Preserving dead T's

JDeRosa

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
May 7, 2008
Messages
502
So I have this gorgeous 6.5" G. Pulchra that died. I have her frozen in my freezer. I was going to cast her in resin but got to talking to a guy that over time the decomposition gases build up and the resin cracks and smells like hell. So is there a better way to preserve T's?

I was thinking of let her thaw out and cutting her open and cleaning out the insides.and filling her with hot glue once the exoskeleton dries out. What do ya think? Maybe you know a better way? I have an 8" centipede I wanna do this with too.
 

Stan Schultz

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 16, 2004
Messages
1,674
So I have this gorgeous 6.5" G. Pulchra that died. I have her frozen in my freezer. I was going to cast her in resin but got to talking to a guy that over time the decomposition gases build up and the resin cracks and smells like hell. So is there a better way to preserve T's?

I was thinking of let her thaw out and cutting her open and cleaning out the insides.and filling her with hot glue once the exoskeleton dries out. What do ya think? Maybe you know a better way? I have an 8" centipede I wanna do this with too.
On either this forum or the ATS forum (my memory is fading fast) there was an extended thread concerning mounting tarantulas, scorpions and other arthropods in resin. Do a search with the search terms : resin preserving.

Basically, the problem that you refer to is caused because the person doing the embedding failed to remove water from the carcass. This is essential. Merely gutting it isn't enough. It has to be virtually 100% free of water to preserve it properly. All that is covered in those threads.

Hope this helps. Best of luck.
 

zonbonzovi

Creeping beneath you
Staff member
Joined
Oct 20, 2008
Messages
3,346
What Stan said...

The 'pede should be easy. I like to pin the legs, antennae, etc. in position; freeze overnight; then dry out completely. A fan, fireplace or dehumidifier speeds up the process and preserves more color, IMO.

You have the right idea on the T: remove contents of the opisthosoma, stuff with cotton. If you have a large gauge syringe, it makes the process less stinky/messy. It is def. helpful if there is 'schtuff' in the legs...dries out much faster.

I'd love to see the finished product!
 

Dangergirl

Arachnosquire
Joined
Jul 28, 2010
Messages
109
My dad, who was a Master Goldsmith, used to cast scorpions in gold - awesome detail even down to hairs and legs - will take some pics tomorrow to show you ... It's a really unusual way to do it !!
 

mcluskyisms

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 16, 2009
Messages
843
Keep them in the freezer and enjoy them every time you go to get the frozen food out, a small smile, a forgotten memory, a knowing look, etc and so on and so on......

Until you get over it....

:)
 

Widowman10

Arachno WIDOW
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 25, 2007
Messages
4,212
i did a short writeup on here a couple of years ago about non-resin preserving. basically tarantula taxidermy. it looks better IMHO because you have the animal right there, stuffed.
 

NevularScorpion

Arachnoangel
Joined
Jun 30, 2007
Messages
917
So I have this gorgeous 6.5" G. Pulchra that died. I have her frozen in my freezer. I was going to cast her in resin but got to talking to a guy that over time the decomposition gases build up and the resin cracks and smells like hell. So is there a better way to preserve T's?

I was thinking of let her thaw out and cutting her open and cleaning out the insides.and filling her with hot glue once the exoskeleton dries out. What do ya think? Maybe you know a better way? I have an 8" centipede I wanna do this with too.
wow that is a big pulchra I wish I own one that big
 

LeilaNami

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 8, 2006
Messages
2,164
I just pinned mine and put in a glass casing. Not the same, I know, but really do a good job drying out the carcass. It smells REALLY bad. It's not like the stench hangs in the air. Oh, no. It's when you get that curious urge to stick your face close and take a whiff.
 

XzotticAnimal420

Arachnosquire
Joined
Jul 8, 2010
Messages
85
This is a really interesting thread, Ive always wondered about this..however, I think I would have to pay someone to do it for me..I dont think I could stomach doing it myself.:barf:
 

zonbonzovi

Creeping beneath you
Staff member
Joined
Oct 20, 2008
Messages
3,346
i did a short writeup on here a couple of years ago about non-resin preserving. basically tarantula taxidermy. it looks better IMHO because you have the animal right there, stuffed.
do you happen to have the link or recall the title? i'd love to read it.
 

Chris_Skeleton

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 31, 2010
Messages
1,310
My girlfriend has a small rosea that died a year ago and it is completely dried out and does NOT stink at all. I'm mounting it in a display case as a surprise for her. She loved that spider. I'm just curious as to how many people's Ts don't stink and how long they have saved it. Like I said, my girlfriends is completely odorless.
 

Rice is nice

Arachnopeon
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
6
My girlfriend has a small rosea that died a year ago and it is completely dried out and does NOT stink at all. I'm mounting it in a display case as a surprise for her. She loved that spider. I'm just curious as to how many people's Ts don't stink and how long they have saved it. Like I said, my girlfriends is completely odorless.
I dare you to lick it.......
 

