What You Need to Know about Taxidermy

Taxidermy, a Greek term that means arranging of the skin, describes the methods of reproducing life-like, three-dimensional representations of an animal intended for permanent display or for study. It can be done on almost all types of animals. In some cases, parts of the actual skin of an animal such as the fur, the feather, and the scales are preserved and mounted over an artificial framework. But in most cases, specimens are completely reproduced using man-made materials.

What is Crypto-taxidermy?

Crypto-taxidermy is the art of creating stuffed animals that have no real and live counterparts. They can have mythical counterparts, or be based on the taxidermists imagination. They can also be created out of supposed parts of mythical animals like chimeras, Capricorns, giraffe, or unicorns, or most of the time, they may be artificially created.

What is Anthropomorphic Taxidermy?

This is the art of making stuffed animals dressed as people, or sometimes displayed as if they were engaged in some human activities. This style was very popular during the Edwardian and Victorian times although there are still some that can be found these days.

This style of taxidermy was founded and popularized by Herman Ploucquet, a taxidermist from the Royal Museum in Stuttgart in Wurttemberg, Germany after he presented at the 1851’s Great Exhibition. The art was later followed by an English taxidermist, Walter Potter. One of his very famous works was The Upper Ten or Squirrels Club which featured eighteen European squirrels socializing in a club.

Three Types of Taxidermy

There are basically three major types of taxidermy European Mounts, Bear Skinning, and Capping Lines. Since most people prefer the simple head mounts, the European Mounts is the most common type used today.

European Skull Mounts

There are different ways to bleach a skull for mounting. But below is the easiest and the fastest method to bleach and preserve your most valuable skulls.

The first thing to do is to prepare the skulls. Start removing the hair and the hide from the skull. Before boiling the skull, see to it that you have removed all its spinal extras and the lower jaw.

Find a pot or a metallic contained large enough to accommodate and completely submerge the skull. Boiling the skull normally results in water boiling past the brim, thus resulting in the smell of deer brain. To avoid this, boil the skull outdoors using propane or a campfire.

If the skull has antlers, keep them away from the water as much as possible since water can unnaturally lighten the antlers. Keep a close eye on the smoke especially if you are using an open flame. The smoke can stain the tips of the antlers that exceed from the pot. However, if you can’t deal with the antlers properly, wrapping them in aluminum foil will work well.

To speed up the long process of removing meat, mix dawn dish soap or borax in the water. Remove the skull from the water every twenty minutes so you can scrape meat from the skull. This long and tedious process normally takes about four hours. Be sure to clean and remove even the littlest of meat so that the skull won’t smell.

After all the organic material has been removed, be sure to find the teeth. Some teeth loosen and fall out while the skull is being boiled. It is important that you screen the water after boiling the skull so that you can find the missing teeth. Reattach them to the skull using epoxy or glue.

After reattaching the teeth, you can start the bleaching process. Don’t use actual bleach but rather peroxide. Commercially-distributed bleaches can weaken the skull. Purchase peroxide from a beauty supply store since you can obtain up to thirty percent of concentrate without having the proper license. Paint the skull with peroxide and let it sit overnight.

Although there is no need to repeat the process, you can still do so especially if you prefer an extra white skull. Rinse the skull with cool water. Seal your skull using a clear gloss acrylic paint, although this is optional.

Taxidermy is one good way to preserve your most prized deer skulls. Find the right taxidermists near you and let them do the preserving of the skull, especially if you are hesitant to do it by yourself.