For centuries, hunters, fishers, sports enthusiasts and artists have been preserving trophies from the skins, bones and tissue of hunted animals. Today, taxidermy is a way to commemorate achievements and remember exciting times out on the hunting trail. It’s possible to taxidermy virtually any carcass, whether it’s from a prize buck or an especially feisty sea bass.
Taxidermy in Cody, WY is the act of converting an animal carcass into a piece of preserved artwork using chemicals and drying techniques.
You may know the basics about how animals and fish are converted into taxidermy, but chances are that you don’t know some of these fun facts:
- 18th century beginnings: One of the earliest examples of a large animal used for taxidermy occurred in 1771, when Captain Cook brought a kangaroo skin back to England. In 1793, a French revolutionary killed a rhino belonging to Louis XIV. After this, taxidermy became increasingly popular in England and France at the beginning of the 19th
- Darwin’s ticket: Because taxidermy was in vogue at the beginning of the 1800s, it was a skill increasingly in demand. Charles Darwin was given passage on the HMS Beagle as the ship’s naturalist in part because he was a skilled taxidermist. He learned the skill from a freed Guyanese slave.
- Competitive sport: The first known taxidermy competition occurred in the United States in 1880. Taxidermist William Hornaday won the event’s top prize for his diorama, which featured two male orangutans fighting over a female. The scene, prized for its scientific accuracy, challenged other taxidermists of the time to create equally accurate representations of nature.
- Fake platypus: When the first sketches and pelt of a duckbilled platypus were sent back to England from Australia in 1798, they were ridiculed. The public believed that Captain John Hunter had simply sewn the body of a beaver to the bill of a duck. Hoax taxidermy exploded in the late 1800s and early 1900s, with the creation of Fiji mermaids and other similar concoctions.
- Toxic preservation: In early taxidermy, the most common type of preservative used was arsenic. Each taxidermist used a special formulation of chemicals, however. Their secrets were closely guarded, and many taxidermists went to their graves without revealing the type of preservatives they used to create their masterpieces.
- Specimen vs. trophy: Today, you may hear people refer to specimens and trophies interchangeably. In fact, these terms refer to two separate things: specimens are anatomically correct representations of the animal, as they may have existed in the wild. Trophies, meanwhile, are just the head and occasionally shoulders of an animal, mounted on the wall.
If you’d like to learn more about taxidermy in Cody, WY, contact Nature’s Design Taxidermy today. We are the region’s premier taxidermy shop. We specialize in the creation of high-quality taxidermy using both local and globally sourced carcasses. Whether you’re looking for a high-quality mount for a black bear, deer, safari kill or prized fish, you can count on us to provide you with dependably high-quality taxidermy services.