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Posted by Philip Bergmann on December 30, 1999 at 18:03:07:
In Reply to: Preserving a snake. posted by Terry Cox on December 30, 1999 at 12:03:07:
Certainly DON'T use your formaldehyde straight! You should dilute it to a 10% solution (then called formaline). Inject the animal's body cavity with some of it using a syringe (maybe 10-20 mL). Then leave the animal int he formaline solution in a closed container for a few days. Finally, I would rinse the animal with ethanol and pickle it in 70% ethanol. A word of caution, however, about the formaldehyde - it is a carcinogen (causes cancer). Use it carefully: wear two pairs of latex gloves, don't stab yourself with the syringe, don't breath in the fumes, and try to dispose of it appropriately. It is just as valid to just inject the body cavity with 70% ethanol and pickle it in ethanol, avoiding the formaline all together. The advantage to using formaline is better preservation, and less tendency of the specimen being totally dehydrated by the ethanol (over the years).
: I have a 37% formaldehyde solution and I want to preserve a 3.5 to 4 ft. snake. Do I use it straight, or do I need to dilute it with something? It seems very strong, as I got a slight whiff and it took me a couple minutes to see straight again.