Introduction: Your Own Squirrel Pelt - the Envy of the Neighborhood

Picture of 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.

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 2: Preperation

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Try to spread the squirrel as flat as possible. Rigor mortus may have set in so you will have to take your time spreading the limbs.

Step 3: Cut

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Start your cut under the chin.

Draw the knife back towards the anus.

You might have to turn the knife over to help break the skin after you get a cut started.

Step 4: Peel

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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 5: More Cutting

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You need to cut the skin back from the neck below the head to prepare for the next step. When you are doing this mind your fingers. I do not want anyone to complain to me that they chopped off an apendage.

Step 6: More Peeling

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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

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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.

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

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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.

<3 PSU


JayG85 (author)2016-08-22

Got a tree rat this morning ,squirrel kabobs for dinner dont forget to soak your pelts in ice salt water first to soften everything up

DaveH127 (author)2016-05-18

A long time ago my roommates and I had a party. A bunch of co-workers came. I made a big batch of squirrel cacciatore. Told people it was cacciatore. When the pot was about 3/4 gone someone held up a little arm and asked, "What part of the chicken did THIS come from?" I said it wasn't chicken, it was squirrel. One girl basically freaked and screamed "I was eating squirrels?" I explained that she was raving about it before I said it was squirrel. I don't think she had any more. The guy who asked about the arm just shrugged and kept eating. I was a legend at work.

aloseman (author)2007-04-17

Thanks, most of what was online is skinning to eat, not to preserve the hide. I ended up using your method to skin a squirrel I found dead in the road, after a storm, much like "mountain girl stuck in lowcountry" did. I'm brain tanning it though, instead of just drying it. I'll let you know how it turns out. Hopefully it turns out supple.

rookie1 (author)aloseman2016-04-07

Hi. I'm a 65year old woman, and I have eaten squirrel before, but I never liked it. Now I read somewhere that they have little glands behind the front legs. Carefully removing them gets rid of the gammy taste. When I was in junior High, I went through a taxidermy phase and one of the neighbor boys brought a rabbit for me to work on. She was full of babies, so I didn't have the heart to cut her open. So, with all the boys looking over my shoulder, I skinned her. Well,as I worked, they left, one by one. While I was removing the eyes,the ones left...left.They were in a bit of a hurry. She got a proper burial, and I felt bad that she was killed (road kill).

My mom would cook the squirrel, but only tried it once. She was not impressed. So, when Dad brought squirrels home, they went into the freezer, just tossed in without even a plastic bag. Then when it came time to cook them, she just told my dad they were all dried out from freezer burn. He knew what she did, and he just kept bringing those squirrels home. My dad had a very dry sense of humor. Somewhat twisted in fact.

Now, I have no problem with hunting. When an area is over grazed, the animals starve. That is a terrible way to die. I don't care for the fancy guns people use. No skill in that. All the men and some of the women I know, hunt to put meat into the freezer. Please remember, just because you don't like killing an animal and think it's horrible, that doesn't give you the right to be so nasty to others. How would you like it if they all came down on you like that If our grandparents hadn't hunted, we might not be here. If you don't like something, say on TV, do what I do. I use my God given right to just turn it off and switch to another program.

PaigeM1 (author)2015-03-15

This is barbaric!!!!! Skinning a squirrel just so you can have a trophy!!!!!!!!!! I don't know where you live, but a dead squirrel is certainly not the 'Envy of the neighborhood' where I live! How would you like someone chopping you down to the bones just so they could have their own human pelt?! More like disgusting, horrible, mean human pelt! Shame on you you nasty piece of junk, shame on you!

Mirrior78 (author)PaigeM12015-12-02! Get a grip! That's pretty disgusting of you to call somebody a piece of junk. Who are you to label anybody? Why don't you mind your business and let everybody else do the same. Everybody simply enjoying their life no one's bothering you did the squirrel really upset your entire family? I bet you lead a very exciting life! Lmao

artenlor (author)Mirrior782016-03-21

The squirrels in my neighborhood deserve it they have been terrorizing my families garden and chewing into our house for years.

bazile_p (author)PaigeM12016-01-03

Says the one with an animal as a pet for their profile picture. Keeping in animal in a small cage for their whole life, not letting the animal explore anything or experience anything. Yet the man with the squirrel probably trapped or shot it. Didn't even know it died.

borealcat (author)PaigeM12015-12-09

It's really easy to find dead squirrels just lying around by the way, you can't be barbaric to something that's already died. I would *find* (not kill) dead squirrels, pelt them to make little moccasins for my baby's feet and feed the meat to my dogs. Barbaric? No, if you want barbaric check out where most storebought meat and shoes come from

TerryC17 (author)PaigeM12015-09-04

Look at it this way folks, when shtf and there is complete economic failure, it is people like Paige that will be the first to go. When she can no longer get food from her local grocery she will be sitting there saying, "Now how did he say to clean that squirrel?" Ahhhh, the culling of the herd. Afterwards we have a society of people with the testicular fortitude to fend for themselves and not depend on everybody else, especially us mean ol' meat providers, to take care of them and blame for all their woes.

