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Last week I found the rear half of a rabbit in my yard. It was probably eaten by a large bird of prey. The hind legs were untouched so I hung them to desiccate. One week later, they have not visibly rotted or attracted flies so I think the desiccation is going well. I will let them hang for another week to be sure they are completely dry.

The next step is to sanitize them so that they can be safely handled. I understand rabbits can have rabies, ticks, and other nasty pathogens. Most methods I know of, heating or soaking in bleach or hydrogen peroxide, would damage the specimens and liquid might not penetrate the flesh enough to be completely effective. An alternate approach is time: I could let the legs sit for perhaps six months. But I would rather not wait that long.

So how do I sanitize these legs in a reasonable amount of time (say, at most a couple weeks) while keeping them intact?

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  • There's a wikihow about curing a rabbit's foot. I don't have any personal experience with it, but the instructions seem reasonable enough, at least if your starting point for "reasonable" is "I want to preserve a dead animal foot and keep it in my home." – csk Apr 22 at 18:27
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    Please edit the question to clarify what is the purpose of all this. Are you trying to make jerky? Make a lucky rabbit's foot to keep in your pocket? – Ben Crowell Apr 22 at 22:12
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Summary of answer on Wikihow:

  1. Clean the rabbit leg by washing it in soap and let it dry.
  2. Soak the leg in 70% isopropyl alcohol for two full days and rinse thoroughly.
  3. Soak the leg in 1 part borax to 15 parts water for one full day and rinse thoroughly. This will dehydrate the leg.
  4. Allow the foot to dry for about a day.

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