Thursday, October 4, 2012

Skinning a rattler

Over the last 6 years, I've killed more than my share of rattlesnakes.  After we've buried or thrown out each one, we always say "We should have skinned it!"  or "We should try cooking it!"

Well, this year we had a bumper crop of them!!  I just killed the latest one ever in the year, usually September is when we've seen the last one, but I found one under the deck on Tuesday.  Using our machete, I pinned it down between the deck boards, but unfortunately only got it by the tail!  (Note to self:  buy another machete!!)  I know from past experience not to lift up the machete because that sucker will start moving and it's almost impossible to catch them again, and all you have is a hurt and very ticked off rattlesnake,  so I put all my weight pinning it down into the ground.  As I was doing this, the snake started striking the machete, then started climbing up the blade trying to get it's head through the deck boards.  EEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKK!   I propped the machete up with a heavy bucket so I wasn't putting myself in harm's way.  I left it overnight and it was dead by morning.  (Ok, we checked on it a million times, the kids were fascinated and I had to show my hubby when he got home!!)

After dragging it out from under the deck, we decided to skin it, so we looked up information on the net (where were we before the internet???) 

My wonderful and adventurous hubby sharpened his knife and went to work.  He cut off the head and tail where I had stabbed it.  We didn't want to mess around with the fangs and getting out the venom, too hazardous for our first try.  Some day, though, I envision having a cowboy hat with snake skin wrapped around it with the head and rattles crossing in the front.

Made a slit up its belly as neatly as he could (found out that my kitchen shears did a much better job than the steak knife).

Pulling gently, he removed the meat from the skin.

Skin pile.

I got a board and some little nails, push tacks would work well, too. I laid the skin out on a 2"x4" and tacked it in place, upside down. It reminded me of science class, pinning down the frog we were going to dissect. 

The internal organs and shape of the muscles, etc were pretty interesting.  I didn't know it was shaped like a "C", I thought it was a solid tube! 
I'll let the skin dry for a couple of days and see how it comes out!