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] oXXV. I 0X L. | referring to a book, in which all the peculiarities of age, sex, color of the eyes, form of the iris, if round or oval, height, length, size in general, locality, &c. should be carefully noted ; close the vessel carefully with moistened bladder over the cork, or bung, and cement it all over with acomposition of bees’ wax, rosin, ruddle, and turpentine; or common bazar sealing-wax may be used in default of any thing better, melted with enough very finely powdered brick-dust, to make it set hard.
Bones. 'l‘he skeletons or parts of skeletons of mammalia, birds, and reptiles require but little knowledge or trouble to prepare them. The animal, or such part of it, the bones of which it is intended to preserve, should be skinned, and as much ofthe flesh as can be readily cut off, should be removed. The bones are then to be placed in a convenient vessel, such as a barrel, for large specimens, and a jar, or even a bottle, for small ones ,and water enough poured into it, to cover them well up from the air. Close the vessel, and leave it for a longer or shorter time, as may be necessary, for the complete maceration of the bones; till the remaining flesh and ligaments will strip off with such ease, that the pouring a stream of water from a height of four or five feet upon them, will be sufficient to remove them. \Vhen freed from flesh and ligaments, the bones should be put in the sunshine to dry ; and when well dried, they may be at once articulated, or packed in cotton or saw-dust, to prevent their rubbing against one another and being injured by carriage; and in this case the soone they are sent to their destination the better. a
In macerating bones, it is necessary to take care that the water always covers them, otherwise they will become indelibly black. The flesh must never be scraped off, or the specimen may be injured.
In washing bones after maceration, care must be taken that those parts which have become loose are not lost. This is likely to happen with the incisor, or front teeth ; and with those bones, which, in young animals especially, are united to the other parts by ligament and by cartilage or gris_ tle. All such detached parts should be taken off, cleaned, and put bye ina small box or bottle, and labelled with the name of the animal of which they formed a part.
As this method is attended with some trouble, and cannot be followed by persons not stationary, and as it separates the bones too much from one another to allow of their being sent to a distance without risk oflosing some of them, it may be as well to mention another: which, indeed, has been printed and circulated in a separate form, along with a. few more hints of the same kind. I n this process, skin the animal, and cut off all the flesh from the bones as clean as can he done, without scraping them. Separate the fore legs, with the shoulder blades, from the body, and the hind legs, by taking the thigh boneout of the socket at the hip. Cut oil’ the head close, between it and the first joint of the neck ; and allow it to remain in water for a few days, when the brain may be washed out by directing a stream of water from a bhiaty’-2 muesack, or earthen pot, into the foramen magnum, or hole of the spine. When cleared of flesh, hang up the skeleton to dry in an airy place,
but do not separate the bones from one another more than is mentioned
above. And when dry, pack it up in cotton, tow, or saw-dust, in a strong box, for transmission.
Sr-nus of Mammalia may be preserved by attending to the following direc. tions. After the death of the animal, let it remain an hour or two in a cool airy place, to allow the blood to congeal. Then lay it upon its back, and make an incision in the skin from between the fore legs, along the abdomen, to half way between the navel and the vent. The hind legs are then pulled out gently, bending them at the knee or stifle joint. and cutting them out of the socket at the hip. Cut oil’ the tail close to the rump, and draw out the body through the opening in the skin, as far as
the shoulders, which separate at the shoulder-joint, and continue to draw out the body ; an dcut through the neck as close as possible to the head, between its first joint and the skull. Next pull out the legs as far as the fetlocks, either by the hand alone, or, as in large animals may be necessary, by fastening a cord to the bone, and attaching it to a hook in the wall, or a cross-beam, and then pulling down the skin. When skinned, cut 05 all the flesh from the leg bones, smear them well over with arsenical soap, wrap them in a little cotton or tow, and return them into the skin.