Blubesdontcare (author)PaigeM12015-05-05

He eats it to dumbass

DCA (author)2015-12-27


TerryC17 (author)2015-09-04

Ok, in the original pic you show a complete squirrel. But in step 6 you are skinning the squirrel leaving behind the fur on the head. Did you take the fur off the head later and sew it back together? I think you screwed up there dude. If you want to have an entire pelt I recommend looking at a few tutorials on skinning raccoons. They usually go into detail on how to remove the entire pelt intact including the head. The same can be applied to squirrel. One thing I have noticed about most tutorials is they avoid visuals or discussions about how to handle the male appendage and related organs. It is very important you know how to properly handle the cleaning of this area as one little screw up and you can ruin a perfectly good squirrel. And that applies to all game. No dinner for you.

UltraMagnus (author)2008-07-13

so, if it is stiff like a board, how do you use it to make something? (coat, gloves, whatever)

Rub mink oil works

BoTz (author)UltraMagnus2008-07-16

you need to smoke the hide or rub it over a board for a while :)

UltraMagnus (author)BoTz2008-07-16

any plans on writing an instructable for smoking a hide?

BoTz (author)UltraMagnus2008-07-17

maybe I have just graduated college recently and am looking for a job if I can find some time ill put one together :)

Lady Adrian (author)BoTz2009-06-17

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!

mcaliber.50 (author)2011-02-05

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

In a young squirrel it doesn't work perfect

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?

The meat taste like chicken but since you found it on the road I wouldnt

no.... must eat meat very 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!

mcaliber.50 (author)2010-12-19

how do you make it so it's more pliable, so you can use it for hats/gloves/ect?

Just rub mink oil on it when you're done with it

EthanW1 (author)mcaliber.502014-10-15

when its dry and stiff you work the hide this can take weeks you bend it and pull it and wear down the fibres

volman11678 (author)2009-04-29

is there a way to make the pelt flexible when you finish

Rub mink oil on it it should get real flexible

EthanW1 (author)volman116782014-10-15

yes you work the hide bend and pull

PaigeM1 (author)2015-03-15

And I don't care about your stupid 'Be nice policy'!!!!!!! You are a cow!!!!

Blubesdontcare (author)PaigeM12015-05-05

Is that all you do is wait for someone to post something you don't like so you can complain, if so go outside and do something with your life!!!

Jake_Makes (author)PaigeM12015-03-30

Could you please explain your reasons why someone should not do this?

Andy0511 (author)2015-05-02

In the first picture, the squirrel looked like it was in mid-leap. Was that it stuffed or before you skinned it? If so how did you stuff it?

meralgia (author)2010-10-25

you never really mentioned what to do with the head. dunk that in salt too?? remove the brain?

PaigeM1 (author)meralgia2015-03-15

Remove the brain??!! Remove the brain??!! You!!!

EthanW1 (author)meralgia2014-10-15

you can just cut the skin off so that the face is on the hide but its just hard work and messy

jedwards5 (author)2011-05-31

can u cut off or cut down the tail?

EthanW1 (author)jedwards52014-10-15

yes both

Kurtis (author)2006-07-19

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 (author)Kurtis2009-11-25

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: also has some other useful pdf's that may be helpful.

aloseman (author)geekchic2012-11-24

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.

Huckleberry (author)2008-03-11

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!

bleary2 (author)Huckleberry2012-04-23

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

joye68 (author)2008-03-31

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 (author)joye682012-04-23

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

Ben.land101 (author)joye682008-03-31

when a taxedermist mounts fish they make a model of the fish.(at least i think so correct me if im wrong)

Rishnai (author)Ben.land1012008-07-31

Yep, it's fiberglass. All the fishy bits wouldn't survive long otherwise.

joye68 (author)Ben.land1012008-03-31

*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.

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