the woods

The most discussing instructables ever seen, sorry

MoonR6 months ago

When I was a kid in the 1970s I lived in Taiwan and my parents and I would go to Taipei's famous "Night Market" on the weekends. In those days the mountains around Taipei were crawling with countless venomous snakes. Local legend has it that highly venomous snakes were released from a Japanese wartime experiment that had gone awry. Whatever the reason there were a lot of poisonous snakes and for a long time no one knew what to do with them.

The Night Market has different alleys, each with its own personality. "Snake Alley" is a narrow street full of food stalls selling dishes with snake (obviously) as the main ingredient. About midway down the alley there was a vendor who made a particularly excellent snake soup simmered with various Chinese medicinal herbs. The soup was said to detoxify your body and promote beautiful skin and overall good health. The reason for this claim was that poisonous snakes contain anti-venoms that can neutralize toxins and prevent the snake from poisoning itself. Those anti-venoms exist throughout the snake's body and are supposedly powerful detoxifiers that can remove all kinds of toxins from the human body. A man would bring out big venomous snakes caught in the mountains, kill them, and hang them by the head from a contraption that looked like an IV pole. With the dead snake hanging the man would slice it open from top to bottom with a quick slash, rip off the skin, then yank out the entrails (this is easier to do from an IV pole). Then he'd hand the snake to someone in the back who would quickly prepare your soup. All I remember was that the soup with the medicinal herbs was so good my 5 year-old self craved it every weekend! Although I haven't been back to Taiwan in over 30 years I still think about it once in a blue moon. Years later friends and family would visit us in the U.S. and bring snake soup in cans. I still remember that as a teenager my face always cleared up after I eat the soup (pimples and cysts both disappeared). I will be headed to Taiwan next year and plan to spend a few solid evenings indulging in Snake Alley!

m4iler9 months ago

How do you eat it? I suppose the spine and ribs are still inside the little bastard. I have a 27 years old boa constrictor (he was a bad hatchling, the keeper said it would live 10 years, tops). It's older than me and is 2.5 meters long. When he dies, I'll try to make the best of my life-long pet. Awesome tutorial!

smccormick710 months ago

my ball phyton died . i did all these steps not perfect lol but yea anybody wants to buy my snake skin . it was about 5ft tall i live on nyc .

knifeking11 months ago

if the snake is dead hrs than it will stink real have to deal with it :)

Morte_Moya1 year ago

That is one very nice instructable! I love eating snake. Rattlesnake is by far my favorite! Great job.

This is great! Thanks for showing us all! This instructable has received a lot of attention.
Jakejb31 year ago
Looks like u cut yourself try to cut the snake
studleylee1 year ago
Very cool! I think this will work on Politicians too. Just have to drain the extra grease.....
O_o This just makes me cringe...I have two pythons. Why I clicked on this, I don't know. Curiosity I suppose. However, very informative instructable that I think a lot of people could find useful :)

Just not me :P
I don't have any snakes as pets, but I agree that it is very informative. 5/5
Can you keep the skin from rotting just by tacking it to a board or something and letting it air out or do you need to add something to help preserve it?
canida (author)  DuctTapeExtremeDude2 years ago
It depends on where you live, and how well you've cleaned the skin.

If humidity is super-high, you'll likely want to rub the skin down with borax or salt to keep anything from growing on the skin while it dries, and tack it down to something like a screen for better breathability. If you live in a desert, far less to worry about - you can just tack it out almost anywhere and it will dry nicely.

Just be aware that the skin will be crispy, not pliable - you've got to do a bit of treatment to make it soft.
Thanks! I've heard that if you put a skin over something and pull it back and forth so that it bends it will make it pliable. Would that work on a snake skin?
ill soon post a detailed segment on snake tanning soon you can make cool junk like me
Looks cool! I'll look forward to seeing how to do it myself. Thanks!
mattiemack1 year ago did somebody say snake hide? haha also heres what i do with the bones
Shouldn't you be wearing gloves?
Profit? Gow
mcmonte2 years ago
It's the cloaca or cloacal opening.
lbrewer422 years ago
I once made a hatband from a copperhead that was stepped on by one of the bulls in the corral.
Schmidty162 years ago
you could cut off the head and take everything out and then put wash out the hide and put it inside out and use it to carry water
bpfh4 years ago
My SAS Survival Book says:
"Discard internal organs, which may carry salmonella.
Reptiles can be cooked in their skins. Large snakes can be chopped into steaks and provide useful skins. To prepare a snake, cut off head well down, behind poison sacs; open vent to neck keeping blade outwards, to avoid piercing innards, which will fall clear. Skewer to suspend and ease of skin towards tail."

The final phrase (yes, "of", not "off" - a typo probably) reminds me of skinning fish: Skewer through head or back, and peel the skin off... Otherwise, if the snake is roasted, the skin should peel off easier. Anyone for a BBQ?
HollyMann bpfh2 years ago
I love my SAS survival guide. I am hoping I don't ever need to do this - eat a snake that is - but if so, I will have some knowledge...thanks! You are brave Canida!
x3n0c1dal2 years ago
Anal vent is an incorrect term, as far as I am aware. I believe it's just anus.
memememefor3 years ago
always clean your dead snake
memememefor3 years ago
Ghattasdb3 years ago
Put it on a strip of leather and make a bracelet.
Awesome! Usefull knowledge!

I'm gonna have to try with my new tool.

macmundi4 years ago
There are lots of dead dogs on the streets here in Thailand. Maybe the people here got tired of their pets and run them over.
oriole macmundi4 years ago
Take them to Indonesia. They'll barbecue it for you
they DO NOT eat dog in Indonesia.

They are an Islamic country and moslems do not touch dogs. If a dog licks them they must undergo a purifacation at the local mosque.

Your racist ignorance is dispicable.
Oh, says who? Indonesia is not a Muslim country, it's a country with a Muslim-majority population. Those who aren't Muslim can touch dogs all they want. I'm Indonesian, and I'm not Muslim. I even own two dogs.

That being said, sure Indonesians do eat dogs. Not ALL of them do, as it's not a common delicacy, but there are some people who do. I've known some places where they go and cook dogs (sometimes even cats too).

I've known americans to eat dogs as well. All though usaully in roadkill scenario
Where do u live? I'll make sure not to visit.
True that...
I was replying in a generalist manner in which the comment made (to which I was replying) was made in a generalistic manner.

The original comments was suggesting that as a general rule ALL indonesians eat dogs.

Just so you know you may well be Orang Indonesian tetapi saya tingal di Indonesia juga.

I also have eaten dog, and other 'bizarre' foods.

Oriole was being not so subtle in his/her racism and I do not tolerate rascim .


oriole oriole3 years ago

I spent 4 months there around the time this first comment was written. I traveled from Jakarta to Manado. I saw dog barbques in all the places I went. I did not say all Indonesians eat dogs. I wouldn t say all all americans eat cows., but you can sure say that we have many places to barbecue a steak. So take your cows to america they will barbecue it. I am not racist I have been there. Have you spanner?
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