The head is next to be skinned very carefully, as far as the corners of the mouth, taking the greatest care not to cut the eyelids when the eyes are come to, and not to separate the lips from the gums; and the ears must be cut off as close to the head as possible. If the eyelids are cut, and the lips separated from the bones of the jaws, the specimen never looks well when set up ,' and if the ears are not cut oil’ as close as possible to the head, they appear shorter than they ought to be. Having so far skinned the head, it must be left hanging to the skin ; the flesh must be carefully cut off as clean as possible, the eyes taken out of their sockets, and the brain picked out with a hooked wire, or flat stick, and pair of forceps, through the foramen magnum, or hole for the spinal marrow at the back of the skull.
The next process is to smear the whole inside of the skin well over with arsenical soap ; taking care to put some also upon the bones, and joints of the legs, and inside the skull, sockets of the eyes, mouth and nose. The halls of the feet and toes should have an incision made into each, and be well stuffed with arsenical soap ; and a little should be put upon every part of the body which is naked of hair.
If the skin is very fat, as is the case with almost all the water animals, especially those of the dolphin, porpoise, halicore, otter, seal, and other cetaceous and amphibious genera ; the fat must be all removed, and the skin rubbed over with powdered chalk or whiting, before the arsenical soap is applied; A little chopped cotton or tow should next be placed inside the head, and along between the skin and bones of the legs, face, &c. ; and just enough in the body of the animal, to keep the sides of the skin from sticking together. The operation is now completed, excepting the skinning and stufiing of the tail.
The skinning of the tail is sometimes a more difiicult business than all the rest put together. The stump of the tail must be fastened to a
-strong string, or in large animals, a cord, and the string tied to a beam, or hook in the wall, so as to bring the tail about on a level with a man’s elbows, so that he may have full power over it. Two sticks, with a square edge on each, but the edges not so sharp as to cut the skin,' must be applied, one on each side of the tail, and tied so as to inclose the stump between them. They are then to be taken hold of on each side, and forced down the tail, separating the skin from the flesh and bones, as they descend. This process prevents the skin from being turned inside out; which it is well to avoid, for it is very diflicult, and sometimes impossible to get it right again. The skin of the tail is to be well smeared inside with arsenical soap, and a very small quantity of tow, or a small rope may be introduced by means of a split rattan, to keep its sides :1 art.
pWhen the skin is thus prepared, it must be put in a cool airy place to dry, and after a day or two, it may be set in the sunshine. In damp or wet weather, however, it is better to put it in the sun immediately after being prepared with arsenical soap, otherwise the epidermis or scarf skin is liable to come oil’, and bring the hair along with it.
Care must be taken that skins thus prepared are well dried ; and they should be sent oil‘ to be set up, as soon after they are dry, as possible. If
kept for any length of time, they ought to be frequently sunned, and always kept in an airy place, instead of being, as is too often done, shut up in boxes. It is the notion that zoological specimens must be excluded from the air, that has given rise to another notion not less absurd, that they cannot be kept in India. The experience of some collectors is to the contrary. And any person may analogically test it, by observing whether paper, clothes, &c. are mildewed most. when shut up, or not.
When an animal has been skinned and stuffed as above, there are still many parts of the body that are valuable to the comparative anatomist and to the zoologist. The bones of many animals are very valuable, and those of new and rare species should always be preserved for examination. The internal parts also of such species should be put into spirit and kept: the parts most useful are, the thoracic and abdominal viscera, particularly the heart and stomach; the organs of generation, external and internal ; and the trachea, tongue and larynx.
The importance of aflixing tallies to every specimen, and making notes and memoranda concerning it, cannot be too much impressed upon the mind of the collector. Every collection derives additional value from its having a good catalogue attached to it; while without such a catalogue, the best preserved specimens are often quite useless in a scientific point of view. As lwfoi-9 said, the age, sex, size, height, length, circumference, locality, manners, colour of the eyes, form of the iris, and, in short, every thing peculiar about the animal, should be noted with the greatest care.
In birds the skinning process is still more easy than in mammalia ; though, as feathers are not so readily cleaned as hair, greater care must be taken not to soil them.
