Taxidermy evolved out of the tanning trade, whose practitioners preserved the skins of animals for use as clothing and blankets. In the early part of the 19th century, some of the first so-called trophy animals were crudely stuffed with scraps of fabric by upholsterers. Later in the Victorian Era, the art of taxidermy as we know it today evolved, pioneered by, among others, Carl Akeley, who worked at the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Although Akeley was one of the leading innovators of taxidermy, excelling in the realistic mounting of mammals, later in his life he would reject the practice of bagging animals such as gorillas just so they could decorate a museum diorama, let alone a hunter's study. By the end of his life, Akeley had devoted himself to protecting these creatures—Africa's first national park was established in 1925 in no small part due his efforts.
Today, collectors of taxidermy have a range of animals and pieces to choose from. Gameheads are perhaps the most well known form of taxidermy. These include zebras, kudu, and other African animals whose heads are attached to pedestals that are designed to hang on a wall.
In the United States, the practice of mounting deer heads is very common, especially if it's a buck with a full rack of antlers. Complete animals known as full mounts tend to be of smaller species such as bobcats and fox, as well as skunks and raccoons.
Mounted fish is another popular taxidermy type. Birds from peacocks to pheasants to roosters mount well, too, as do quail and falcons.
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Recent News: Taxidermy
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Ever wanted to watch a taxidermy version of The X Factor?Irish Examiner, March 5th
Charlie Tuesday Gates, a performance artist and creator of Sing For Your Life, said that the show had a message about the importance of animals. Many of the puppets singing along are taxidermy road kill manipulated by human puppeteers, while the cat...Read more
Midcentury Meets Taxidermy in This Voguish Houston HomeCurbed National, March 3rd
Maybe there's no objective reason why a wall of taxidermy should look strange beside a wall of glass. But it's still kind of trip to see such distinct spheres of taste intersecting, as in this renovated midcentury home in the upscale, west-of-Houston...Read more
Taxidermy: Preserving the memory of the huntBlack Hills Pioneer, February 26th
In those special cases where there's more to the adventure, many sportsmen want to record the event for years to come and that's where taxidermy comes in to help. Travis Ruff, owner of A Wild Life Taxidermy in Spearfish, is a taxidermist who helps...Read more
Photos: 15 Taxidermy Jobs That Will Haunt Your DreamsOutdoorHub, February 25th
Sometimes even bad taxidermy can be fun, as long as you're not the one paying for it. As we showed in our list of 15 taxidermy fails that deserve a refund, a botched mount can occasionally be downright hilarious. Sometimes, however, you don't want the...Read more
Taxidermy school: How to put a glint in a walleye's eyeSt. Cloud Times, February 20th
Nineteen walleyes, bass and northerns hung in long rows, swaying slightly as their fins dried in front of a fan. Five taxidermy students worked on the floor below, taping, shellacking, trimming fins, and then climbing a stepladder to reach the next...Read more
Mt. Pleasant-area taxidermy artist shines at national competitionTribune-Review, February 18th
Bob “Hutch” Hutchinson, owner of Hutch's Taxidermy and Wildlife Art in Mt. Pleasant Township, shows the brown bear he will be entering in the upcoming PA State Taxidermy and Wildlife Art Championship slated for March 21 at Seven Springs Mountain ...Read more
Taxidermy: a deadly hobby that doesn't deserve praiseLos Angeles Times, February 12th
To the editor: In the 21st century, it is about time we understand that the killing of birds for the sake of stuffing them and putting them on display is no longer something to be admired. Making a hero out of taxidermists and condoning their practice...Read more
Taxidermist in demand for his ability to make bird replicas lifelikeLos Angeles Times, February 11th
Igor Caragodin was looking for the perfect specimen. He and his crew had been riding for hours in the bed of a dusty safari truck across the Burkina Faso savanna. The sun reached high in the sky and the sub-Saharan winds seared their faces. The group...Read more