You’ve seen taxidermied animals in natural history museums and in homes displayed as hunting or fishing trophies, but have you ever thought about the amount of effort that is involved in taxidermying?
The taxidermy process is actually quite in depth and often very underappreciated in our society. Taxidermy can be done on all vertebrate species of animals, but regardless of the creature, taxidermists go through a painstaking process to make an animal look as real as possible. To recreate these dead animals and make them look as alive as the day they died, taxidermists must be skilled sculptors and painters, expert skinners and tanners, and of course, be familiar with the anatomy and physiology of the animals they are working with.
It’s not “stuffing!”
It’s a misnomer to say that a taxidermist “stuffs” the animals. Taxidermied animals aren’t stuffed, but rather mounted. The animal’s skin is removed and treated before being stretched across a mold shaped like the animal. Skilled taxidermists can remove the skin easily without opening the body cavity, so it’s not a bloody process like you might expect. Depending on the animal, the skin is then tanned or treated with preserving chemicals.
Next, the taxidermist sculpts a mold of the animal’s body structure. This can be accomplished multiple different ways. One of the more traditional methods that is still practiced today is using the animal’s skull and leg bones as a basis to create a model made from wool and galvanized wire. Skilled sculptors can also recreate the animal’s body out of clay or plaster.
Another technique that’s become popular in recent years is freeze drying the dead animal after it’s been skinned and recreating the animal on its freeze dried carcass. However, this process is very time consuming and expensive.
Recreating an animal
If you want your taxidermist in Cody, WY to recreate a fish you caught, he or she doesn’t actually need the carcass at all. If detailed pictures and measurements are taken of your trophy fish, the taxidermist can use his skills to create a resin or fiberglass sculpture. This technique is preferred amongst animal activists because the fish can be released back into the water after it’s been measured.
Depending on your personal tastes, taxidermists can either mount it to be displayed on the wall, or create a lifelike scene of what your animal would look like in the wild. If neither of those sound appealing, taxidermists can surreal anthropomorphic scenes for you. Taxidermied squirrels wearing hunting clothes or rabbits studying in a classroom can be a real conversation starter in your home.
Not as easy as it looks
It takes a tremendous amount of skill to become a taxidermist. Taxidermists are skilled artists, trained in sculpting and painting. They must have skill in skinning and tanning animals. Professional taxidermists also must be familiar with the anatomy and physiology of many different animals. If a taxidermist is attempting to mount a trophy fish, he must be able to construct a sculpture of the fish using only pictures and measurements of the catch. If you think you have what it takes to do your own taxidermy, be our guest; but if you want a professional taxidermist in Cody, WY handle it for you, call us at 307-527-6053 today.