Birds are best procured for the purposes of natural history, by the gun. Those caught either in nets or by bird-lime, or any other means, are generally more or less injured in their plumage. To prevent as far as possible the feathers being soiled by the blood, the shot, with which the gun is charged, should be as small as is compatible with the size of the bird to be brought down, and the quantity of powder should not exceed half the usual load ; in short, just enough of both shot and powder should be employ. ed to bring down the bird. If the bird is only wounded, it should be taken hold of firmly under the wings, when by squeezing the sides of the body together, it almost instantly dies. When dead, the feathers over the wound should be blown aside, and a pledget of fine cotton placed upon it, to absorb the blood as it oozes out. Another pledget should be placed on the vent, and a quantity, proportionate to the size of the bird, must be put into the mouth, to prevent the blood of the wounded internal parts from coming out of the throat. The bird is then to be carefully wrapped in a handkerchief, taken home, and hung in a cool place.
After being allowed to hang for three or four hours, to allow of the coagulation of the blood, the skinning process may begin. The bird is laid upon its back, with its head towards the left hand of the operator; the feathers are carefully laid aside, and an incision is made from the fore part of the chest above the merry-thought bone, along the breast and abdomen, to midway between the breast bone and the vent. The skin is carefully pushed aside with the handle of the scalpel, or the fingers and thumb of the operator, backwards over the shoulder.joint, or that joint where the wing joins the breast; an incision through that joint is then very carefully made, (taking the greatest care to avoid cutting the skin of the back,) so as to separate the wing from the body, and a similar process is gone through on the other side. After having proceeded thus far, it is necessary to introduce some cotton between the skin and the body of the bird, to prevent the feathers from being soiled; and in fat water birds, the parts should be well sprinkled with powdered chalk. The mouth is next to be opened, and a pair of scissors pushed back into it, so
far'as to enable them to embrace each side of the neck, and cut the ver. tebrae or neck bones through as close as possible to the head. A hook is then introduced into the fore part of the incision on the breast, so as to catch hold of the neck; when the bone may be readily dra\vn out, without disturbing or injuring the feathers of the neck. A string is now to be fastened to the vertebrae of the neck, and the bird hung up to a hook in the wall, or any other convenient place, and the skin very carefully drawn oil‘ the back. It should be pushed rather than pulled, and with the fingers and thumb nails rather than with the knife. Indeed, the less the knife is used in skinning birds the better. Unless very great care is taken, the skin will here be torn ,- for on the back it is very tender, particularly so, indeed, in some of the hawks and pigeons. \Vhen the hip joints are come to, the thighs and legs must be pushed up, so as to allow of their being cut off at the joint next to the hip.joint, leaving what is generally thought to be the thigh, but which is, in reality, the leg, attached to the skin. The skinning then proceeds down to the rump, and the skin is finally separated by cutting through with a strong pair of scissors the rump bone in the middle, leaving at least half of that bone attached to the skin.
In cleaning the head, the tongue and trachea, or wind pipe, attached to it, must be drawn out ; and the gullet or (esophagus also, if that part has not been previously removed by the withdrawal of the neck. A pair of sharp_pointed scissors must be run through the top of the inside of the mouth into the brain, first on one side the head and then on the other, so as to cut a triangular flap in the base of the skull. This flap is then to be detached by seizing and twisting it out with a pair of forceps, long and slender, like those in the common ~dressing case of a surgeon. The brain is then easily removed through this opening, by means of forceps ,' a bit of
wire bent into a. hook, and cotton wrapped round the end of the forceps
into a ball to wipe it out. When the brain is removed, the eyes are to be taken out: and this is done by introducing from the mouth a hook form. ed like the book found in the anatomist’s dissecting case; by means of which, the eye is laid hold of and pulled inwards; taking care, at the same time, to detach it, by cutting the skin or folding of the outer coat of the eye, from its connections with the eyelid ; and this must be managed carefully : for if the eyelid is torn, the head of the bird on that side never looks well when setup. The inside of the skull and eye-holes are to be well wiped out with dry cotton, and smeared with arsenical soap; after which, a pellet of cotton should be introduced into the eye-hole, and the eyelid closed accurately over it, so as to preserve the roundness of the A small quantity of cotton, dipped in arsenicalsonp, must also be put into the cavity of the head.
