Taxidermy: How to Prepare a Small Mammal

Taxidermy Small Mammal Photo

Sorex minutus London © by Udo Schröter

Small mammals are good for a taxidermist to practice upon because they are so readily available. The skill level for doing taxidermy with a small mammal is also quite low and you don’t need many tools or materials, just patience to achieve some quality results.

Because of this it only really rests on the persistence of the taxidermist as to whether or not you’ll be able to achieve the desired goal. If you’re just starting taxidermy then you should attempt to take on smaller mammals such as squirrels before you aim for larger mammals such as deers.

If you’ve just bought or hunted an animal then it is a good idea to record some of the following:

  1. The name of the type of specimen.
  2. The location is was caught or bought.
  3. The date this was done.
  4. What sex the animal is.
  5. The colour and size of the animal’s eyes.
  6. The colour of the animals lips and feet plus any other unique features.

The next most important thing to do when performing this type of taxidermy is to take the correct measurements of the creature:

  1. First you’ll want to measure the length of the mammal. This measurement should be from the nose to the end of the tail if it has one or the behind if it does not. This should be done whilst the animals head is stretched back.
  2. You should also measure the length of the tail to the rear of the animal.
  3. The hind foot should be measured by bending it at a right angle and measuring to the end of the toenail.
  4. The length of the arms can be measured by holding an animal by its back as if it were on all four legs. A measurement from the shoulder to the foot of the ground can then be made.
  5. Finally a recording of the animal’s weight is also useful.

Once you’ve copied done this and copied all the details listed it is a good idea to number and file this away or type it up onto a computer system for later retrieval. A beginner taxidermist may think this is a bit excessive and that they can easily remember the details for later. Whilst this may be true right now, the problem is that taxidermy is often not performed right now.

Animals are usually freeze dried for use at a later date. This can be left in the freezer sometimes for a month, 6 months or maybe even a year or two later. So whilst you may be able to remember all the details right now, a year or so later you won’t. Especially if you are really enjoying your new hobby and have several animals on the go.

These are some of the beginner steps to preparing a small mammal for taxidermy. If you would like to what some of the next steps are then check out the latest book on Taxidermy called “Taxidermy Made Easy” – Click here to find out more!

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