A taxidermist prepares and poses a deceased animal in such a way that it is suitable for display. Among those who might use a taxidermist‘s services are museums, scientists, pet owners, and hunters.
The taxidermist would first meet with a potential client and determine the desired pose and general appearance of the animal, as well as setting the fee and a timeline for the work to be completed. When this is decided, the carcass should then be prepared, using special tools that remove bones, skin, and feathers. The skin is treated with a preservative to keep it from decaying. Next, a foundation is constructed of wire, papier mache, and other materials to form a mannequin, onto which the animal can be attached in the desired pose. The prepared carcass must then be painstakingly affixed to the foundation, taking care to ensure that the specimen is both natural in appearance and posed to the client’s specifications. Fur, feathers, teeth, claws, and all other parts of the animal must be affixed in the correct position. Glass eyes are added to give the animal a lifelike appearance. The finished product is then mounted on a stand or plaque for display.
Taxidermy requires the people skills needed to deal with clients, the artistry to create a realistic and visually pleasing product, and the ability and patience to perform detailed work. No specific degree is usually required, though schools and classes that teach taxidermy are available in most areas. A knowledge of anatomy, sculpture, and/or painting would be helpful.