RE: Formula for long term "museum" storage

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From:"Tony Henwood" <>
To:"'Rae Staskiewicz '" <>, "'Histonet '" <>, "Kellar, Eric" <kellarec@MSX.UPMC.EDU>
Date:Wed, 15 Sep 1999 23:15:34 +0000
Content-Type:text/plain; charset=US-ASCII

Dear Rae and Eric,
>     This afternoon, the Department of Natural Resources came to us to
> find
> out what the best medium would be for long term storage of a snake. They
> want the color to be maintained. Something like what they use in
> museums. I
> could not find anything in the reference books we have. Can anyone help?

A few years ago, I accidently stepped on a baby Red Bellied Black 
snake. After climbing down from the 20foot tree I had jumped into, I 
realised how lucky I was. I had stepped on its head. These snakes are 
some of the most venemous snakes in Australia. My son wanted to keep 
it and take it to "Show and Tell" at school. So I placed it in a 
glass jar containing alcohol. Unfortunately, though the outside of 
the snake has retained its colour and shape, it seems to have 
developed a putrefying smell, so it is probably rotting on the 

The point is you may need to somehow perfuse the snake with fixative 
in order to prevent the insides rotting. The snake's skin is probably 
a barrier to adequate fixation. After this probably any of the museum 
techniques (Kaiserling's or Wentworths) will do.

Regards, Tony

Tony Henwood
Senior Scientist
Anatomical Pathology
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

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