When the body has thus been removed from the skin, the wings are to be skinned as far as the first joint from the shoulder ; and in a large bird, a little beyond. The flesh is to be removed from the bones of the wing, and the bones smeared over with arsenical paste, and covered with a small quantity of tow, dipped in the same substance. The legs are to be treated exactly in the same manner as the wings, skinning them as far as can be
done without injuring the feathers. \Vhen the bird is skinned, the skin must be smeared all over with
arsenical soa , on the inside, especially about the rump and wings, where a good deal of flesh always remains. The inner side of the wings along that part of the bones not skinned, and the inner sides of the pinion, must have a small quantity of a. solution of corrosive sublimate in spirits of wine, put upon them with_ a camel's hair pencil. For birds with a colourless plumage, it matters little of What strength this solution is made; but for those of the more delicate colours, two grains of the corrosive sublimate to one ounce of spirit will be enough ,- and this strength should not be exceeded, or the colours may be injured. A certain quantity of cotton is next to be put into the neck and body of the bird ; the plumage
should be smoothed down ; a cone of paper, with the top cut oil’, to allow of the protrusion of the bill, is then made, and the bird put into it, and hung up to dry.
In the above process, there are some points in which the common rules of preserving the skins of birds are departed from in the following particulars: in the first place, the skinning process is different from that generally followed, in as much as the skin of the neck is never everted in this as it is in the common way, so that all the stretching of the skin and dcrangement of the feathers, which invariable accompany the other plan, are avoided ; and the inconvenience arising from which, in birds having l.-irge heads and slender necks, is very great: so much so, indeed, that in some birds, it is impossible to draw the head through the neck, and the making an incision, even, at the back of the head has been recommended. The rump is only half out through, instead of being taken almost entirely out,‘ whereby the feathers of the tail are faster and are carried better than they otherwise can be; and if plenty of arsenical soap is used, no incon_ venience follows from this. The wings are less deranged than in the com_ mon way; and by commencing to take off the skin from the fore part of the bird, there is less danger of damage to the feathers from blood, oozing from the inside, than if the binder part is skinned first. By the eye too being taken out from the inside of the mouth, the feathers at the side of the head, which generally are of delicate colours and structure, are not so frequently injured as by their being removed through the eyelids. Upon this point it may likewise be remarked, that the eye may be left in altogether, if the cornea is touched with the before-mentioned solution of corro. sive sublimate in spirit of wine: and when the specimen is dry, the eye may then readily be cut out, and a ball of wet cotton put in its place; and the eyelid becoming soft, may be arranged as before.
Before a bird is skinned, it is well to notice several points that may be useful to the naturalist, as well as to the person who eventually stuffs and sets up the skin.
The colour of the eye should be noted down, taking care to define the shade as accurately as possible. The weight of the bird, its length, from tip of the bill and crown of the head, to the end of the middle toe, to the rump, and tip of the tail, should be taken ; as well as the expansion of the wings. If there are any naked parts about the base of the bill, or the head, their colour must be particularly noted, as the colour of these parts is apt to change, as will indeed sometimes that of the bill and legs: these latter therefore should be mentioned too. In short, every thing that strikes the observer as peculiar about the bird, should carefully be noted down.
In the preservation of reptiles, no great trouble is required. When taken, every thing likely to interest the naturalist, or any future observer, it is well to record; while their dimensions and weight should always be mentioned. They may be divided into three kinds for the purpose of this essay. lst, Chelonian reptiles, or those having a hard covering, as the tortoises; 2nd, four-footed scaly-skinned reptiles, forming the Lacertan or lizard tribe; 3rd, the Batrachians, or frogs and toads ,' 4th, Serpents.
Chelonian reptiles are best preserved, by carefully removing the inside by an incision made in the soft arts, by the side of the fore or hind legs ; though in some, particularly in iiirge specimens, it is necessary to separate
entirely the upper shell from the lower, cutting through the hard parts.
at the sides, before the inside can be removed. The less disturbance,
however, of the shell, the better, and the less the bones are deranged, the_
greater the use of the specimen. When the inside, or so much of it as
can well be got out, is removed, the shell should be smeared on the in- .
side with preservative, and the outside may be brushed over with the cor-rosive suhlimate solution. The brain of reptiles is very small, and enclosed in a hard long case ; and it matters not much if it is removed or not, as