Being a successful taxidermist in Cody, WY requires years of training, lots of specialized equipment and a certain creative flair. However, it’s possible to try your hand at creating your own taxidermy with relatively little effort and a small investment!
For centuries, taxidermy has been an exceedingly popular way to commemorate good times and show off your hunting and fishing prowess.
If you’ve ever wanted to see what it’s like to turn a carcass into a piece of art, follow the guide below:
- Find some mice: First, you’re going to need to find some mice to use in your taxidermy project. You can often purchase frozen mice at your local pet supply store; these will do just fine. You can also start with a live feeder mouse, if absolutely necessary—just be sure to kill the feeder mouse in a manner that preserves its body.
- Assemble the tools: You’ll need several tools to create your taxidermy mouse. You’ll need cornmeal, borax, cotton balls, beads, tweezers, a craft knife, fine gauge wire, fur-colored thread, sewing pins, a sewing needle, tweezers, needle nose pliers, a wire cutter and more.
- Prepare the stuffing: Take several cotton balls and line them up next to the mouse carcass. Try to mimic the size and shape of the mouse’s body, which should still be intact at this point. Once the size of the cotton looks right, wrap the thread around the stuffing to mirror the shape of the mouse’s body. Then, sew the eyes onto the stuffing’s “head.”
- Make an incision: Next, you’ll need to take the craft knife and slowly make an incision down the body of the mouse. Draw the knife directly down the mouse’s belly, starting at its neck and making your way down to the base of the tail. Be sure to only puncture the skin—if the knife punctures any of the mouse’s organs, they may emit an unpleasant odor and could even ruin the pelt.
- Peel off the skin: Using your thumb and forefinger, gently peel the skin away from the mouse’s flesh. As you’re pulling the skin away, be sure to routinely sprinkle it with a combination of borax and cornmeal. This will help cure the skin and dry it out once you’re finished. Be sure to keep the skin wet and malleable.
- Remove the legs, tail, ears and eyes: Using the knife or a pair of sharp scissors, cut the mouse’s legs off from the inside out. The bones and the feet themselves should remain attached to the pelt. Remove the tail by cutting all connective tissue and gently tugging—it should come off in one piece. When pulling the skin up to the head, use the craft knife to snip off the ears—they should remain attached to the skin.
- Insert the stuffing: Insert the wire into the mouse’s legs and tail and up and down its body. Next, you’ll need to insert the stuffing and sew the mouse’s body closed. Use the wire to position the tails and limbs. Before letting the mouse dry, insert pins to keep its feet and limbs from curling!
To learn more about taxidermy or to visit a talented taxidermist in Cody, WY, contact Nature’s Design Taxidermy today.