Taxidermy is a conventional way which is used to preserve and mount the bodies of different mammals for display. The preservation is usually done by stuffing the body of animal. Typically, taxidermy is done to honor a pet animal or to celebrate a hunt. Other purposes that are worth mentioning are displaying the bodies of mammals in natural history museums, skin studying etc.
Generally, taxidermy is performed on birds, reptiles, mammals, and fish. Sometimes, it can also be done on amphibians.
There are several methods to preserve animals with taxidermy.
- In traditional skin mounting, the animal is skinned first. After this, the skin is preserved with chemical or by tanning. This skin is then mounted on a dummy made from wood, wire and wool, or polyurethane.
- Another method that has been popular nowadays is the freeze-dried mount, according to which the animal is basically mummified by freezing after its internal organs are removed. The animal is placed in a chosen pose before freezing it.
- Reproduction mount is usually involved in catching and releasing, which is a fishing sport where the fish are caught and then allowed to go. For this, the exact picture and measurements are provided to the taxidermist who then replicates the animal body with fiberglass or resins. No animal is killed in this process. It is also used when endangered species are hunted. After shooting them with a dart, the hunters take pictures of the unconscious animal and then a replica is made.
- Recreation mount is the precise representation of the animals that are extinct or endangered. They are usually sculptures or life-size mannequins. The material that is used is commonly from the animals easily available like turkey feathers or any animal’s fur and hide.
- Skins study concerns preserving only the skins of the animals that can be used to study. The animals are skinned and then rubbed with chemicals so that they can dry easily. It is then stuffed with cotton.
Taxidermy can also be done by you. It would help you save a lot of money as it is quite simple.
- The first thing you have to do is to freeze the animal until you are ready to prepare it. The skin is removed at once. To keep the animal from spoiling, rub alcohol, borax, or any other preserving agent that you could find.
- Depending on the animal you are trying to do taxidermy on, you can make a plaster cast or buy a premade frame. You can likewise make your own frame out of reused materials, an extraordinarily valuable process for smaller animals. Utilize sticks to make a wood casing of the size of the cleaned body, and wrap the casing with twine or in an old plastic bag.
- To set up a cast, buy a commercial molding agent to make a shaping mold of the animal to fill with plaster. Blend a little batch of plaster with water and empty rapidly into your mold. Remove the mold and smooth the cast frame with sandpaper or a small folding knife. Try not to stress excessively over the details, you simply need the essential structure and shape to fit the skin.
- If you make your own frame, you must have a workable case to compare it with. Take a photo of the creature before you remove the skin, and utilize materials that can be controlled effortlessly once you have begun assembling the frame. Warm-blooded animal legs are particularly hard to get right. Consider buying a premade form if you are going to use as a model for resulting projects for the first time.
- Regardless of what animal you are trying to preserve, the procedure begins by removing the skin and preserving it. The particulars of the preservation method vary depending on whether you have a warm-blooded animal or a reptile, fish, or winged creature.
- Use a sharp blade, precisely cut a crease up the stomach, being especially watchful not to cut any of the organs or body hole, which can destroy the skin. Work your blade uniformly along the inside to release the skin, while peeling it back with your other hand.
How much does taxidermy cost?
The prices of taxidermy vary from animal to animal and country to country. Prices also depend on how big or small the animal is. Likewise, this depends on the technique you want your taxidermist to use.
In some of the shops, taxidermy prices vary according to how large you want your animal to be made. The costs of a half life-size animal would be roughly 25% less than the full-size beast.
Fish taxidermy prices usually depend on their size. A fish replica could have a price starting from almost $20 per inch, whereas skin mount process might cost from $18 onward. These are average taxidermy prices so you may find variation in different stores online. The taxidermy cost for a bass can start from $25 for an eight-pound bass. To skin mount the same size of fish, the taxidermy prices start from $150.
For exotic American animals like alligator, antelope, bear, elk, ibex, mountain lion and such, the prices range from $675 to $1,675 for a shoulder mount, and $3,000 to $14,000 for life-size mount. Rugs of some animals are also available for $300 to $400 per foot.
Skull mount prices range from $150 to $300 depending on the animal’s size.
In some online stores, the prices of taxidermy of pet animals like cats and dogs start from $725 per 10 pounds with $50 additional for extra pounds.
If animals are to be imported from other countries like Africa, different documentations and permits are required. The trophy fees for male animals are more than its female counterpart.
The miscellaneous taxidermy price list is available online where you would be able to see a great variety of animals that can be preserved with different sizes and their relevant prices.