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Posted by T. Cox on January 01, 19100 at 08:26:17:
In Reply to: Re: Preserving a snake. posted by Philip Bergmann on December 31, 1999 at 17:01:47:
Philip. Thanks for your help. I'll be able to save some valuable specimens in the future, now, for references, and/or donations to science. One last question for anyone. When disposing of formaldehyde or formaline, is there a proper procedure? I suppose putting it in the ground would put your underground water system at risk.
: You're welcome.
: Yes, you do use water to dilute the formaldehyde. I should have been more clear about the dilution. You want a 10% formaldehyde solution, not 10% of 37%. Pretending your solution is 40% (won't make a difference for this purpose), you want a 1/4 dilution, so mix one part formaldehyde solution with three parts water.
: : Philip-
: : Thanks a whole bunch for the great info. Just two more questions. When I dilute the formaldehyde to 10%, do I use water to dilute. I assume so (not alcohol). Then do I put 9 parts water to 1 part formaldehyde? Sorry about the ignorance, but I like to be sure. Happy New Year. TC.
: : : 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).
: : : Philip.
: : : : 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.