In a recent article we gave directions for the skinning and stuffing of birds. We will now supplement those directions with information necessary to enable the amaleur to skin, stuff, and mount small quadrupeds. The directions for stopping the flow of blood, etc., are to be observed as with birds, but it is advisable to thrust cotton into the nostrils, mouth, and vents of small quadrupeds to prevent the efflux of any discharge which is likely to occur, particularly if the animal has been feeding freely not long before it was shot. As fine shot should be used as is consistent with success in the hunting of such animals, for reasons which are obvious. [ The skinning is begun by makiEg a longitudinal incision between the hind legs, extending quite back to the vent, the hair having previously been carefully parted so that it may not be cut. Care should be taken to only cut through the skin, and not cut into the abdominal cavity. The skin can now be separated from the flesh and turned back as far as the thigh, which is now severed at the joint. When this is done on both sides, the gut should be drawn out and severed a short distance from the vent. The tail should also be disjointed at the root. This being done, the skin can be loosened around the body until the fore legs are reached, when they should also be dissevered. The skinning now proceeds along the neck till the skull is reached. Here considerable care is necessary to remove the skin without damage to ears, eyelids, and lips. The skin is left attached to the skull after the skinning has proceeded far enough to expose the muscles of the jaws, and must be separated from the body at the first joint of the neck. The tongue, eyes, and muscles remaining attached to the head, are now to be carefully removed, and the brain taken out fronj an opening in the back of ths skull cut through for that purpose. To make this opening amateurs can use a small gimlet or bit, with very small animals and a larger one as circumstances may demand. The legs are now to be skinned out quite down to the claws, which completes the operation of skinning. During the entire process all fluids escaping must be immediately soaked up with cotton. As soon as the skin is removed it should be thoroughly rubbed with arsenical soap, not omitting the inside of the skull and the mouth cavities. The method of stuffing is conducted on similar principles to that described for birds, but there is rather more difficulty in replacing the facial muscles. For this purpose a pair of slender-jawed pliers will be found very convenient. We copy verbatim from the American Naturalist, the following directions for mounting the skin ox a small animal like a squirrel. " Provide yourself with cotton, thread, and twine ; also the stuffing forceps, a pair of pincers, file, and wire cutters. With the aid of the forceps supply the , various muscles of the face and head, by inserting cotton both through the mouth and eyelids. Fae annealed, wire of the proper sizct and out from the coil six pieces : No. 1, two or" three incliefS* longer than the total length of the body ; Nos. 2 and 3 for the forelegs ; Nos. 4 and 5 for the hind legs ; each of these should be two, or even three inches longer than the limbs they are to support ; No. 6, for a support to the tail, of the same proportionate length as the others. With a large pair of scissors, cut fine a quantity of tow, and with this, and the aid of the long forceps, stuff the neck to its natural dimensions. Taking wire No. 1, bend in it four small rings, the distance between the two outer representing the length of the body taken from the skin, a, leaving one long end for a support to the head and neck, b. Mold tow about that part containing the rings, and by winding it down with thread, form an artificial body, resembling in form and size the natural one taken from the skin. Sharpen the projecting end to a fine point with the file, and insert it up through the cut tow in the neck, and thence through the skull ; the skin should then be pulled over the body. Wires, Nos. 2 and 3, should then be placed in position, by inserting them through the soles of the feet, up within the skin of the leg, and through the body of tow, until they appear upon the opposite side. With the pincers bend over the end of each, forming a hook ; the wires must then be pulled backwards, thus fastening the hooks firmly into the body. The loose skin of the limbs should then be stuffed with cut tow, taking care to imitate the muscles of the living subject. Nos. 4 and 5 can be fixed in position after the same manner, unless the animal is to rest entirely upon its tarsi (as in the case with the squirrel when feeding), then the wire must be inserted at the tarsal joint instead of the sole of the foot. If any depressions appear in the skin they must be stuffed out with the cut tow. Wire No. 6 should now be inserted at the tip of the tail, and forced down within the skin, hooking it into the body in the same manner as the leg wires. Stuff the tail to its proper dimensions with cut tow, and carefully sew up the incision along the abdomen. Having prepared a board about three-quarters of an inch thick, pierce in it two holes at a proper distance apart for the reception of the leg wires (four holes would be needed if the animal were to stand upon all extremities), these must be drawn through upon the under side until the feet of the specimen rest close upon the upper surface, then they should be clinched, taking care that the wire does not protrude above the surface of the board as it renders the support unsteady. The different joints of the limbs can now be imitated by bending the wire at the proper points ; also, a curve can be given to the back, and the tail can be set" into proper position by simply bending the wires into the required shape. The eyes should now be placed in their position, a little putty having been previously inserted within the eyelid to serve as a cement. Care should be taken in arranging the eyelid, for the expression depends altogether upon this point. Clip off any superfluous wire which may extend above the head with the wire cutters. The specimen should be placed in some locality free from moisture and allowed to dry thoroughly, when it is complete for the cabinet."
This article was originally published with the title "Skinning and Stuffing of Small Quadrupeds"