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Taxidermy (from the Greek for classifying skins) is the act of mounting or reproducing dead animals for display (e.g. as hunting trophies) or for other sources of study. Taxidermy can be done on all vertebrate species of animals including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. The methods that taxidermists practice have been improved over the last century, heightening taxidermic quality and lowering toxicity. The animal is first skinned.


This method is similar to removing the skin from a chicken prior to cooking. This can be accomplished without opening the body cavity so the taxidermist usually does not see internal organs or blood.

The skin is tanned and then placed on a polyurethane form. Clay is used to install glass eyes. Forms and eyes are commercially available from a number of suppliers. If not, taxidermist carve or cast their own forms.

Taxidermists may practice professionally, for museums or as a business catering to hunters and fishermen, or as amateurs, such as hobbyists, hunters, and fishermen. To practice taxidermy, one must be very familiar with anatomy, sculpture, and painting, as well as tanning.

Taxidermy and furry[edit]

Taxidermy and the use of real fur is a contentious topic in furry fandom. Some furs wear real tails[citation needed] and accessories at conventions, and own animal pelts, while others are very opposed to the practice.

Many people supporting the art believe that creating art from the remains of an animal that would otherwise be destroyed is a way to honour the animal. Others supporters argue that many pelts are gathered from roadkill, and would otherwise go to waste.

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