Stan Schultz

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 16, 2004
Messages
1,674
Joe's (xhexdx) tutorial is a classic!

But, he doesn't tell you how to dehydrate the specimen. Many people who mount their arachnids in resin don't do this, and the result is often foggy resin (a milky paperweight) or a disgustingly rotten specimen.

To dehydrate your specimen you'll need at least a gallon (~4 liters) of 95% denatured alcohol. For really large specimens, two gallons is better. The cheapest place to get this is from a paint department in most hardware stores, paint stores, and some of the larger chain department stores. You'll also need a quart (1 liter) or more of 100% denatured ethyl alcohol, probably from a drug store. (Maybe someone else will know of a cheaper place to get it.)

You'll need to mount the tarantula on a piece of balsa or other very soft wood of appropriate size from a hobby shop, and a wide, flat, air tight container that will allow the balsa wood to float with the specimen hanging from the balsa wood's underside without the specimen touching the bottom of the container.

"Balsa or other very soft wood" is strongly recommended because it will maintain its structure with long soaking in alcohol. Cardboard, on the other hand is useless since it will turn to mush within minutes or a few hours.

"Appropriate size" in reference to the balsa wood means that it should be thick enough to securely hold pins, and long and wide enough to allow proper posing of the arachnid without wasting a lot of space.

"Mounting the tarantula" means that you need to pose it the way you want it and fasten it in that position so that when you turn it upside down to float in the alcohol it won't change position or fall off. Usually this is a jury-rigged set up using stout insect pins (heavy stick pins from a fabric/sewing store will also work), small pieces or blocks of custom whittled balsa, and even light weight rubber bands.

Some enthusiasts have merely splayed their arachnid out in an appropriate dish and poured alcohol directly on it without the formality of posing it on a board. If you have no exceptional posing requirements do it this way. It's a lot less work.

The "air tight container" should be just long and wide enough to hold the balsa with its attached arachnid, and just deep enough to allow the whole balsa/arachnid assembly to float without touching the bottom. The cover must be tight enough to prevent the alcohol's evaporation and to prevent it from absorbing water from the relatively humid air in the room around it. What kind of a container might this be? I can't offer any suggestions. But, searching through cooking ware shops and department stores might be fruitful.

WARNING: Ninety-five and 100% denatured ethyl alcohol is about as explosively flammable as gasoline. You will want to keep it away from any and all open flames or other sources of ignition!

WARNING: Ninety-five and 100% denatured ethyl alcohol is extremely toxic and can cause serious skin problems with long term exposure. Use only in a well ventilated area, wear rubber gloves (museum workers often wear them doubled), and wear eye protection.

Mount the arachnid on the balsa wood, pour an appropriate amount of 95% denatured alcohol into the container to float the balsa wood/arachnid assembly, extremely carefully turn the balsa/arachnid assembly upside down and float it on the alcohol.

Seal the container. Wait a week, then carefully remove the balsa/arachnid assembly, discard the alcohol, add fresh alcohol, refloat the arachnid. Repeat this operation at least 4 times.

For the fifth soak, use the 100% denatured alcohol instead of the 95% alcohol.

After this final treatment the arachnid should have had all the water removed from its tissues by the alcohol, and the alcohol should have soaked through it thoroughly, EXCEPT for the very largest specimens. In these, museum workers commonly either use a scalpel or razor blade to slit the abdomen open (which may deface the specimen a little), or inject alcohol directly into it with a hypodermic syringe. It is also a good idea to soak these larger specimens twice in the 100% denatured ethyl alcohol.

As the final soak comes to an end you can begin preparations for embedding the specimen in resin as per Joe's tutorial.

Many people complain that the arachnid's bristles tend to hold air bubbles as they embed it in resin, thereby reducing the quality of the resulting casting. Most of these bubbles can be eliminated by first soaking the specimen in acetone (also available from paint departments and paint stores) for a few minutes before actually casting the specimen.

Lastly, the casting of these specimens is a rather involved, lengthy procedure, there are lots of possible sources of mistakes, and you're likely to mess up the procedure the first time or two that you try it. My recommendation is that you leave your prize specimen in the deep freeze for a while, and practice on a few less valuable specimens first.

Best of luck!
 

xhexdx

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 20, 2007
Messages
5,363
I didn't dehydrate mine and they are fine (so far).
 

Stan Schultz

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 16, 2004
Messages
1,674
I didn't dehydrate mine and they are fine (so far).
Yeah, I know. But, if you read the first paragraph you'll see several qualifiers that I put there just for you! :D

But, it's true that I sometimes see reports by enthusiasts about disastrous castings that point to water in the carcass as the culprit. And, all the "official" instructions I've read over the years have stressed the importance of dehydrating the specimen before casting it in resin.

Keep up the good work.
 
Top