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What steps are involved in taxidermy?

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Quick Answer

Steps involved in taxidermy include removing and preserving the animal's skin; photographing the animal's body; taking measurements of its body parts; using excelsior, wire and string to recreate the carcass; and making the animal stand in a natural position. Allow the imitation body to air-dry for about a week.

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Full Answer

To remove the skin of the animal, make a tiny cut at an inconspicuous spot through the hide, and pull the skin to separate it from the flesh. If the mammal is small, don't skin the feet. For bigger animals, such as deer and elephants, remove the skin down to the hooves, claws or toenails.

When preserving the skin of bigger animals, tan it using a tanning kit, or hire a commercial tannery. For small animals, dust the skin with Borax, and allow it to dry completely.

Use a digital camera to take several clear photographs of the carcass from different angles. Measure its girth and length, and measure the various body parts. Using the photographs and measurements, insert wires into excelsior bundles, and cover them with string to recreate the torso, head, legs and neck of the animal. Then, place the skin on the recreated body, sew the cut, and repair any nicks.

To make the imitation body stand in a natural pose, bend the tail, feet, neck, legs and torso appropriately. Use pins and cardboard to keep the ears and toes in position as the body dries. Finally, run a comb through the hair or fur.

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